Campfire Chronicles – A Newsletter for Investors Who Light The Spark of Scouting, June Edition

Camping Continues To Be A Foundational Part of The Scouting Experience

It’s a defining moment for many new Scouts – waking up on that first morning, on their first troop campout, for possibly the first time without their parent around.  Remember that time, when you yourself, for the first time survived a night camping (Did I mention those scary sounds in the dark)!  Scouts crawling from their tents for the first time, are filled with a new sense of self-confidence and pride, moving on with their day, feeling excited for what comes next and standing a little taller knowing they can handle whatever it may bring.

Nobody camps more than the Boy Scouts of America.  It is one of the things for which we are most famous.  Camping and the Boy Scouts are synonymous – and there is good reason for that.  Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks all have camping requirements.  Multiple Merit Badges revolve around camping, including those required for the Eagle Scout rank.

For the Boy Scouts of America camping is more than a means to an end. It’s a journey unto itself where lessons are learned intuitively and by doing. Camping represents immersing oneself into nature, an environment that is increasingly more unknown in today’s hi-tech world.  Through it, children can better explain light pollution, deforestation, and species loss and understand the value of their own local forest or state park.  Camping is learning how to live without the comforts of home.  Camping is consciously placing yourself in a different setting and having to think about each step of the day.  This focus on self-reliance and anticipating what needs to come next accelerates personal growth.

The benefits of camping are numerous and varied.  The Road Less Traveled website lists the 10 Greatest Things You Learn While Camping.  They include learning what you “need” to live in the outdoors, a sense of direction, an appreciation of nature’s beauty, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, and unplugging from technology.  These certainly are lessons that Scouts learn while camping, but not as important as the deeper lessons. explains well the unquantifiable lessons from camping.  It requires living deliberately. Camping requires establishing an outpost of civilization and managing people and resources. It requires recreating the mechanisms of survival and applying specialized skills. Camping leaves distractions behind and leaves us with ourselves and fellow Scouts.  Nature takes us as we are, developing humility and pushing ourselves physically and mentally. Finally, Camping inspires reverence for nature and teaches us where we fit in the grand scheme of things.

After 110 year of years’ experience camping, it seems that the BSA was ahead of its time.  Camping is where Scouts, at an impressionable age, find themselves and develop character.  And in today’s hi-tech world, Scouting is more necessary than ever to help children grow and learn about the natural world that lies outside their house.  You know, like those sounds you hear from your tent as you fall asleep are scary at first, but then become friendly and welcoming as you become accustomed to the grand scheme of things.

Camping While Scouting At Home – Allowing Families to Learn and Have Fun Together

One of Scouting’s strengths is that it is designed for family involvement.  More than just the fact that the BSA is a volunteer run organization, parental involvement is part of the program design for the benefit of the Scout. Think of it this way, Scouting is a process – a progression of youth development.  In the first years of Cub Scouting a parent must participate with their child who is working to earn the Lion and Tiger ranks. As children grow, parental involvement shifts from doing “everything” for the Scout to allowing the Scout to do things for themselves.

Scouting is not just an opportunity for Scouts to do fun stuff, it’s also an opportunity for parents to learn and grow.  Clarke Green explains in his article What I wish every Scout Parent Understood “I went through this with my son.  It was uncomfortable and challenging at times, but ultimately it was very rewarding”.

The Shelter in Place order has unexpectedly highlighted the flexibility of the program for parents to be involved with their child in Scouting.  While the program was designed to be done in group meetings, the program can be done at-home, and with parental help and involvement.  This means parents can, depending on program level, give leadership and direction to their children in satisfying rank requirements.  Furthermore, it has been a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time together, using those rank requirements as an excuse to have a shared activity.  Scouting at Home is a real thing.

Just recently, the Boy Scouts of America held a National Camp In.  This event was designed to enhance the Scouting experience for Scouts of all programs.  It featured campsite construction, a virtual 5-K, cooking, moving making, STEM activities, wilderness survival tips, s’mores, and a virtual campfire, before allowing participants time to crawl in their tents for the night.  Participants could view as much or as little of the day’s web broadcasts, and the event was designed for all ages.  More importantly, it was designed for the whole family as a way to keep the wonderful traditional of Scout camping alive for everyone.

Additionally, our council hosted our first virtual campfire on May 9th for our own local Scouts and families, so that they too could be a part of the show. Scouts from troops and packs across our council submitted their best songs, skits, run-ons and jokes to be shared with their fellow scouts. In true Scout led fashion, Scouts were involved at all levels, from promotion and organizing – to serving as the master of ceremonies for the event.


Local teen coordinated COVID-19 relief effort of donation and delivery on Thursday of thousands of masks and protective gear for 5 San Jose medical facilities.

Explorer Nethra S. from Post 911 at Good Samaritan Hospital, launched a make-a-mask effort, challenging families in local Scout Troops and her Medical Explorers Program to make 1,000 face masks.

Within a week of the launch of the campaign, Scouting connections across the country had already risen to the challenge.

Launching  a multi-city effort, Nethra and others were able to collect 2,950 cloth masks, 1,000 face shields, 600 mask extenders and 100 fabric kits.  On May 21, practicing social distancing, Nethra and Silicon Valley Monterey Council board member George Denise delivered the equipment to 5 San Jose medical facilities on Thursday, May 21st.

OC Mask Makers (launched in March) offered to donate far more than Nethra had in mind. However, they couldn’t pay the shipping costs from Orange County, CA. Fortunately, through many texts and emails last week, a plan came together. George Denise, happened to be in Southern California and offered to drive the donation to San Jose, saving $650 shipping cost.

Nethra’s Mask Making Challenge continues through June 5th. It is open to anyone to participate through a registration page. Each family is challenged to make 5 masks, take a family picture and post on social media with hashtags #SVMBC and #ScoutingAtHome.

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