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no more patrol overnighters?

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I cannot answer all of the problems with scoutcraft skills, but I can answer two from my observations and conversations.


In reference to firebuilding, several factors come into this skill loosing emphasis.


1)Is local restrictions on fires. Depending upon where you are, this is becoming more and more of a problem. And while I know of one non-stove solution to the problem, one I picked up from an Aussie scout, it's not very LNT: Fire pits


2)Local restrictions on firewood. as mentioned it's getting to the point that you MUST buy firewood from the local trading posts/stores in the parks to keep various pests and diseases in check.


3) LNT. Let's face it LNT promotes stoves over fires.


4) Convience. let's face it, it is easier and less time consuming to hook up a stove and start cooking, than to collect, or buy, wood, start a fire, wait till you got coals, and start cooking.


In reference to Orienteering skills I got 3 letters for ya: GPS. Sometime this week I read an article on how countries, government services, companies, and indiviudals have become so defendant on GPS, that if anything was to happen to the GPS system, say an EMP from a terrorist attack, we are all messed up.

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Interesting posts by both Baden P and Eagle 92.


In 1975 I had no outdoor experience to speak of. That year I took a class in backpacking which gave me a good introduction to basic outdoor and backpacking skills. It was probably six or so evening sessions and three or four day trips. That and a few thousand miles of backpacking honed those skills pretty well.


In 1976 I took the Seattle Mountaineers Basic Climbing course that assumed good outdoor skills and aimed at basic training in rock, glacier and ice climbing. That was again six or eight evening classes, four or five weekend day trips to practice skills (such as being lowered on a rope thirty feet or so into a crevasse and doing a self recue to get out) A total of a half dozen rock, ice or glacier climbs was required to graduate.


Completion of the Red Cross Mountaineering Oriented First Aid Class was also required. That involved five or six evening sessions and an outdoor practical session at night (preferably in the rain) simulating response to multiple injuries in an outdoor setting.


In 1977 I took the Seattle Mountaineer Intermediate Climbing course ---- more of the same. I also took similar classes in snowshoeing and nordic skiing. All of these also involved a good deal of practical experience with the skill.


That's what I brought to Scouting in 1981.


Is Scout Outdoor Leadership Training for adults adequate to build a base to lead outdoor trips? Certainly not by itself.


It's a start.


But Scout Troops shouldn't really be looking for someone with no outdoor experience to be a Scoutmaster and expect BSA to train them up in everything they need to know.


You probably need to find someone who has a good history of training and experience to lead ambitious trips, and a good history of camping and such to lead car camping type trips.


I will be interested to see if the Vets of the Iraq and Afghan war have that kind of depth of experience that Scouting will benefit from. Anyone have those Vets in their Troop?


I think Eagle 92 makes the point that the nature of Scout skills continues to change. "Scout skills" as I understand them are the kind an infantry soldier needs to know to manage in an outdoor environment. That changes with time and technology --- those skills were one thing for the Green Mountain boys during the American Revolution, different for Baden Powell in Africa, different again for WWII Vets and different again for Afghan War Vets. I see nothing wrong with Scouting adapting to such changes.


Trying to put a nail in "Scout skills" and say this is what they are for once and always ---- that would be dumb.


Going back and revisiting Scout skills as experienced in different ages might be a fun experience ----- I instruct Cub Scouts how to make a bedroll so they don't need a sleeping bag, for example. I use a bedroll on Cub Scout camping trips to set an example and give boys who do the same recognition for trying something different. My main aim is to reduce barriers to camping, but it can be a small adventure as well as a bonus.


But if boys want to use sleeping bags, that's certainly fine with me.

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The son turns 18 next week and leaves for a summer of being on staff on Sunday. He and a couple of friends in is patrol decided they wanted to get one last campout in together. They are leaving today for an over-nighter. They don't care a bit that this is not a scout trip.

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