Scouting - fun or survival?
“Her recommendations for a campsite were totally unsuitable. There were no outlets. And there was dirt, and bugs, and ... it rains there. So anyway, we've found a place that's much more us: the Beverly Hills Hotel.” – movie Troop Beverly Hills, 1989
We are a spoiled and pampered generation. My grandparents were used to slaughtering a pig and using all the parts. The bristles become brushes. The blood became “head cheese”. They knew how to “rough it”.
For a while my wife and I enjoyed tent camping. But not backpacking into the rugged wilderness; we traveled by car and stayed at sites with running water & showers. Usually we had a great time. But the thrill of “roughing it” failed in one park when our tent was pitched next to a camper RV with A/C, TV, a kitchen and all the comforts of home.
Many survivalists have noted that Boy Scouts is suffering from the same decline into a suburban lifestyle. There is a belt loop for Computers and one option on the Art Webelos badge is computer-generated graphics. As Den leaders we are afraid to let the 8-10 year-olds handle a knife and our meeting location, a church, has a policy against fires. Hopefully they will learn survival skills as Boy Scouts.
Or maybe not. Survival experts often recommend the Boy Scout handbook as a guide, but only ones published before 1970. Modern Scouts lack the rough mountain man skills of making your own tent and foraging for your food. The edition favored by “preppers” is the 1911 edition that can be download for free at http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/29558.
Popular books for teaching survival skills include:
The Dangerous Book for Boys
The American Boy's Handybook Of Camp Lore And Woodcraft
Boy Scouts Handbook: The First Edition, 1911
I recommend the movie “Troop Beverly Hills” for a fun look at scouting and what really matters (people). A Den Mother from Beverly Hills is a failure at teaching fire skills, knots, first aid, etc. But she and the girls have a great time when she invents new badges for jewelry appraisal, hair styling, fashion, shopping, and other skills suitable for Beverly Hills. But things get ugly at a Jamboree when her girls have to complete against girls who were taught to win at any cost.
Den Mother – “I may be a beginner at some things, but I've got a black belt in shopping!”
Likewise the Boy Scouts of America has adapted to the times and teaches young boys to live in the modern world, not the wilderness. Whether this is good or bad depends on your point of view – do you focus on the existing world or focus and worry about what might happen? I suggest an 80/20 spilt. Make the best of this world but spend some time and resources preparing yourself for emergencies and the future.