It was all about hiking and camping and just being outdoors that I loved most about Boy Scouts. Sure, at that age, earning badges is a motivation but wasn’t as big for me as the outdoor experiences continuing through my adult scouting experiences and really all of my life as I now celebrate the great outdoors in retirement in Costa Rica! 🙂
It was probably the troop and patrol camping trips and hikes more than a week at summer camp like the above photos that created my love of the wilderness. I learned to take care of myself, cook my own meals, prepare a tent site in the wilderness with a comfortable bed and of course many campcraft and other skills that I still use today. I learned first aid and used it as a boy on one of these patrol camping trips without an adult around. I learned leadership skills from being Senior Patrol Leader and then Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. We were allowed to lead and to go into the forests of South Arkansas on our own without adults. I killed poisonous Water Moccasins and slept on poison ivy and so I learned!
Through the ranking system and merit badges I learned about trees and other plants, animals and wilderness living, safe hiking, along with other more modern city skills. Through the Order of the Arrow I learned respect for the indigenous cultures and behavior. Like Boyd Matson said in his magazine article, I Blame the Boy Scouts for getting me addicted to the wilderness and making it a part of my life as long as I live. And for that I say “Thank You Boy Scouts!”
See my Blog Post: The Happy Wanderer for my favorite song in Boy Scouts! 🙂