Saturday, January 24, 2009

Adventure U.

Today we spent the day at the Shenandoah Area Council's "University of Scouting".
For about 12 years now we have partnered with this council that straddles the VA/WV border in the mountainous NW corner of VA and eastern panhandle of WV.
It is a great partnership.
Many of our staff grew up and were scouts in this council..many of us got our start climbing as 12 year old scouts on the rocks that surround one of the best scout camps for rock climbing an America.. Camp Rock Enon.. situated literally about .9 miles from the WV line. Of course in those days, the 70s and 80s, Boy Scouts were still focused on the basic outdoor skills: canoeing, knot tying, first aid, shooting sports, map and compass... rock climbing was absolutely not part of the program.
Fast forward to 1997.. In the desire to "give back" to an organization that has given so much we offered to help introduce a level of outdoor adventure professionalism to the camp program..
Well, one thing led to another, now we have a staff member who provides climbing training and certification not just locally to the local scouts, but nationally through the BSA National Camp School program.
For the summer of 2009, we are partnering with the council to offer 12 weeks of adventure programs. Backpacking and canoeing, of course.. (these are scout standbys).. but also canyoneering, rock climbing, caving, survival, primitive skills, mountain biking, whitewater paddling.. and amazing combinations of all of the above.

And even though teaching and guiding these pursuits is how we've made our living for the past 18 years.. the concept of High Adventure is still somewhat of a novelty... And that is what led to our presence at University of Scouting... To preach the gospel of adventure and challenge and the benefit it brings to the task of building future leaders and adults of character.