Imagine yourself overlooking a vast expanse of the Arizona desert, standing on the top of a sheer cliff, 200 feet above a rocky gorge below. You peer over the edge and your heart skips a beat. Beside you are some of your closest friends, encouraging you to step to the edge of this rocky cliff and jump… I recently returned home from teaching a rock climbing course at a BSA National Camp School. This course was designed to train Scouters who will go on to oversee high-adventure rock climbing courses as Climbing Directors at Boy Scout facilities throughout the nation.
They not only learned the ins and outs of rock climbing, but they also learned why we do rock climbing and rappelling in the Boy Scouts of America.
Throughout the course we taught and trained the participants concerning all of the aspects and skills needed to climb and rappel safely and how to teach these skills to Scouts and their leaders. A lot was learned throughout the week, but each participant ultimately came to realize that the true point of our training was to learn how to connect the games of Scouting back to the lives of those we teach. As important as it is to be proficient in rock climbing when teaching this skill, the real reason we do high adventure in the Boy Scouts of America is to help youth to overcome their anxieties and fears in life so that they can become everything they hope to be.
My personal story of overcoming fear through Scouting began when I attended a Boy Scout camp in Southern Utah as a boy. I was the nerdy kid in the troop who couldn’t even look someone in the eye and talk with them because of the fear I felt inside. At this Scout camp I was challenged to scale what seemed to be an incredibly tall rock climbing wall. Hesitantly I tried, and very quickly I found out that not only could I do it, but I was actually really good at it. I even became the fastest climber in the camp that week!
So once again, imagine yourself standing on the top of that 200 foot cliff with the world beneath you… This time you are filled with confidence and assurance. Trust in your gear, trust in your partner, and trust in the Lord! The great cliffs in our life can be our steppingstones to the future.
If we can translate rock climbing into better Scouts, better husbands, and better fathers.
Author: Clint Lawton | Field Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA
together we can change the world!