Sunday, January 17, 2010

At The Klondike Derby

Up at 5:30 in the morning. Five layers of clothes. Size 36 jeans out of the closet worn to accommodate the sweatpants I am wearing underneath. One pot of coffee downed before 7:00. Standing at the local Boy Scout Camp at 8:10 in the morning. Yup....its Klondike Derby time.

Klondike Derby is an annual Scouting event that I have attended with my oldest boy for the last four years. This year's event was Aidan's first Klondike. At this event, Packs of Cub Scouts and Troops of Boy Scouts compete against each other in a several events; among them are shelter building, knot tying, and fire starting. My boys excel at fire starting...I wonder what that means? The day culminates in a sled race where the boys pull sleds (in sled dog fashion) across a field. Think sled dog race meets NASCAR meets the chariot scene from Ben Hur.

While I am not a Scouting fundamentalist, I am impressed by the dedication and devotion of Scout leaders. These overgrown kids, and I have gotten to know several of them over the years, have enriched the lives of my sons and hundreds of other boys. For many boys, their Scout leader is the only positive male role model they know.

In certain circles Scouting has a bad name. The title "Boy Scout" connotates a certain naivete and lack of sophistication and the institution is viewed by many as a relic from a bygone age best left behind us. Admittedly, the values our culture promotes; laziness, irreverence, selfishness, and cynicism, run counter to Scouting's core values. Scouting provides boys (and their parents), with another example to follow, where reverence, patriotism, loyalty, honesty, and hard work are espoused, taught, and reinforced. For my part, Scouting has helped me and my boys' mom immeasurably in our efforts to successfully raise our sons into responsible young men. boys and I are sufficiently thawed out. Their snow pants have dried out, and my size 36 jeans are back in the closet. While we enjoy the Klondike Derby, I think the three of us are happy to spend the day inside...although Aidan is making noises about building a fire. Fortunately the house has a fire extinguisher. Be Prepared.

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