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I am a huge fan of the Boy Scout Program, and what it can do for families. Scouting has enriched the lives of my 3 sons, on many levels.
My husband started working with the scouts a few years after we were married. He was an Eagle Scout, and my 3 sons also become Eagle Scouts. Two of them have also served as Scoutmasters.
I've seen what scouting can do for young men. It is a fun learning experience, and it builds character in young men. We were lucky that we were part of a troop with a great scoutmaster.
Our scoutmaster went out every month, no matter what. The weather was not a consideration, nor was the number of boys who turned out.
During those years, my husband had a job where he was able to get away and go with them on their outings. They have wonderful memories, which they continue to share to this day.
Our scouting troop went on many different types of outings, from skiing, to hiking and camping, making snow caves and igloos in winter, to boating and long canoe trips in the summer.
I think the best way to illustrate the kind of experiences boys can have is to to give you a short summary of one of their most memorable trips and what they learned from it.
THE "RAMBO" TRIP
This trip was obviously taken in the 80's when the movie was popular. We live in the Puget Sound area of Washington. This particular trip was a hike on the western side of the state.
They were to start out at Lake Ozette. They would hike west, 6 or 7 miles, until they reached the Pacific Ocean.
Now, if you've never been to Washington State, or seen a Rain Forest, it is like a jungle, with trees that grow upwards of 300 feet. It is also very hard to hike through the forest, as a lot of those trees are laying on the ground. You must walk on top of the fallen trees, and the trunks can be 10 to 20 feet above the ground where they have fallen like tinker toys.
The scouts were having a lot of fun that day, climbing up and over branches, making their way to the ocean. However, after awhile they realized that they were no longer on the trail. They were lost.
Now you'd think there would be an easy solution to this, but apparently little boys are like grown men, and grown men don't like asking directions. The boys were convinced if they just kept going, they would reach the coast.
You couldn't see the sun, if it was out that day, through the trees. They were going around in circles. My husband was with them, and he knew they were lost. However, they were having so much fun, he just let them continue.
Finally, they got hungry and tired. Reality set in. As they were pondering what to do, my husband stepped up, took out his large knife, and plunged it into a tree laying on the ground.
On the top of that knife (which the boys thought looked like the knife in the movie Rambo), was a compass. They decided that since they had no idea where they were, they would head east, back to the Lake.
We have daylight here in the Northwest until 9:30 or 10:00 at night in the summer, so it was no problem to use the compass and get back to the Lake.
At the next meeting of the scouts, one of the adult hikers on the climb gave all the boys Rambo type head bands, that they wore with honor for many weeks.
What did the boys learn from the hike? I think "Be prepared" for starters. Don't forget the compass, and USE IT! They actually could have been in a lot of trouble without it.
So... that day alone produced fun memories, lasting friendships, bonding with role models, and a respect for nature. Just thinking of that trip brings a smile to their faces.
Look for a good scout troop in your area. There should be several choices, as both church and civic groups sponsor scout groups.
If you can, take advantage of the benefits from the Boy Scouts. There are people that care, and want to help you and your family.
About the Author: Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at www.frugalhappyfamilies.com - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money!