Thursday, October 27, 2011

Let's Go Scouting!


Troi Shade, Matthew Edmundson,
and Cooper Howard (back to front)
 during the hike to High Rock.

I promise to do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to help other people, and to obey the Law of the Pack.

As a child, that promise really meant something.  It fit right in with the Pledge of Allegiance and The Star Spangled Banner.  It built character, pride, values and achievement.  It was an exciting time.

At least once a week, we would see the Cub Scouts and the Brownies dressed in uniforms at school on the day of our den meetings.  We were all proud to be scouts.  We followed our promise, always trying to do the right thing.  We studied what electives and achievements we could accomplish so we could get new belt loops, badges or beads.
Daddy and son with their Camp Charles
Family Camp badges. (Yes I am happy,
it is just very difficult to press that dang
button on the camera with one hand and
hold the badge with the other!)

When camp came around, we learned things that we otherwise would have never been exposed to, and we usually did it with our parents there as well.  We were happy our parents were participating with us.  It was one of the few times we wanted our parents around.

My youngest son Cooper is a member of Pack 89.  We went on our first Cub Scout Family Campout a couple of weekends ago.  Me and Cooper and several hundred other young Cub Scouts and their parents and leaders.  Recipe for a migraine?  Quite the contrary.  Everyone had an absolute blast.

The scouts were able to participate in such activities as shooting bb guns, archery, slingshots, fishing and hiking.  We watched a great movie under the stars about the pinewood derby (Down and Derby) and finished off the evening roasting s’mores over the campfire.  We settled in to the tents shortly after.  Even with the cool weather in the 40’s everyone followed another scouting motto: Be Prepared.

S'mores over the campfire, a true scouting tradition!

Scouting often provides our first real taste of the outdoors.  Remarkably, with all the people at the camp, no one ever had a cross word, an altercation, or got mad about anything.  Sometimes the lines for some of the activities were long, but even with the young age groups, patience prevailed.  Patience was tested mind you, but yes, in the end, it prevailed.

Maybe us adults should look back on those days of our youth and remember the joy we had sharing the outdoors, sharing our relationships with our friends and our elders, and experiencing life.  You know that pledge at the beginning…even as adults, even if you were never in scouts, is not a bad thing to follow.

To learn more about scouting and if it is right for you, visit www.scouting.org.

Bill Howard writes a weekly outdoors column for the Wilson Times and Yancey County News and the bowhunting blog site GiveEmTheShaft.com. He is a Hunter Education and International Bowhunter Education instructor, lifetime member of the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, Bowhunter Certification Referral Service Chairman, member and official measurer of Pope and Young, and a regular contributor to North Carolina Bowhunter Magazine.

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