Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: Re: Instilling Awe for Nature
Re: Instilling Awe for Nature
Fri, 13 Aug 1999 19:47:51 -0500
> Jim Peterson asked :
> <<<If a deep appreciation of nature is a learned behavior,
> do any of you have "tricks" or certain programs that you
> present that you think help instill this appreciation? Is
> the program ongoing and organized or does it just
> "happen" via scouting activities? Any thoughts?>>>
Our troop has a weekend retreat every year where we plan out our program
for the year. I point out that the three aims of Scouting is our ultimate
goal, the program is just a vehicle to get us there.
Under the "Promoting Fitness" part, I try to point out the different
facets, including spiritual fitness. I explain that one way we can
promote spiritual fitness is through contact with nature. We try to
include that in our program. It's something the older boys give
consideration to when they plan.
Being in the midwest, we have more corn than anything else. We travel
throughout the year as we expose boys to various natural environments.
In 1999 we've traveled to the northwoods, the great basin, Rocky
mountains, Adirondacks, Green, and White mountains. We've seen to the
Yucatan jungle, Caribbean coral reefs and beaches, and Maine's rugged
Atlantic coast. We've paddled rivers and lakes, biked up and down hills,
hiked canyons, and snowshoed, snowmobiled, skiied, sledded, and camped in
the surrounding beauty of winter's frozen landscape. We've endured 100+
heat, -30 windchill, and torrential rains.
When was the last time you let the boys sleep out in the open under a star
filled heaven, pointing out constellations, and ooing and aweing at
shooting stars until they slowly drift off to sleep.
Silent night hikes, star hikes, nature hikes, wildlife study, tracking.
Hike, backpack, camp, canoe, bike, ski, snorkel, fish, cave, snowshoe,
sail, get them active, get them outdoors.
Nature. You can tell them about it, you can show them, but mostly just
let them experience it for themselves. Use the outdoors as the place you
DO Scouting. Plan an active outdoor program. Promote the beauty of the
places you plan to go, tell them what they going to see, remark on the
beauty of what they're seeing, remind them of the spectacular things
they've seen. Do this on activities, at meetings, courts of honor,
bulletin boards, photo displays, slide shows, and in your newsletter.
I have a photo of a beautiful outdoor scene posted on our troop bulletin
board with a caption beneath that reads "heaven is below your feet as well
as above your head". I believe the quote is by John Muir.
Even those boys you think are blind to nature might be affected,
sometimes it takes a few years. Instilling something within a person
is neither automatic nor immediate.
One of the great things Scouting does is draw boys outdoors into places
they would not otherwise tread. Contact with nature is one of the
most powerful gifts Scouting has to offer a young impressionable mind.
Scoutmaster Troop 33