A few things I learned at Scout outdoor leader training

I attended the first part of the Boy Scouts of America "Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills" course this weekend. Here’s a brief summary of the major things I learned:

  • I’m not dyslexic, but I might as well be when it comes to tying knots. I tend to interchangeably use my right and left hands, and that meant that it took me about five times longer to learn how to tie some of the stupid things. I’ll be practicing this week.
  • The Chesebrough Scout reservation is a beautiful facility, but it doesn’t have any AT&T coverage (or, at least, not much).
  • A cardboard box, cut properly, makes a dandy split for lower-arm breaks or ankle injuries.
  • Black electrical tape is better than duct tape or masking tape for securing slings, splints, etc. It’s just sticky enough, and it stretches more than the other types, but not so much as to be useless.
  • When traveling in bear country, use unscented sunscreen to keep from becoming a bear magnet. You should also plan on wearing special clothes just for sleeping—if you sleep in your day clothes, they’ll have food scents on them, and bears love a good food scent.
  • The best way to test the fit of your hiking boots is to walk downhill. (More boot fitting tips here.)
  • The Scouts’ "Leave No Trace" program is surprisingly comprehensive; its principles include only camping and traveling on durable surfaces, minimizing campfire use, and attempting to avoid disturbing wildlife.
  • Your kitchen is probably a pit of filth, even if you’ve just cleaned it. (The food safety/prep class was a real eye-opener. Good thing it was delivered right before lunch!)

The second half of the training takes place Friday night and Saturday; we’ll be pitching tents, camping and cooking outdoors, and all that good stuff. Should be big fun.

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