A Letter to Scouts on Their First Backpacking Trip By Scoutmaster, Rachel Luman with Troop 3329
We just concluded our first backpacking adventure of the year. Our troop is growing, and many of our girls are brand new to Scouting. Those girls have learned a lot about the outdoors through our campouts and hikes, but carrying a heavy load uphill for several miles was new and more than a little intimidating.
Looking back through the photos of our adventure along Horton Creek, I see smiling faces, crystal clear waterfalls and butterflies landing on outstretched hands. Those serene moments in time tell a true story of growing friendships and the beauty of nature, but I know that there was also struggle. Pictures show you all walking proudly along the trail, but they can’t show the weight of your packs or the challenge of the incline. Pictures show you walking barefoot through a creek, but I remember how freezing that water was, how tricky it was to navigate slippery rocks, and how painful it was for those who forgot to pack water shoes. You made unforgettable memories drinking directly from a natural spring, but only after hiking two extra miles uphill because we told you something special was “just around the corner.”
While preparing dinner, you acquired essential safety knowledge. You unpacked and repacked backpacks, set up and took down tents, started a fire with damp wood, ate dehydrated food, dug a hole for a bathroom, made friends with spiders, filtered your water, and learned how to carry camp on your backs.
I remember hearing, “This is hard;” and I remember hearing, “This is so much fun!” And I’ll tell you a secret: even with all of the fun, the struggle is the best part. There is nothing better than feeling the struggle, surviving it, and using it as fuel for your next adventure. Because now you know that you can do hard things, and your next adventure can be met with experience and confidence. I can’t wait for the challenges and memories ahead!
See You on the Next Trail,
Troop 3329 is chartered with Parents and Teachers at Meadows in Phoenix, Arizona. https://my.bsa.us/010taa3329mb