1. A pocketknife or multitool can be handy in a wide variety of situations. It’s useful for tasks as large as building an emergency shelter or lighting a campfire with poor fuel, or as small as repairing a damaged backpack. Don’t forget to first earn your Whittling Chip (for older Cub Scouts) or Totin’ Chip (for Boy Scouts).
2. A *first-aid kit can be a lifesaver. Literally.
3. Bring extra clothing to match the weather. Multiple layers are better than a single massive jacket, because layered clothing is adaptable to a wide range of temperatures.
4. Rain gear is very important. Being wet from rain may result in hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition.
5. A *flashlight is important for finding your way in the dark.
6. *Trail food is good for maintaining your energy.
7. *Water can prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
8. Matches and/or a fire starter may be used to light fires for heat, or for signaling for help.
9. *Sun protection might include *sunblock, sunglasses, lip balm and a *wide-brimmed hat.
10. A map and compass are probably the most important tools you can carry in case you get lost. (Cub Scouts replace a compass with a *whistle).
(Cub Scouts only have six of these, see * to the left)
That first day I did not get far before there was trouble (by the way [BTW], fly with me and there is always trouble. Past flight incidents include a cabin fire, ID left on the plane [try getting back on without ID], a flat tire when landing, and that time I broke my foot in the airport). Every time there is something, and this time it was storms.
We circled the Atlanta airport waiting for the storms to clear until the plane’s reserve fuel was gone and we had to land in Knoxville. A huge jumbo jet beat us to the pumps, so we had a long wait for our turn, but by that time the storms had passed and I landed just in time to see my luggage loaded and take off for the UK without me! That luggage visited France and New York before finding me in Harrogate—good thing I follow the Boy Scout Motto: Be Prepared
and packed my “Ten Essentials” [see box to the right]. Alright not all 10, I left my knife or they would have taken it away at TSA Security check-in and no sun protection, because you gotta be kiddin, I was on my way to England, or so I thought.
For the next few days it felt a lot like camping out, but then my luggage caught up with me and I caught up with the family at their home in Darley, UK. It was a good thing, too, because my suitcase held my 8 year old grandson’s new Cub Scout uniform and Bear Handbook, which I hoped to present to him.
Before leaving for the UK, I checked with the Transatlantic Council to see if there was a troop at Menwith Hill RAF Base,which is near their home. I was delighted to discover there was both a pack and a troop. Both are in jeopardy because of base size reduction. If worse came to worse, we would register my grandson as a Lone Cub Scout, and I would be his “distance” Friend and Counselor.”
I had what I needed to make this vacation better, the stuff to share my passion for Scouting with our family’s next generation, but getting here was certainly not half the fun.
To read more about our Lone Cub Scouting adventure together click Part 2