Our leadership cadre took scouts hiking, backpacking, winter, spring, summer, and fall camping, canoeing, whitewater rafting, caving, rock climbing, rappelling, you name it. The boys built fires and bridges, chopped firewood and whittled all manner of sticks into all manner of things. They ran through the woods during the day and during the night. Sometimes they even used flashlights! The stories could go on for a long time.
Did we have rules? Absolutely. Anarchy serves no one. The rules were designed for safety but not to squelch. And now the most important question: What is my safety record?
I'll be perfectly honest. It's not perfect. How could it be? I know of one twisted (not sprained) ankle in a cave. A face plant in a mountain river that required 2 or 3 duct tape butterfly bandages over one eye. I remember one pair of wet underwear (ok, that only hurt the pride). But let's be serious. I've taken to the hospital only 3 or 4 scouts out of the hundreds that have participated in adventures that I had a part of. And nothing was more serious than a few stitches.
(I really need to make a post, so guess what? You have to stay tuned for Part II!)