This weekend was Webelos Woods for our Pack. The Webelos I Den went to another district’s Webelos Woods due to the fact that there was training for the Den Leaders and myself. We were able to take and complete the Intro to Outdoor Leadership Skills and also the Webelos Den Leaders (OWLS). I think we might even get BALOO certification as well. While the training was needed so we can legally go off camping with the Pack and or Den, there was a lot of great information.
While a lot of the camping part with what to take and not to was a refresher, the grubmaster shopping list was good too. Being a former chef for a real day job, I get shopping lists and what to buy, what can be used throughout all the menu items. I also get that preparing the food ahead of time is a good thing. It helps in faster cook times in the field.
What got me in this segment was a comment from a fellow scouter in a Boy Scout troop about how they do food. Granted, the trainer was using a car camping scenario, and I was stuck in backpacking mode. The Scouter said that they just use MREs. MRES! REALLY? I so wanted to grill him on this. However, he stated that it’s easy to prepare, cook and eat. Um, sure. Right, what does that teach the scout to do? Shop Army Navy Surplus? It is so wrong. Those meals are made for Military who are out in the field and being shot at and do not have stoves. They just pop a pouch of something to heat it up and stick it in there. DONE.
Cooking food out in the field is totally different from home cooking. The skill in how to shop for a patrol isn’t. The scout can make family meals and then also learn to survive when out of the house.
The two sections that I really liked were Knots and Map & Compass. Now, I did not get past Wolf. I know a few knots and a tad about Map & Compass because I went sailing many times in the Ocean and on lakes.
The instructor that taught both courses was great. He made a point of saying that Knot Tying is a dying art. Bungies and Stap-downs are easier to use than Knots. I never realized that. It is so true. We went through a Clove-Hitch, Half-Hitch, Boline, Square, Sheep Shank and many variations of them.
The Map & Compass was a great thing to know. I use a GPS and have become dependant upon it. However, learning the Compass is great. I figured out that I need to buy another style compass from just the flat one that I have. Main reason is that I cannot read the TINY TINY slashes. I made mistakes on the course, but….I learned and those mistakes and so much the better.
The last part of the course that was interesting was the Cooking Equipment. I must be a snob since I really did not like the Coleman stuff. It’s cool and I have some, but when I think Boy Scouts…I think tiny stoves that rock. Which we covered. However, the coolest thing that I saw was a penny stove. It worked very well in boiling water in about 3-4 minutes.
That’s what I came for Webelos Woods for, specific training. But what I got was even better.
I spent the weekend with our Webelos I Den. It was my first time hanging out with them outside of a Pack Meeting. I got to see how the Den Leader worked, how they worked on getting the Outdoor Activity Pin and group dynamics. Up until now I have followed my son from Tigers, Wolves to Bears. I get that den. I know them.
What I found is that they are still like Tigers, Wolves and Bears. Poop jokes & Light Sabers still have the same affect. However, they crave more knowledge than their younger counterparts. These are Webelos I, not IIs. They are just starting Webelos and figuring out that they are NOT BEARS anymore. More is going to be required of them. The District executive that was onsite used words like “Adversity” & “Challenge” a lot. He was also a Webelos II Camp Director this summer. He pointed out several times during the weekend to the parents and boys that it is up to them in Boy Scouts to figure things out for themselves. Not like Cub Scouts had parents to help them, but it was them. Adversity and Challenges will make a Cub Scout into a Boy Scout. Both programs are totally different and that freaks the parents out.
In many religions and cultures there are ceremonies and times where boyhood ends and manhood starts. This is one of them. It’s not a Bar Mitzvah, but a stepping off point to becoming one. Maybe the Arrow of Light & Crossover is their Bar Mitzvah. But, the real test is after the first summer camp as a Scout or Tenderfoot.
I also had a great chance to get to know more Dads within the Pack. Generally I hang out with the Bear Parents. Over two nights and two days, we got to talk more about Scouting, the Boys and what we liked. Our goals are the same within Scouting. We talked a lot about Youth Protection and the Online Courses that we have to take. The Leaders were asked if the parents can take the training. I explained that they can take all the classes that they want. The more they understand what WE have to do, the better. Plus, they will learn a lot about Youth Protection. Our Webelos Den Leader pointed out that there were a lot of things that he learned that shocked him. I said pretty much the same.
This weekend was a win-win. The boys got to understand about Boy Scouts and I got training and learned more about the Pack Parents.
(More later in other blogs…..and also videos….)