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Friday, November 22, 2013

Lessons Learned from BS Camping

by Jody Worsham
All rights reserved in case of memory loss

Having survived the granny-and-me-near-campout experience, I think it wise to pause and record those lessons learned before we do this again.

First, if you are told to bring mosquito repellant what they mean is "Wear full body armor capable of repelling an attacking horde of steel nosed, blood sucking vampire insects the size of large bats."

Second, if they say "Campout will be held rain or shine", they mean "Campout will be held until rising water reaches your armpit or your tent floats away, whichever comes first.

Third, if they say "Be Prepared" they mean "We are prepared for any possible lawsuit; therefore, all scout masters are certifiable."

In all fairness, I think I am beginning to understand the Boy Scouts of today which is different from those young lads in England who took that military manual and used it for adventures in the outdoors.

I didn't understand the need for so much "training" of the scout leaders to do things I grew up knowing  or had learned from experience and common sense; but I grew up in a rural setting.  If you didn't have a BB gun by the time you were six and knew how to use it safely, then there was something wrong with you or your daddy.

Fishing was something you did after your chores and every chance you got.  Your first slingshot was made from a forked branch you cut with your own pocket knife and two strips cut from an old inner tube.

We were climbing trees, jumping out of barns, and whittling on sticks without any protective gear.  We swam in un-chlorinated ponds.  We had skinned knees, stubbed toes but amazingly few broken bones.  I live in a rural setting and my little scout is growing up the same way, but I'm thinking this is no longer the norm.

Today the majority of our population lives in the city.  If you want to shoot, you have to go to a shooting range or join a gun club.  To fish you have to have a license and a permit to enter the lake property.  Most Home Owner Associations frown on anyone cutting branches to make a sling shot.  To climb anything, you must got to a park and climb on tubular geodesic structures with a minimum of six inches of shredded rubber or pea gravel beneath.  Kids wear elbow guards, shin guards, mouth guards, and helmets.  There are fewer skinned knees, stubbed toes, but no scars and experiences to share with your friends either.

So I salute the Boy Scouts for providing these experiences for our children and if they have to put the adults through training so they will know what to do, then so be it.  You can't teach if you don't know.

And in a lawsuit happy society, then yes, Be Prepared.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Helicopter BS Camping

by Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for Under Armor, Outer armor, and helmets

Having recovered from BB gun shooting and lunch, it was now time to check out the activities closer to the covered pavilion and the parking lot.  Rain was eminent.  The first stop was at the rope ladder climb.  After the "I am a certified rope ladder" speech I noticed the rope was tied to a fairly strong branch about ten feet off the ground.  Good.  My little scout  would have bo trouble reaching the top.  However, he was only allowed to climb four feet off the ground and he had to wear a helmet!  The leader explained this was for safety purposes in case anyone fell.  Four feet?  I was more worried about the other 553 scouts who had worn that same helmet.  If a helmet was required for a four foot climb, I couldn't wait to see what protective devices would be required next.  Flak jackets?  Shin guards?  Pocket protectors?

Surprisingly, no protective gear was required for the rope bridge, but it was only three feet eleven inches from the ground.  Nor was protective gear required for the boys to fire the two liter compressed air water bottle rockets.  However, 553 moms would have gladly worn a helmet as we dodged empty two liter bottles that were raining down randomly all over the area.

After we launched the second bottle rocket, "the bottom fell out" as we say in the South and the promised downpour began.  We ran for the covered pavilion.  There was no Safety Scout person to tell the boys to refrain from standing under the tall pines or sitting on the metal picnic tables during a lightning storm.  I guess they assumed we had some common sense although the helmet for the four foot climb till rankled in my brain.

I was not looking forward to sleeping in a wet sleeping bag in a tent beneath some pine trees that may or may not have a secure root system.  After my little scout was totally soaked fom spalshing inthe puddles   and the rain had eased up, he said "You know, we've done all the activities.  We could be sleeping in our own bed with dry clothes.  If we left..."  Before he could finish the sentence, I was racing for the campsite to dismantel our tent with a genuine smile spread across my face.

As we were loading the car he said "You know, next year when we come...."

"I'm sorry, would you repeat that last part.  I blacked out for a moment."

"I said next year when we come, I think we should leave our tent in the car until the end of the day.
Then, if it is not raining and the mosquitos aren't as big as bats, we could decide if we wanted to stay or not."

"Sounds like a plan to me."  And with that he climbed in the back seat an fell asleep as I headed out of the parking lot.

On the drive home, I thought about the Boy Scouts and our near camping experience and came to some surprising realizations.

Next blog  "What I learned about BS Camping."

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Camping BS continues

Boy Scouts are helpful, courteous, and certifiable.

By Jody Worsham

All rights are reserved for certificates of certifiability.

Once we had registered for the granny and me campout, we were assigned to Camp #5. We headed for the camp map conveniently located nearby.  Obviously the Boy Scout who made the map had never been to Six Flags, Disney World, or a mall.  There was no dot or arrow saying “You are Here”.  I guess he figured that if we were standing there, then we would know we were there.  With no way to orient ourselves to the map, I looked for a Boy Scout.

Boy Scouts are helpful, so I stopped the first one I saw.  He led me down the garden path until he admitted he didn’t know where we were, so he turned us over to another boy scout who led us in the opposite direction past some buildings.

Boy Scouts are courteous.  This one asked if he could pull my can.  I was about to tell him I was not an old lady who needed help crossing the street when  I glimpsed my reflection in a nearby window.  Instead I said “Sure.”  After a mile of bumping, dragging, and stumbling with our semi-rolling garbage can, we arrived at Camp #5.  We quickly claimed a spot, erected our tent, and were off for all the activities.

Boy Scouts are certifiable. I know this because at the beginning of every activity, the Scout Master in charge would begin with “I am a certified instructor. I have had x number of hours training in__”  whatever the activity was.  It seems you can’t just use common sense; you have to be certified.  The sling shot activity was a perfect example.  First the Scout Master in charge began with “I have had 12 hours of sling shot training. I am certified in Sling Shot. Safety .”  I’m thinking is this guy stupid or something?  Did it really take him 12 hours to learn that hard objects in a sling shot can be dangerous?  Release the pouch, don’t release the sling shot?  Stand behind the person with the sling shot?  Pull the pouch toward your body not away from it?  After our certified instructions, we fired our five pieces of dog food at the pie plate target and preceded to the next activity, BB guns.

Again the Scout Master began with “I have had 18 hours training in BB guns.  I am certified.”  I’m thinking my boy has had three times that much training since he has been shooting BB guns since he was six following strict gun safety rules and supervision from my husband.  Then a Boy Scout read the posted list of rules.  l) Don’t point your gun at anybody.  2)  Remove the safety before shooting.  And I’m thinking “Has common sense totally disappeared in America today?”  I guess it has because we had to crawl under a low table and  lie on our stomachs  before we could load our bb gun, cock it and fire.  This was to keep the shooter from swinging his gun around and pointing it at somebody.  This was not a problem for me.  I couldn’t swing anything anywhere.  In fact, I was afraid they were going to have to get a fork lift to get me out from under the table.  We shot our five BB’s and I somehow got out from under the table with a minimum of splinters.

As we headed for other sessions in archery, bridge walking, crafts, rope ladder climbing, and fishing; each with its own certified instructor, the storm clouds were gathering. I wondered if there was a Certified Storm Watcher in the group.  I would soon find out.

Continued in next week's blog.