What Makes The Scouting World Go Round?

young friends relaxing around campfire

 – Coffee?

 – Friendship?

 – Food?

 – Sharing?

 – A willingness to put yourself out there?
 – Training?

 – Scout Skills?

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kettle over campfire close up

Let’s start from the beginning… My local district had their fall camporee over this past weekend. All the troops had a great time. We had gorgeous weather, scouting spirit was definitely in the air from the setup of the event to the tear-down of it. Did I mention that everyone had a great time? 🙂  I have been on some pretty cool camporees and this one kinda reminded me of the ones I attended as a scout.

Here are some things I noticed…

  • People coming through your campsite to visit: I remember quite well having friends in other troops coming over to my troop’s campsite and vice-versa. I also remember watching the adults (from other troops) sitting around our campfire, sharing something they whipped up (biscuits, chili, or some type of cobbler) talking and telling stories. Laughing at the same jokes and stories… I hadn’t seen a lot of that lately and I missed it. I got to see some of that blossom this past weekend. 
  • People (both youth and adults) volunteering to do stuff to make the camporee better: “Many hands make light work”. This is no more true than on camporees where there are a hundred small things to do and you a need lot of people to do it or you burn out those that typically volunteer. It’s better when you have youth jumping in rather than always relying on adult leaders. Sure there are some things only adults can do but there is a lot that the youth can do. Giving that responsibility in short time intervals makes it so much better but that can only happen when enough people volunteer. This also gets people out of their campsite and interacting with others.  Everyone has something they like doing more than others so my advice is try to find a channel for their passion. It could unlock talent you didn’t realize was there.   
  • People sharing food between units: This really is something that I miss. My troop looked at me cross-eyed this weekend when I told them we should be sharing some of this food we made with others. When you have 18 teenage boys to feed there is no such thing as leftovers unless someone really goofed and added a zero to some food/scout ratios. It wasn’t long before people started to come into our campsite, bringing food to share, seeing how we were doing something. The scouts were very proud to show off their skills… and so were the adults  
  • People having a great time at campfire:  It took FOREVER to get my unit from the level of ‘dreading’ campfire. I noticed something very different at this one… everyone was involved. All units had a song, skit or both. Some were old favorites and some new. For many of the really young scouts, those skits, songs and stories were all new. Everyone would cheer during the intro and at the finish. We had a pair of scouts (MCs) that were incredible and they kept the momentum flowing quickly. The fire was built by a first year scout who needed the rank requirement sign-off and it was her first fire. It lit and caught just as the scout spirit did the whole time. 
  • Healthy competition along with units celebrating other unit achievements: Do you remember the scoutmaster belly flop competitions at summer camp? Or the fishing competition held between the scoutmasters? Pie-eating contests? I sure do. We would always beg our scoutmaster to enter those and backed him 100%. We had a lot of fun in competition but we always had fun watching ALL the scoutmasters participate. Those that could, did. They did it with a smile which goes a long way with the youth and other adults. Misery loves company. As for the level of enthusiasm, competition and sportsmanship here is where it got different this weekend. Usually the units give the half-hearted 3 claps in recognition when another unit took 1st place. Not this time. All the leaders really showed up and was happy for the other units and then their own units followed suit…. crazy… I know… Obviously they would erupt with cheers if their unit won that particular competition but they definitely celebrated other unit’s victories too. That was really something to see. I hope I see more of that. That’s an example of sportsmanship more youth need to see today. 

For those that have been in for a while that list is something that is dreamt about and wished for on every camporee. I can assure you it did indeed happen. To answer the original question, for me, all those variables listed above are only bits and pieces of what makes the scouting world go round. I mentioned what really makes it go round in the first paragraph 🙂

It takes scout spirit as the lubricant to make it all work. 

Good luck out there scouters!

-Tony Zi

tzizak

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