Below you’ll find letters about the September-October 2011 issue, which you can read here. Read more Letters to the Editor from the current and previous issues, here.
Modify the Meal?
I read Mark Danner’s letter to the editor (“Too Much of a Good Thing”) in the September-October issue of Scouting magazine and had to respond. He was concerned that given Scouting’s commitment to fitness and the so-called “era of obesity,” the Dutch-oven recipes you highlight should be “lightened up.”
On campouts we do without all of the creature comforts of home. We are subject to the rain, heat, cold, bugs, and whatever, and we accept these things as part of the adventure. The only thing we have any control of is our meals. In our troop, we endeavor to eat well even if everything else goes wrong.
Our schools regulate snacks, the government is outlawing trans fats, and we are being “re-educated” daily in the news about what’s supposedly healthy. We burn many times more calories on a camping trip, especially when canoeing or hiking. One weekend a month will neither cure nor destroy anyone’s dietary well being.
Let us eat well on campouts and trust us as parents and leaders to look out for our kids. If Scouting wants to offer low-calorie alternatives, then do that in a sidebar to the real recipe. We can decide if we need to modify the meal.
Cape Coral, Fla.
I have noticed recently that in all of the material that we receive about Scouting that there is little or no mention about religious (church awards).
I know that not all Scouts and Scouters consider this an important aspect in their lives and in Scouting, but we have to look at the Twelfth Point of the Scout Law; “A Scout is Reverent.”
I know that we can be Reverent without attending church services on a weekly basis, but by attending services at an established church it helps to strengthen us in our journey through this life.
I am asking that we see more articles about Scouts and Scouters that have earned a religious award during their time in Scouting.
Iron River, Mo.
The editors respond: Check out Senior Editor Bryan Wendell’s article about religious emblems from our May-June 2009 issue.
The Right Stuff
What a pleasure it was to read the stories of Scouts doing all that they could to assist victims of this past season’s tornadoes (Trailhead, September-October). Scouts, parents, and volunteers with mentioned packs, troops, and councils should be very proud of their accomplishments.
However, we must be careful not to put our Scouts at unnecessary risk. When helping in these situations we must be sure that all volunteers are wearing the proper personal protective equipment such as eye protection, gloves, long pants and boots.
Seeing the Scouts handling debris with their bare hands while wearing shorts and tennis shoes made me wonder how many minor cuts, scraps and twisted ankles may have occurred? Let’s continue to serve … safely.
Piqued about Paddling
Wow! What a great activity! (“Team of Rivals,” Sept.-Oct.) However, I was disappointed to see the poor paddling technique of sitting on the seats with legs up. The BSA has long advocated the superior advantages of kneeling. The improved safety, stability, guidance and transfer-of-power gained with this “locked-in position” will help make winners of all your scouts!
Beware of “Extremes”
As a new subscriber, I really enjoyed reading my first issue of Scouting magazine (September-October). One article in particular, however, causes me to write and advise caution.
In Great Gear, the article mentions how “ultralight” products can help us go farther in the day and hike with greater speed. It also states how “ultralighters” will tell us that “the tradeoff” (of comfort for speed/less weight) will be “worth it.” This is all well and good, but when we’re teaching our children to Be Prepared, ultralight can be a mixed message in terms of preparedness but also regarding enjoying the outdoors rather than racing to our destination and missing out on the details.
Further, some, if not many of those who advocate “ultralight” might believe in [it] as more of a dogma than a useful inclusion into the mainstream for backpackers. Ultralight materials can help us prepare well while keeping our packs light, but the sawed-in-half toothbrush and the 20-pound-at-all-cost backpacks are examples of extremes that can put our Scouts and leaders at risk due to lack of preparedness.
The bottom line: The Scout Motto trumps pack weight, and while “ultralight” materials can be useful tools, the “movement” should not consume us.
Cliff Jacobson had some excellent tips in his article (“Tricks of the Trail,” September-October). But there’s a better way to get rubber-binding bands than saving them from broccoli: Use discarded inner tubes.
Most bike shops will have several of them in the trash at any given time. You can cut them to the width desired, from one inch, to secure items to a pack, to eight inches, to create a sheath to hold a knife in place.
Also, they burn and make excellent fire starters in wet conditions.
Dearborn Heights, Mich.
Toward a Uniform Appearance
I am disturbed about the editing of pictures in Scouting magazine. I see incidents in almost every issue in which no one checks out the adult’s uniform before the picture is taken.
Example: the cover picture of the September-October issue. The adult instructor is clearly wearing two temporary patches at the same time. Underneath the current patch is a Philemon Arrow head.
I’m saying that this doesn’t happen every day. I’m saying that the uniform guide says that this is not proper, and the uniforms should be checked before the picture is taken.
I see poor uniforming all the time. Nametags out of place, extra local awarded bead strings. These two incidents are in the district publication. Please help us teach uniforming by editing the photos before they are taken.
In the Merit Badge Clinic (“Take a Hike,” Septemeber-October), the author discusses ice cream as a motivating factor. As Cubmaster of Pack 53 in Sicily, Italy, my successor and I took the boys on a hike twice a year from the beach at Giardini Naxos to the Castelmola, overlooking the town of Taormina.
About a third of the way up, we’d stop to find a geocache. You could see the gelataria (ice cream shop) as we crossed the main street in the middle of town and continued up the trail to the castle.
The views from the top were almost as good as the ice cream on the way back down.
The Psychological Approach
Keep up the good work with Scouting magazine. It’s so good, I wish it were twice as thick!
I especially like the “boy expert”/youth psychology stuff. I’ve a got a 7-year-old, and it’s very important for me to understand what he’s going through. That way I can be a good parent to him.
I’d welcome anything you could add by folks like Lenore Skenazy, Michael Gurian, Richard Louv, etc. I’m on our council activities committee, and I’m proposing an annual “youth development” speaker, since I feel it’s vital to understand things at the kids’ level.
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