I had an opportunity this summer that few LDS women get - I spent a week at scout camp as part of the camp "staff."
For a long time, I have pondered why the Lord wants us to provide as many opportunities as we can for young men and young women to spend time outdoors. Over time, I have thought of a number of reasons, but this week of getting to see the scouts at camp showed me just how much of an impact it can have, especially when combined with a good program and good leadership.
As I interacted with these young men and observed them during the week, I noticed a difference from when I had seen them outside of camp. It was almost as if being at camp gave them the freedom to be themselves for the week. They did not need to act tough or cool or any of the other things expected from teenage boys in their every day lives. Sometimes that meant extra silly or dangerous, but mostly I saw young men who were sincere, mature and helpful. I believe having this opportunity to be themselves helps them find the best in themselves.
As I have reflected more on this, it came to me that I had the exact same experience at Wood Badge. I figured at the same it was related to severe lack of sleep, but at Wood Badge I know I acted differently than I do in my normal every day interactions as well. And I know the Wood Badge experience (including working on my ticket afterward) helped me to improve myself and find qualities I did not know I had. I guess Wood Badge mirrors the experience of the boys even more than I thought - at least, it did for me.
Baden-Powell was right when he said that a week of camp life can teach more than six months in the classroom.
Have you noticed a difference in the youth you know during camp or other outdoor experiences? What about the leaders?