Scoutmaster Musings - A Helping Hand

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Scoutmaster Musings

A Helping Hand
boy scout river crossing As scoutmaster, I get to witness the development of young men outside the daily routine. Most of the greatest growth I've seen is during times of trial. This past weekend, we had a 'Wilderness Survival' campout with scouts building shelters and sleeping out rather than in tents. Well, with zero rain and beautiful, cool breezes blowing, there's not much challenge in 'surviving' a night. It was fun building and lashing structures, and teamwork was evident, but no urgency to perform was required.

People are like teabags - you find out how strong they are when they're in hot water. Most of the time, those teabags are a lot stronger than they ever thought they would be and without the hot water, they would never learn how much they could accomplish.

These are two pictures from our backpacking treks. The top is a young scout three years ago(now an ASPL and Junior in high school) struggling across a rain-swollen river. This was 3/4ths of the way through a 15-mile hike in a miserable day of rain. The bottom is another scout doing his first water crossing this summer.

These two scouts thought they needed help crossing, so I made sure I was there with them, lending support as needed. I'm downstream and a step behind so I could grab them, but not be in their way. I'm not leading them or making the way any easier for them than it was for everyone else. And, when we were across, they understood I hadn't really helped them at all - they made it on their own.

Sometimes a helping hand is one that is just ready and willing, not doing anything. The security of knowing someone is with you can be all that is needed for a scout to push himself and reach goals he just wasn't confident enough to reach alone. "Confident" isn't in the Scout Law, but it certainly is a goal I have for each scout.

Scout On

PS: I'm wearing the same pair of BSA zip-off pants in both pictures - 4 years of hard scouting and they still work.
Posted: 6:46 09-03-2010 519
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 Sep 03, 2010 - C.M. Hatem
I remember when I got my Junior Assistant Scoutmaster Patch. I was a Sophpmore in High School and by far the oldest boy in a small inner city Troop. Most boys were only second or third year Scouts.

I thought I was the Cock of the yard with that Patch until we got to a swollen Williams river in WVa after three days of rain (it came to mid thigh on me and was moving pretty fast).

Suddenly that patch wasn't cool, it was RESPONSBILITY!

My Scoutmaster crossed alone and tied off a handline. The boys crossed unladen and we carried their packs after they were safely on the other side.

The confidence HE had in me to help with that crossing instead of turning back made me grow into that patch.
Sep 30, 2010 - Antonio Asencio
This is something that i think shows that helping people (and or scout) could make us realize that people need your help just crossing a river or just help them off the ground. Every helpful thing u do has affect on people. This could influence on someone else life. Just little things like this can make a big thing. Just like this summer when i went on a 50mile backpacker in the Olympic mountains we would always help people across the river.

Antonio Asencio
troop 48

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