Orientation for Parents of New Scouts
You may be wondering—and even a little bit nervous—about what your role is in Scouts BSA. To explain your role we’d like to introduce you to an item that is a good friend to many hikers—the hiking stick. Hiking sticks come in many different styles, from the plain dead branch you just found in the woods, to carved and decorated staffs, to high-tech aluminum models with spring-loaded tips. A good hiking stick can be a pretty handy thing to have with you when you’re out walking in the country. Regardless of the type of stick or what they look like, they all do pretty much the same three things.
When you are going uphill, particularly if it's steep and rocky, you plant that stick in front of you and you can use your arms to help pull you up the hill—you don’t have to rely on just your legs. When you are going downhill, particularly if it is steep and rocky, you plant that stick in front of you, and it helps you keep your balance, takes a little of the weight off of your knees, and gives you that extra support you need. And when you’re walking on a flat and even surface, well, the hiking stick is just a welcome companion on the trail.
Many good Scouts have a hiking stick. And just like Scouts should have a hiking stick to help support them on their journey, they must also have adults who support them on their journey through Scouting. When Scouts are their way up, advancing, taking in new experiences, and facing new challenges, it’s nice to have something sturdy that they can grab onto to help pull themselves up, and the encouragement of those who have gone before them to help them along. When Scouts are on a bit of a downhill, trying to keep their balance and stay upright, they need that extra support and stability. And when Scouts have a smooth, flat trail in front of them, it’s just nice to have a companion to talk to, or just to share the silence with.
One of the most rewarding things in life is to be a “hiking stick” for Scouts, to be there when needed, not just for your own Scouts, but more often for other Scouts who need the help and friendship of an adult from time to time.
We invite each of you to share that experience—whether you think of yourself as a shiny, spring-loaded model or an old dead branch, you have something to contribute.