Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Scouting Top Ten

I've had an exchange of emails with a fellow blogger recently in which I was very open about why I think scouting and similar organisations are great for kids. Everything from leadership to creativity to cultural tolerance to team work, it's all there. I know it did a great deal for me. So I thought I'd put a few of my experiences down, in particular the most influential ones.

These are not necessarily the most memorable, or the most fun or my biggest achievements, but they are the ones that were probably the biggest influence on me when growing up. And they are in no particular order either.

1. My first night away without family. I was a 9 year old cub, and a pretty timid one at that. I'd done camps before but only our group's annual "father and son" camp. When I was 9 I want a 3 night camp at Tolmers in Hertfordshire. First time without my family, I was pretty timid it's true but I loved every second of it!

2. Being 15, on a scout summer camp and having to dig trenches around the patrol tents to keep the water out. Marvelous!

3. My patrol picking a fight with some army cadets when I was 13 and running away when we realised there were more of them and they were mostly older. Valuable lesson learned there!

4. Learning how to light a cooking fire in the pissing rain the hard way.

5. A sad one this. A lad in my Venture Unit lost his mother while we were in the Lake District on a 2 week trip. Our leaders had to leave to take him home leaving the rest of us to look after ourselves. A lot of growing up was done very quickly on that camp.

6. Being voted scouts scout of the year when I was 14. Having been savagely bullied at school to get that kind of recognition from my peers was bloody brilliant!

7. As a venture scout building a rope bridge for a beaver funday, thinking we knew it all. We didn't. A leader, who came across as a right old git, put us right. Turned out he was a top bloke. Looks can be deceiving!

8. Waking up in a wet through sleeping bag, moaning and then finding that another tent had copped even worse than mine had and they were all laughing about it.

9. Being chased across the field by a knife wielding guide leader after I and the other 2 patrol leaders had made the mistake of trying to chat up her girls. Hilarious! (Same camp as the trench digging incident)

10. In the pissing rain on camp, with not a dry stitch of clothing left, building an impromptu mud slide down a steep bank. Brilliant fun :)

I might do another one of these soon, maybe the happiest, or funniest or something like that.


Putz said...

HAD most of those experiences myself...

Anonymous said...

Christ, where to begin?!!

1. Four of us putting up an enormous marquee which was to be used for the area AGM. Two of us holding an elephantine leg each, while the others desperately pegged as fast as they could.

2. Making a sauna using pioneering poles, tarpaulin, a brazier and ropes. Water from the nearby burn, so everyone came out all streaky.

3. Going on my first camp - and the summer camp too. An amazing, brilliant, wonderful, fabulous time, which I can't throw enough superlatives at.

4. Campfire for the inter-area camping competition which I was helping at. Scout leaders doing an insanely version of "Humpty Dumpty" - you had to be there..!

5. Learning that smoke always follows you, no matter where you move when sat round a fire.

6. Generally, changing from a weedy book-nerd to an outdoorsy, can-do kind of boy. Great stuff.