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LeCastor

Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv

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I just finished reading Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods and I am inspired--more than ever--to become the outdoors advocate that I've been trying to be for my Troop, district, and council. Louv talks about nature deficit disorder, not a clinical term, and how today's youth are becoming more and more disconnected from nature. The overarching themes in the book are that parents are afraid to let their kids play outdoors for fear of injury or kidnapping. Also, public and private governments tend to introduce legislation that discourages outdoor play--again for threats of injury leading to potential lawsuits.

 

There's a brief section in the book, about half-way, where Louv mentions that we, Scouters, are in a unique position to get out there and push for a back-to-nature lifestyle. Indeed, our whole MO is getting kids out in the outdoors. I certainly have my work cut out for me, as I've mentioned in other posts. My current Scouts aren't "into" being outside and are content playing video games or playing on their portable tablets. Lately, I've been incorporating these electronic devices into my attempts to encourage the Scouts to explore nature. In fact, this week I will challenge each Scout to spend at least 10 minutes outside, take a picture of something natural, and write a few words about how they feel about that photo.

 

LeCastor

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Brother Beaver I don't know how you do it! As I've said before "if it wasn't for the outdoor aspects of Scouting I probably wouldn't be involved" I also wish I enjoyed reading, sounds like a book I would enjoy someone reading to me lol. I don't have the patience for reading. Gotta find that light switch, its out there somewhere.

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Jason, you really should take the time to read this book. In fact, I suggested it to the Scoutmasters at our district's roundtable. As the RT Commissioner, I though it would be good to all read Last Child in the Woods during the month of February and then discuss it briefly in March. I bet you could find an audiobook version of it!! :D

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It's not just kids in nature, all of society has been isolating themselves from "the elements" Insulated homes, leak-proof roofs, screens on windows, A/C so no windows need to be opened, attached garages, A/C in the cars so the windows can stay up. Umbrellas AND rain coats, sun hats and parasols when it's sunny. SPF 15.... Enclosed patios?

 

Basically all of nature is harmful. Only the crazies out there venture out into it as if they were Arctic or Amazon explorers.

 

Parks and Recreation departments have been cut back to almost nothing. Used to be every city park had a warming house and ice rink, now the hockey players are indoors too. Used to be a blizzard would be needed for a snow day from school, now only the threat of one is sufficient. Thanks to global warming, even the severe sub zero temperatures are justification for a "snow" day.

 

It is to this market BSA must try and sell it's outdoor program. This is why it has been giving up on it, too.

 

Stosh

 

 

 

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Brother Beaver I don't know how you do it! As I've said before "if it wasn't for the outdoor aspects of Scouting I probably wouldn't be involved" I also wish I enjoyed reading' date=' sounds like a book I would enjoy someone reading to me lol. I don't have the patience for reading. Gotta find that light switch, its out there somewhere.[/quote']

 

 

 

You've got to find that interest. i was always like you, never read for pleasure..... all through school the closest I got was skimming a Cliff's Notes.

Then in college I of course spent a lot of time reading (text books)

and then I got seriously into hobbies such as scuba diving (reading more text books)

and earning my private pilot's license and instrument rating.... (more text books)

but still no "pleasure reads"

 

then one day, I went to see a lecture.... no really more of a Q&A.... with Chuck Yeager and Bud Anderson.

Man, those guys were just a couple of good ole boys sitting up there telling stories about battling the luftwafe and 20 year old buddies having a blast in P-51's. Man, it seemed to me better than a good Tom Clancy movie.... because this stuff really happened to these guys!

So I decided to go pick-up Chuck Yeager's autobiography..... and I was hooked. I found my interest.... Next I read Bud Anderson's.....

Both excellent reads!

Started reading WW2 aviation biographies.... then those about other wars, then submarine autobiographies, etc..... I've read a few biographies, but don't find them nearly as interesting as those written by the person that lived the stories.... right now I'm reading one about the first moon landing.

 

​Might take a couple months as I only have time to read a few pages at lunch here or there..

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Oh yeah, that reminds me.... mixed in with all those text books through the years were always a healthy sampling of magazine reading re. my interests of aviation, scuba, and outdoors....

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As long as we're talking about reading, I'd like to bring this back on topic and say that Richard Louv's follow-up book, The Nature Principle, is on my short list for books to read in the coming weeks. As I was chatting with my Scouts last night none of them knew who Charles Darwin, John Muir, or Horace Kephart were. The naturalists and outdoors visionaries aren't known to the youth anymore....

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Charles Darwin a naturalist? Really?

 

Stosh

 

Yes, he was the naturalist on board the Beagle, the ship he took to the Galapagos. He made observations on all sorts of things from birds to barnacles to worms.

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Second Class, req.#6: .Identify or show evidence of at least 10 kinds of wild animals (birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, mollusks) found in your community.

Can your Scout use a cellcamera to take pictures of these critters to show you to pass the requirement? Or do you ask them to walk thru the woods with you and point them out "in person"?

 

How about First Class #6? Is a picture worth a couple of finger pointings?

 

 

 

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Second Class, req.#6: .Identify or show evidence of at least 10 kinds of wild animals (birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, mollusks) found in your community.

Can your Scout use a cellcamera to take pictures of these critters to show you to pass the requirement? Or do you ask them to walk thru the woods with you and point them out "in person"?

 

How about First Class #6? Is a picture worth a couple of finger pointings?

 

 

We do a combination. I allow photos (if obviously taken by scout), but a lot of time we'll do walk thrus. Our COR has several acres, and has enough different plants/trees to easily do First Class #6. My youngest son has taken to teaching the younger scouts about the trees on the property.

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I personally think getting out into the woods and prairies is the way to go. But if a Scout can use his digital camera and take a photo of the plants, trees, tracks, etc in question, he can make a digital nature journal. This is lighter on the land and incorporates nature with technology.

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