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The Lake News Online
  • My view: Pushing through when you don't want to

  • I spent twelve years as a Boy Scout. Over those years, I spent dozens of nights under the stars at various camping trips. My excursions took me to the rural woods of Missouri, the rolling hills of South Dakota, the forests of Virginia and the dry mountains of New Mexico.
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  • I spent twelve years as a Boy Scout. Over those years, I spent dozens of nights under the stars at various camping trips. My excursions took me to the rural woods of Missouri, the rolling hills of South Dakota, the forests of Virginia and the dry mountains of New Mexico.
    I’ve swam in pristine lakes, hiked barren trails, sailed frigid waters and spelunked pitch-black caves.
    I’ve won a mile-swim race, placed in a rifle shooting contest and lit my socks on fire (accidentally, as I mentioned to my mom in a letter home).
    Boy Scouts taught me some valuable life skills on living with integrity, finding solutions for myself, working with others and having a strong work ethic.
    Particularly that last value, creating and maintaining a strong work ethic, was molded through camping trips.
    Individual patrols — for those of you who aren’t so familiar with scouting, it’s a group of 6-10 boys who work as unit for months at a time — live together, cook together, eat together and build a campsite together. Patrols were like little military units. Sure, most Boy Scouts have fun, but patrol life was pretty regimented.
    It took a while to get used to.
    By the time I turned 18, I could run a camping trip like it was nothing. I had earned my Eagle Scout award, served a Senior Patrol Leader (the equivalent of a troop president) and had been inducted into the secretive Order of the Arrow society. I had learned my lessons from the camping trips.
    Remembering back to my very first camping trip, it’s hard to think I would make it as far as I did.
    Back in Cub Scouts, camping was something off in the future, something to look forward to.
    At the tail end of Cub Scouts, it was time.
    There had been a couple of overnight excursions, notably named “Dad and lad” trips. But those don’t really count. The last big foray for my pack was a week-long trip.
    This time I went without my dad.
    Lugging my sleeping bag, tote full of clothes and a cooler of snacks, I probably looked like a pack rat, taking way too many things I didn’t need for a week at camp.
    Everything went smoothly for the first few days.
    But by mid-week, things went south.
    I don’t remember what prompted my meltdown, but it was a doozy.
    Another kid needed to call home for this reason or that and I jumped at the opportunity.
    Page 2 of 2 - I scrounged up a few coins and pushed them into a pay phone at the dining hall.
    I remember, through tears, saying “I need to place this call through collect.”
    The operator probably thought I was crazy. Eventually, I got through to my mom and demanded someone come and get me and take me home.
    I begged, I pleaded, I cried.
    And I lost.
    The camp was a mere 20 minutes from my home and my parents could have easily taken me out of a situation in which I felt uncomfortable or lonely.
    But they said no.
    That lesson at my first campout is one of the most powerful I ever learned.
    When confronted with something you don’t like, you can either cry and ask for the easy way out, or push through and find a solution.
    When I hung up the phone, I trudged, defeated, back to camp. When I arrived, I sat around the fire. The next morning, I played a game of wiffleball with my friends.
    I had a great rest of the week.
    But I would have never had that week if my parents hadn’t said “no.”
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