Planning, Adaptation, Preparedness, Flexibility. All of these are skills learned through involvement with Scouting. All of them were put to use this spring by local Scouts.
April 1st was no Fool’s Day for the Boy Scouts. Despite constant rain and flooding in the Lyon County area, the Boy Scouts got together at Jones Park for a fun day of fishing and disc golf. The weekend was supposed to be their District Campout, a Camporee, at Olpe Lake. The Camporee brings multiple Boy Scout troops together for fellowship and friendly competition. The Boy Scouts look forward each year to sleeping in the cool spring weather and the annual Dutch-oven cook-off. They chose Olpe Lake for its challenging disc golf course, but the weather interrupted their plans. The Cottonwood River was flooded and most routes to the lake were obstructed by water; the lake itself was most likely swelling over its banks. The leaders decided that with more rain coming they would have to adapt if they were to have a Camporee.
All the anticipations and planning for the Camporee were not in vain. The leaders quickly improvised a plan to move the activity to Jones Park in Emporia. Taking an advantage of the break in the weather, they were able to go fishing and disc golf. Through the morning and afternoon, Dynamic Disc and Fishing Futures volunteered their time to coach the interested boys in each activity. And although the cooking competition was cancelled, the boys weren’t too disappointed with pizza for lunch. In spite of the gloomy forecast, the event was a success!
Planning and preparation were key to making the event a success. They are essential components of the Scouting program whose motto is “Prepared. For Life!” Through Scouting, youth learn leadership, citizenship, fitness, and preparedness. As part of their education development, Scouts learn to plan their own camping trips or outings, organize themselves as part of team, prepare meals, and accept responsibilities. In their planning, they learn to prepare for contingencies, especially for hazardous weather and emergency situations. But this instruction doesn’t just help the youth, adults are learning it too as they serve in leadership roles and attend trainings created just for them. The Jayhawk Area Council, the local agency for the Boy Scouts of America provides opportunities for Scouts to put these skills to practice, with the Camporee being one such example.
Each summer, select youth who have demonstrated leadership abilities attend the National Youth Leadership Training. NYLT is an exciting, action-packed program to provide youth with leadership skills and experiences, which they can use in their home troop or other demanding leadership situations. Youth spend a week in the outdoors in small groups, where they must put the concepts they have learned into action.
No other event better tests the Boy Scouts skills, teamwork, and leadership than the cold-weather Klondike Derby. The Klondike is the largest event in the Jayhawk Area Council, which brings over 500 boys together each year for a skills competition in the bitter-cold, often-snowy weather in January. Their abilities, teamwork, and preparation are put the test in this environment. Each troop must form a dog-sled team and just like the actual Klondike, they must pull their sleds with their equipment to different “towns” or stations. At each town, they must complete a skills-based challenge, such as fire-making, knot-tying, problem-solving, and puzzles. The challenges often involve teamwork and having the right equipment on their sled to come up with the solution.
The last 3 years, the Boy Scout sled team from Troop 157 at Emporia First Christian Church has won that competition.
While youth development is the key mission of the Boy Scouts, the leaders and adults also benefit from learning leadership and planning. The Jayhawk Area Council provides tools and resources for parents and volunteers to provide effective leadership in their troop and be role-models for the youth. Specifically, the Council puts on several training opportunities - from teaching them how to run a meeting to coaching youth to the outdoor skills they must teach Scouts. Wilderness First Aid training teaches adult leaders and older Scouts how to assess emergency situations in remote areas and how to provide treatment when an emergency vehicle is not available. In addition, Wood Badge leadership course is the adult equivalent to the National Youth Leadership Training. Adult volunteers and leaders who attend the leadership course often can get credit or reimbursement from their work-place to attend.
The Boy Scouts have several events coming up this summer in Emporia. The Cub Scout Day Camp on June 5-8 at the Girl Scout Camp Double E. It will provide an opportunity for young boys to get outdoors, enjoy water games, archery, and learning about bugs! A fishing derby at Peter Pan Park and the Carboard Boat Race at the Jones Aquatic Center will complete the fun-filled summer program for Cub Scouts. We will be partnering with the Girl Scouts to provide the Summer Scape camp for boys and girls attending the Recreation Center’s Summer Scape program. The Summer Scape camp is a fun-filled adventure at the Girl Scout camp for kids who are looking to get outside for the day. Meanwhile, Boy Scouts are getting ready to spend a week at Falley Scout Reservation and to earn Merit Badges. Merit Badges are independent studies that contain specific content to teach boys concepts, skills, and even career opportunities. Examples of badges include welding, swimming, astronomy, geology, and citizenship in the community.
In Boy Scouts, we are always looking for volunteers. If you enjoy the outdoors, working with youth, or want to give back to the Boy Scouts, consider volunteering! We have many volunteer opportunities that can fit your interest, not just camping or playing games. If you would to find out how you can contribute or volunteer for Scouting, contact Alex Mosakowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.