The thing I like about Scouts, is that it has given me an archive of good stories to draw from for the rest of my life. Like the time my hair froze to the side of the tent on a campout, or the time we lost a tent pole on the way to our campsite on my very first Klondike Derby, or the time my flashlight batteries ran out in the middle of Nutty Putty Cave, or the time at my Eagle Court of Honor when they were going to present my Eagle award but it wasn’t there because we had left it on the kitchen table at home, or the time we (some fellow scouts and myself) spent over an hour pumping water with a clogged water filter to make what we thought was instant vanilla pudding, but to our utter disappointment, we found out it was Bisquick! Scouting creates experiences, good and bad, that we retain the rest of our lives. For me Scouting has created an overwhelming amount of positive experiences that I treasure.
I enjoy telling my daughter bedtime stories that are from my past as a young boy growing up in Alpine, Utah or some of fun and crazy experiences I have had in Scouting. Recently, I told her the story of a memorable campout as a young Boy Scout. We had a short weekend outing planned to camp at Willow Park near Lehi.
Unfortunately, when we got to our campsite it was a dismal rainy downpour, and I still had to set up my tent. I remember wishing I was at my house where it was warm and dry. But our Scoutmaster was not going to turn around and go home just because of a rainstorm with no danger of thunder, lightning, or flash flooding. I got my pack out and hurriedly starting putting up my tent in the rain. My backpack was getting soaked along with my tent. As I was fumbling around with my gear to get my tent set up, along came another Scout. He threw this nifty green army tent on the ground, unzipped the tent, tossed his bag inside, then climbed in and zipped the door closed. I was wondering what he was doing, then watched with a combination of jealousy and amazement as he set up his tent from the inside!
Finally, I was able to get my tent up and get myself out of the rain, but I kept thinking of my friend that had this awesome tent that set up from the inside. I asked him where he got it and he said that his dad had given him this little army tent, and to this day I still remember how much I wish I had one of those tents. In fact, I would still like to find one of those tents. I have been on several outings since where a tent like that would have come in handy.
In hindsight, I am glad our Scoutmaster didn’t turn around and go home because of the pouring rain. Our leaders were good men. They knew their stuff and knew we would be safe while camping there, even though in the mind of a thirteen year old, it was as if the world had come to an end…we had to camp in the rain! I am glad for that experience. It would have been neat if someone could have told me at the time that I would remember this rainy experience the rest of my life. (Although even if someone had told me that at that moment in the rain, I may not have listened to them.)
So why do Scouts camp in the rain? As I said before, Scouting creates experiences that we retain the rest of our lives. For me Scouting has created an overwhelming amount of positive experiences that I treasure. And now, I get to tell these adventures as bedtime stories to my daughter!
Readers: I would be interested in reading your comments on some of the most memorable Scout campouts you have been on and why. It may have been a rainy campout or the time you had a bear come into your campsite. So, let’s hear your stories. Also if you know what kind of army tent sets up from the inside I would be interested in finding out more info on them. Thanks!
Author: Andrew Olsen | Development Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA