I spent 4 days last week at Northern Tier participating in a Leave No Trace Master Educator course. This training was a BSA National event and there were participants from Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Arkansas, Texas, Florida, and Missouri. I got to meet some people that volunteer in Boy Scouts at the national level and I learned a ton about both the BSA and O/A organizations!
The best part of the course was that I FINALLY got to visit the Boundary Waters and see what it's like up there - without the mosquitos and humidity since the weather has cooled off so much. The training took place out in the wilderness and our trek crew was guided by Travis and Davey. These two guys just finished their summer working at Northern Tier as Foremen for that Order of the Arrow work program that I think is so cool. O/A members can work for a week repairing portage trails and then spend a week on a paddling trek - for a very reduced price, something like $125 for the two weeks. There are similar programs at Philmont and SeaBase.
Anyway, Travis and Davey are amazing guys with leadership and outdoors skills beyond belief. They've both put in lots of effort to improve their own troops and have helped lead the growth of O/A programs. They also really live the Leave No Trace ethics when they are out with scouts and old guys like me.
Now, the challenge I have is to make use of the skills I gained. Our council has a Conservation Committee and I'm now getting involved in that. I'll be teaching LNT Trainer courses where I will teach others how to teach LNT workshops. These Trainers will in turn teach units the LNT principles and ethics. A goal we have is to have at least one LNT Trainer in each unit - that might be a new youth leadership position the troop creates or maybe the O/A Troop Rep position could take on the training duties. There are quite a few possibilities and I'm really excited to help this get going in the coming year!