One of the boys is 13 and has special needs. His parents have yet to tell us what they are even when we ask them. We can guess what the need is though. His father was just called as an Assistant Scoutmaster to help mentor his own child (which I see the pros and cons to). He makes it to most weekend camps but because this one would require taking time off work, he couldn't make it. The first 5 miles of our trip took us, with an hour break for lunch, about 6 hours to hike because of him and some of the younger boys. I am not complaining trust me. I was slow too but my mentality was "I will hike my own hike and I will get there when I get there." This boy gave up in the first 15 minutes of our hike like he had last month at our 1 mile hike through difficult terrain. Mom and Dad packed his bag like we told them not too. They packed it heavy and when we told him and his parents to lighten the load at the shakedown they told us they were not even done packing yet. They have yet to buy his food. On the trail this boy kept yelling for his dad and asking when we were going to be done. I grabbed his hand at times and pulled him. Other boys had him grab a rope on their backpack and pulled him up hills. He was cursing his Dad for not being on the campout and carrying most of his stuff for him like he had the month before.
Literally 500 feet from the trail head to finish our 10 miles, the boy threw himself down and told us he was done. I told him to stand up and look over the ridge. The end was right around the corner. He called me a liar. I told him I was not lying. I "ordered" him to his feet and told him to "get to stepping" and he was finished with the hike in less than 3 minutes. I had asked my son to go grab the boys backpack and bring it over to the other ones. Within 30 minutes the boy was sitting at the adult table joking about food and the hike like he hadn't even struggled. That required a ton of patience honestly. Saying you can't do something and then having enough energy to joke and go and play after a hike means to me that you could have hiked more miles or with a better attitude.
Some of the other challenges we faced were:
- Some of the Troop members were so small tightening their backpacks had no ability to hold their packs closer to their bodies or on their hips. Their backpacks were too big.
- When the Varsity Coach tells you that you don't need 3 pairs of shoes and 5 pocket knives to hike 10 miles, he is probably right. Especially when you only use one knife at a time (even though you think you might be mugged in the middle of the woods) and only end up wearing one pair of shoes the whole time.
- Canned food is NOT trail food.
- You fill up your water bladders and bottles EACH AND EVER time you get the chance to. One boy was out of water at the end of 5 miles (also another boys who's parents packed his bag).
- Another boy drank another boy's water until he had none.
- MRE's are great to eat but they are big and heavy especially when you weigh 100 pounds and your parents and grandparents pack 4 of them.
- One of the boys decided to drop his pants to a couple of boaters that went by.
- Boys don't tie their shoes. They do the socially "my shoes look tied to my feet but they are not".
Do we put stuff we don't need in our own personal and spiritual backpacks?
When we need to lighten our own loads do we just decide to "tough it out"?
Do we need to be instructed in all things?
Do we give up before we start?
Do we give up right before we are done?
Do we do a disservice by doing things for boys instead of letting them struggle a bit?
What I learned from this campout:
- You can go through 4 liters of water very quickly on a 5 mile hike especially when it is hot and you take over 6 hours to do it.
- Patience, patience and more patience.
- Making yourself miserable only makes yourself miserable and unable to function.
- Hike my own hike but always be moving forward.
- Don't look too far forward or too far back. Stare at the guys shoes in front of you and just keep moving.
- I can not only hike 10 miles of difficult Texas "hills" but I can do it with a 55 pound pack.
- Loosing 30 pounds doesn't make you in shape to hike.
- Boy leadership is very effective for motivating other boys when done correctly. Sometimes we just have to remind the boys they need to lead.
- My son can hike better than I can.
|We went from Juniper Point to 5 Mile Camp.|
|View from 5 Mile Camp.|
|On the trail on one of the hottest days of the years so far.|
|I saw this view a lot.|
|You find a lot of weird stuff on the trail.|