Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Boy Scout Training in the Sunshine State and Beyond

"Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I will remember. Let me do, and I will understand."

Throughout the 2010 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer season, we worked closely with the Boy Scouts of America to share the fundamentals of practicing and teaching Leave No Trace in the scouting community. We led awareness workshops for packs and troops, attended regional camporees in ten different states, facilitated workshops with leaders, provided ten days of outreach at the National Boy Scout Jamboree, and most recently instructed our first Boy Scout and leader only Trainer Course.

The Boy Scouts of America have an estimated 4.5 million members nationally and as one of the nation’s largest youth serving organizations the fact that the BSA is adopting the Leave No Trace program as an organizational norm is critical for the outdoor recreation community.

In 2010, the unveiling of new awards and leadership positions within the ranks of the Boy Scouts of America has created a consistent demand for Leave No Trace Trainer Courses to be offered around the country to Scouts of all ages and experience levels. Last November, we facilitated a Trainer Course with Boy Scouts and leaders from various councils throughout the state of Florida. The 16-hour course focused on instructing the fundamentals required to teach others the skills and ethics of Leave No Trace. Throughout the course we drew on the words of Confucius as the Scouts enjoyed experiential learning opportunities and personally connected with the idea "Let me do, and I will understand." The participants were introduced to various methods to minimize impacts on the outdoors, and each led a lesson covering a different principle or topic for the whole group.

For the new position of Leave No Trace Trainer within a troop, completing a Trainer Course is required. The Trainer Course assists the student participants in learning more about the seven principles of Leave No Trace and techniques for disseminating these low impact skills. Opportunities for experiential education in the outdoors create connections between the human and natural communities for Scouts of all ages. Learning through doing develops the ethics behind taking on individual responsibility and a sense of stewardship for public lands. Trainer Courses also offer diverse student groupings with students of various ages and experience levels and allow for a unique learning dynamic promoting exploration and dialogue from varied life perspectives.

With so many millions of Scouts enjoying the outdoors with Leave No Trace in mind, outdoor recreation adventures can be safer and more responsible experiences for Scouts of all ages. With eight new Leave No Trace Trainers in the state of Florida, the Leave No Trace program will be taught to many new Scouts in several councils.

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