Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lessons from the Mountain

Lessons from the Mountain

I just returned from a one week training experience in the New Mexico Mountains. My wife and I attended training sessions at Philmont Scout Ranch; the Boy Scouts of America's national training center.

I attended the invitation only seminar to learn skills that will help me improve my local scout troop and my council's 2010 Jamboree troop. I achieved my initial objective and learned a great deal about scout troops. My wife learned some new skills in her class, and both of my children had a great time in their programs as well.

The most important things that I learned last week did not come from the printed materials, flip charts, or power points. My biggest 'take-away' came from networking with other scout leaders, staff members, and Boy Scouts that were coming off

Philmont Scout Ranch is a high-adventure facility where youth can experience mountain backpacking on treks of 10 days or more. I expected to see boys age 15 and above out hiking in the wilderness. I was surprised to see boys as young as 12 beaming as they completed their 10 day adventure.

I realize that I have been underestimating what boys in the early teens are capable of achieving. After a little reflection, I can see that the boys in my troop are capable of going on a 10 day/75mile adventure in the foothills of the Rockies. I intend to take them there as soon as I can get a reservation (about 2-3 years).

This learning experience makes me wonder how many children I haven’t helped as much as could have because of my expectations. Did the children I tutor learn as much possible? Did everyone in the classes in which I substitute teach reach their full potential? Have I been setting my sights too low?

I will remember this life lesson when I begin teaching full time in my own classroom. I will be sure to make every day a “mountain-top experience” for my students.

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