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Teaching the Boy Scouts

August 1 2005 at 4:28 PM
not who you think it is  (Login devnull1)


Response to Mt Rogers

 
Since I brought up the original tangent, I will respond.

I am a scout leader. A card carrying assisant scoutmaster of a troop and have been one for a long time. I try very hard to teach the scouts the appropriate skills I think they are going to need based on the situation. For a lot of things the Boy Scout heirarchy and I are in agreement. For some we are not. But in the end it seems to all work out and we don't trash the woods.

When I have come across situations like I found on Kings, my usual strategy is to quietly go over to the scoutmaster and mention that I saw something I feel may be dangerous (or downright stupid, like killing snakes just because they are snakes). I try not to mention names unless it is apropos to the situation and find that keeping my voice low is a plus. A lot of scoutmasters are out and out unfamiliar with what happened, so yelling and screaming is generally not the way to go. They are usually very happy to use the situation for a teaching tool later on. They very seldom have an inherent reason for wanting the kids or the environment to be harmed.

But when I see a group of greater than 25 people coming up the trail in a wilderness area that has a 14 person maximum group size, I may have a problem. (to their credit, they did break into two groups to camp). But that means immediately that there will be too many people on the top of the mountain for safety. The scouts have (at most) a one quart (or litre) canteen apiece. They have no way to purify additional water, of which there is plenty. They have no rain or cold weather gear. OK, this is July, but there is still snow on the ground and the previous week it had snowed (I was there). Most didn't bring lunch. One kid is sitting next to some form of "adult" supervision throwing rocks at the kids down below. I went ballistic on that one and offered to throw rocks at him on the way down. My outburst seemed to surprise folks. Then my climbing buddy mentioned he had been on the receiving end of that one time, which caused them to think a bit (I saw the smoke coming out the ears). It came to the "supervisor" that the kid had done something unsafe, but it was beyond him to understand what. We had a long discussion on hills climbed. He hadn't done very many. When I gently explained why I was upset, he seemed to miss some of the finer points like, "People get hurt."

Then the leader took all the kids down the rock slide at Anderson Pass. Looked like ankle breaking stuff to me but I didn't see any bodies at the bottom. And we won't go into the fires in the no fire zone within 1000 feet of Dollar and Henrys Lakes.

To their credit, the kids were polite. And they were kids, which somewhat explains why they do stupid things sometimes.

I fully agree with you. Teach the children. And if necessary, teach the adults. Scathing letters to the Council will solve less than may be desired. In my case I made an executive decision to inform the ranger when I saw her riding in the next day. I felt badly for ruining her day but saw no other constructive way to handle the situation. Heaven knows she wasn't making the big bucks and didn't need the grief.

This probably needs to be a separate thread and not so closely related to Kings.

-hojo

 
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