Camping and the Outdoor Experience
by Scott Hunter, 2001 National OA Vice Chief
of my fondest memories in Scouting and as a young man have been directly
related to the times I have had in the outdoors. These were times that I
spent at the mountain lakes of Western South Dakota - times that I had in
the majesty of Yellowstone National Park - times I cherished in the majestic
and familiar mountains of Wyoming. No matter what the setting, one thing
is and has always been a constant, and that item is how the experiences
had the ability to affect me personally.
I recall sitting in the wilderness and looking deep within
my soul. As a young man I did a great deal of soul searching to find
purpose and direction in my life. In nature I found my place, and I found
my answers. Looking out over the landscapes, high mountain peaks, and tranquil
waters, nature always allowed me to find that inner voice that became so
important in shaping the person I am today.
Ever since the days of Henry David Thoreau's trip to
Walden Pond, a certain desire to return to nature has existed in many people.
Ever since then, many, like me, have turned to the magnificence of the outdoors
to find their own rewards, mental and emotional. Further, we can all be
thankful for the memories that we, as Scouts, have of truly experiencing
the best of this magnificent realm. We can rejoice in the chances we have
had to explore new areas, build new trails, and grow as men in our journeys,
and we can be forever thankful for them. Never will I forget my early troop
camp-outs on Casper Mountain and the times I shared playing Midnight Capture
the Flag in Bear Trap Meadow. Never will I forget the chances that I had
to sit next to a campfire amongst the trees sharing stories of life, and
roasting, or shall I say char-broiling, marshmallows. Never will I cease
to remember the times when I with my brothers laid under the stars, and
explored the heavens with our eyes and dreams.
I look forward to each summer and more experiences in the great outdoors
I love so much, my excitement and enthusiasm build with each passing day.
This past summer, I canoed through the boundary waters of Canada and Minnesota
in the OA's Northern Tier Voyage, and climbed the peak of Baldy like so
many before me on the OA Philmont Trail Crew. These are the experiences which
make life worth living. Whether exploring a cave, climbing a rock face,
rafting through rapids in Colorado, or simply stopping to recognize what
lay around and inside me, the outdoors and nature have become my haven.