I was talking with a lifetime Role Model of mine. Yes……even at my age, I have Role Models. We all need to be checking our own actions up against something or someone. We need those “Touchstones” to know if we are heading down the correct Trail, and not the bad Pathway.
This Role Model Individual of mine happens to be a longtime Scout Master. I actually have a couple of Role models that are Scout Masters. I do not think it is a coincidence either. Our conversation was about who do we pass the Nature Baton off too. We are both getting up there in age and those thoughts become more prevalent as you see time running out, little by little.
Both of us have spent the last 20 years or so doing as much Outdoor Volunteer work as we could possibly handle and still remain responsible adults and family members. Dave through Scouting and myself through Hiking Michigan have sponsored and organized literally countless Events and Outdoor activities for all ages. Many focused on educated or giving children an outdoor experience. Yet both of us felt like there was no Baton being passed along.
Yes…….we have both put together some very Fun and educational Events for the Kids. Dave much more then me through Scouting. We both have seen up to 100 children attend a specific Outdoor activity or Event and everyone enjoyed the experience. But what we were talking about to one another had nothing to do with just having Fun. That is not what success was being judged by here.
If you through enough money at something, or even work hard enough to sponsor or organize an Outdoor Event, it is not that hard to get 100 kids to show up with parents and/or family members. But in the big picture that really doesn’t mean a real lot. We are talking lifetimes here. The next Generation. Not just a Fun afternoon.
We are not nurturing new Leaders. We are not giving these children an outdoor experience influential enough to turn their lives into something different or special by dedicating THEIR lives to THEIR generation and it’s understanding of the Natural world and it’s importance to us and the entire world.
It starts with Mom & Dad. They have the greatest influence on the children. Mine taught me the greatest respect for the Natural world. Enough that it has stuck with me until this very day. But besides the parents it then takes dedicated individuals, usually Volunteers, because this kind of caring and nurturing does not pay alot of money if anything at all. In fact……these days, the money part mostly contaminates the experiences for the children. They do not learn much when the leader or Instructor is trying to just further their career, advance their Non Profit group or make more money for their own business. The children can learn those things at school or out in the business world.
The Natural world links us all through our hearts and spirits, and not our egos. Children see this very quickly. They know when the adult, Leader or Instructor is there for the money, Career or alternative motive, and not for the true love of the Natural world or the want to show THEM the beauties and wonders that make up EVERYTHING on our planet.
As Dave and I talked about all of this further, we wondered if all of these outside and bad examples where not already poorly influencing the children. How many times can you try and fool the Kids before they just give up on it ever being real, or the truth. They will not say anything to you about it directly, but the determinations from the examples they have been shown, have already been made by them inside. Now the battle starts back at convincing them that Nature is important. That it is not just a way to make yourself popular or make a big career for yourself as they have been shown up to this point in time.
It gets pretty hard to move forward starting so far back. BUT…….it can be done. IT IS being done. Both Dave and myself have seen it, still see it and know that it is still possible under all the past bad Pathways, Electronic sideshows, and poor leaders that have been danced in front of these kids.
Maybe rather then saying we have had a big successful outdoor Children’s Event, when 100 kids show up. We should rather feel more successful when we have the same amount of time and energy spent on 6 children for the afternoon or weekend. All that time to answer every one of their questions. Show them everything they wanted to see. Let THEM hand feed the Birds……Let THEM turn over that rock, see what they find and examine what is there with them for how ever long they want to spend there.
It seems that with 100 children attending an Outdoor Event an no one to pass the Baton too, and 6 children attending an Outdoor Experience and just maybe every single one of them being influenced in such a positive way that they too will influence others their own age with the same excitement as they have felt from their experience, is something we then can consider passing the Baton too. Better yet……they take the Baton from us on their own.