THIS POST BY RACHEL EDWARDS, SUMMER TEACHING APPRENTICE
This week was spent on the Olympic Peninsula learning the ways of the scout. Patrick was the instructor for the camp and Kim and I assisted him. I loved the energy of this week and all the fun activities we got to do. The way of the scout is about awareness, service, integrity, community, and stealth. This week included the elements of practicing moving invisibly through the forest, being aware of what’s going on around you, and pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.
One of the first lessons of the scout is awareness. We practiced our awareness skills by first learning the fox walk, deer ears, and owl eyes. These three things are essential to the scout. Kim and I set up the activity observation alley to assist in the learning of these awareness skills while the campers played the game fox and hare. Observation alley is where you set out unnatural objects along a trail in obvious and not obvious places and you then fox walk with owl eyes through the trail and see what you notice. We took the campers through a few times so that they could really practice. I think this is a great activity for awareness. We learned the fox trot in case you need to run without being seen and the evasive run so you can run without being targeted. Another important skill we learned were hand signals so we could communicate with each other without having to talk. These skills would be needed for the scout missions that would happen over the week.
Other skills that we developed over the week were endurance building and the ability to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones. Each morning began with stretches and endurance building and after lunch each day the campers went into the no warmer than fifty degree ocean. The learning of scout breathing was essential for entering the ocean. One of my favorite activities that happened over the week was the drum stalk. I love being blindfolded and barefoot in the forest and forced to move around slowly, it really heightens your awareness. Many team building activities happened over the week as well.
The first scout mission that happened was candy gully and my favorite of the week. While the sun was setting, we divided up into scout groups and went over hand signals and discussed our strategy. In candy gully a parameter is created where the instructors patrol with water balloons while the scouts try and get close and take the bags of candy that are set up around the parameter of the patrolled area. If the instructors see or hear you they try to hit you with water balloons and you have to start back over. This game takes stealth, patience, and the ability to move slowly and quietly. I laid in one place for atleast forty-five minutes without moving. That wait was well worth it because I was able to grab a bag of the candy right at the end of the game. Grabbing the candy sure was an adrenalin rush. I loved everything about this mission.
The second mission happened on Tuesday night, a fire stalk. This mission was a lot of fun too. The object is to stalk up to the fire and take marshmallows without being seen by the instructors guarding the fire ring. The light of the fire makes it hard to see out away from it. The reward of the mission was the roasting of the marshmallows. My team was able to get a few handfuls of marshmallows. I was impressed by their stealth because I got caught a few times. I wasn’t as patient as I had been the night before.
The third, final, and biggest mission happened on Wednesday night…capture the flag. We had spent the day perfecting the art of camouflage, learning how to cover our shine with ash or dirt and how to use charcoal to cover our skin so we blend in with the environment. The previous missions had prepared us for an all night adventure. There were three teams each with their own flag. We were to hang our flags with a light because it was super dark and we were to keep ten feet around the flag clear. We were to have some team members stay and guard the flag with the others went out to scout the other teams’ flags. I had one really successful outing but being able to take a flag was almost impossible. Not to mention the terrain was full of crunchy sticks. It was very hard to move silently. I’m not even sure how the game ended, all I know is it was past three am.
By the end of the week a really sweet community had been formed with all the campers, which were all boys. They had really started to embody the ways of the scout and I was happy to have been a part of this fun filled week. Nothing is more fun to me than being able to move barefoot in the forest for hours at a time trying to not be seen or heard!