This is not a cliché

camping_250You’ve undoubtedly heard the clever saying Scouting is three-fourths Outing or something similar to that. You’ve also thought “yeah, sure… we go outside and go camping but that’s a bit of an exaggeration.”

Well, it’s not a cliché, and in fact, there is a lot of truth to it.

Scouting was intended to be conducted in the outdoors. Sir Robert Baden-Powell based Scouting on his military experience leading British troops in the Boer War. He helped to bring the strategic skills of observation of the enemy into civilian life by turning it toward nature, along with the survival skills needed to live in the outdoors without proper shelter and indoor comforts.

Today, the program largely consists of weekly meetings, giving rise to the thought that the outdoor aspect is overrated. But it’s not Continue reading “This is not a cliché”

Let boys be boys!

cheerfulboyplaying_200For  most kids, play dates can be fun. You get dropped off at a friend’s house, play a few games, maybe have lunch or a snack that Mom prepared, the go play in the backyard, watch TV or play video games, then get picked up and go back home. Sounds like fun, right? But for a lot of people, what they fondly remember were long days spent playing with friends in an unstructured manner. You’d go to the park and swing on the big swingset, roam the neighborhood, ride bikes all over town, sneak into the kitchen and cook some hot dogs for lunch, then just hang out and build a fort in the backyard with things you’d find in the garage. Continue reading “Let boys be boys!”

Breaking bad habits

sittingwithlaptop_200A generation ago, a major shakeup took place in American culture. Up until then, many Americans participated in a very common activity, part of our everyday lives. Almost every public figure, especially in the relatively new medium of television, did it, from Edward R. Murrow and Groucho Marx to, believe it or not, Santa Claus. That activity was Continue reading “Breaking bad habits”

We’re in the creativity business

greenlighbulb_200Like most readers of this blog, I’m a parent of teenagers (well, my older son turns 22 this week, so there’s just one teenager left) and as we all have come to realize in recent years, our kids and most of their friends are becoming increasingly disconnected with the natural world.

If you’re like me, your youth had a lot of outdoor time, especially when the weather was conducive to being outdoors. I walked to school twice a day (morning session, home for lunch, then back for afternoon class) until seventh grade, and even then I did a lot of walking to and from school in good weather and bad. Summers were spent outdoors and – this is not a cliché – we played with our friends, wandering what seemed like far and wide, only coming home for lunch and supper.

Today, a young person is more likely to be found indoors, regardless of weather, using some kind of screen or electronic device – cellphone, computer or tablet – to communicate with friends or play virtual games instead of heading out the door for the real thing. Continue reading “We’re in the creativity business”