Tears flowed from my eyes as I read about a man that is now taking care of a bedridden 6-year-old foster girl with a rare brain defect who is blind and deaf; has daily seizures; and her arms and legs are paralyzed. This devout Libyan-born Muslim has been taken care of her for all of her life. But the story does not begin there. He has been doing this type of care for more than two decades. He has buried about 10 children. Some died in his arms.
The best news I found was that a federal judge ordered a halt to deportations of travelers with valid visas to enter the U.S. saying that sending them back to the affected countries could cause them “irreparable harm.” Other good news was that droves of immigration attorneys stepped up to offer free services to those detained. Now this is the America that I am proud of.
I read an interesting article in the Huffington Post entitled “The Inevitability Of Impeachment.” This is just after one week so I take it with a Grain of Salt, but since it includes concerns from both parties, it is worth reading.
Another great international scouting experience at JamCam Ecuador in Guayaquil over the New Years! A really interesting aspect of their program is that it was totally volunteer-run; I was very impressed. One lady that we have to thank for this is Lyda Pavón, International Commissioner for the Scouts of Ecuador.
JamCam stands for Jamboree and Camporee. Usually, Scouts from 11 to 15 years of age had a special program during the Pan-American Scout Jamborees, but after the 2010 Interamerican Scout Conference, the Interamerican Scout Committee decided to create the “JamCam”. Scouts were placed in the Camporee and Venturers in the Jamboree, both with similar programs and held in the same venue.
The JamCam provided opportunities for all participants to visit the main tourist places near Guayaquil. Also, a traditional characteristic of Scouts is a day of community service. At the JamCam each scout could choose between: sharing with children with disabilities, helping in planting trees, collaborating in the creation of signs for parks, painting of murals, and so on. This is one of the reasons that I enjoy scouting so much.
I was able to help as a security guard for JamCam with my friend John Davis. We were the old men on duty every morning. I shared my tent with two very nice scouters from Columbia: Camilo and Néstor. Everyone I met at JamCam were either friendly, helpful or both.
After JamCam, my friend Pete Armstrong, a wonderful group of Brazilians, and I visited the Galapagos Islands. One of the young Brazilians, Vitor, had been a very helpful translator for me one day during JamCam. Pete and I had a great time due in large part to the friendly group of Brazilians. Plus, they spoke English which was very helpful for me.
The traveling abroad and the scout leaders I meet make these experiences so enjoyable. You can always count on meeting quality people in scouting as they are the ones that often think of others first. All my other international adventures are shared on this web page: www.venturingmag.org/International.shtml.
With the Christmas season approaching and being a grandparent, I started thinking more about family and how wonderful all my family members are. I am lucky to have brothers and sisters, children, grandkids, spouses and extended family members that I treasure.
And what generated this thinking, was when my wife and I sat outside with our young grandson and interacted with him as he played with his digger tractor and dump truck in the dirt. Just watching him brought joy to me. It made me think of the pictures you see of grandparents with their grandkids which always seem so warm and wonderful.
There has also been sadness this year as my mom passed and my nephew suffers from cancer, but I am glad for the support that is there for them and the support for those that are most involved with the caretaking.
In my reading on families, I also learned of the value of sitting down for a family meal, something that I was fortunate to do with my children. The article has statistics that show the benefits of family times like these: https://steemit.com/steem/@michaellamden68/family-times.
“Just as the earth goes through seasons, so does a family in the course of time endure seasons. Falling in love, marriage and the birth of children are times of renewal like Spring. Long pleasant periods of calm are like the feeling of an endless Summer. As we and our children grow older, our leaves start to change. We start to experience Autumn. This may seem like dying but it is only signs of a new phase of life. Crises and hardship are times for the family to stay close together, help each other out and endure the frigid winds of change. This period is akin to Winter. Life is full of seasons and changes which are best experienced with the support of friends and family.”
For so many years I led Boy Scouts on hikes and had wonderful experiences. As the years went on and I got older, I did less but this year I returned to my old Boy Scout Troop after 16 years and offered to help with their hikes. Did this bring back wonderful memories! Not only did this bring back memories but nice views, fresh air and the sounds and smells of nature. I encourage all of you – young and old – to follow my lead.
Hiking is a powerful cardio workout that can:
Lower your risk of heart disease
Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
Boost bone density, since walking is a weight-bearing exercise
Build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs
Strengthen your core
Help control your weight
Boost your mood
Here are some tips:
If you have not done hiking, start slowly. A short, local hike is best for beginners. Gradually work up to trails with hills or uneven terrain.
Use poles. Digging into the ground and propelling yourself forward pushes your upper body muscles to work harder and gives you a stronger cardio workout.
Bring a buddy. It’s best not to hike alone at first, especially on unfamiliar or remote trails. A partner or group can help you navigate and assist if you get hurt.
Know before you go. Familiarize yourself with the trail map. Check the weather, and dress and pack accordingly.
For a comprehensive list, check out this article Hiking Tips that I wrote after reading about a hiker that got lost. I believe that all hikers would benefit from these tips.
Also, for you scouters, here’s a helpful one pager on Those First Hikes. It is focused on planning hikes to keep the boys coming back.
In many ways I am lucky because I am a Baden-Powell Fellow. As a fellow, I get to meet fantastic people, I’m exposed to wonderful scouting programs and I have a chance to visit some fascinating countries. This past October, the World Scout Association organized an Honors Program Field Visit to Iceland – the goal being to provide members insight and in-depth experience in how World Scouting benefits from Baden-Powell donations. You can check out that visit here: www.worldscoutfoundation.org/news/hp-field-visit-iceland.
When you read the article, you will see that the Iceland’s scouting program is a model for scout organizations around the world. It promotes the environment, helps alleviate unemployment and services seniors. Wouldn’t it be amazing if all scouting programs thought along these lines?
Any scout leader who has the opportunity to see Iceland’s scouting program up close should definitely take a look, and 2017 brings us the perfect opportunity.
Starting July 25, Iceland will be hosting the 2017 World Scouting Moot. A “moot” is an Old English word for meeting or assembly. The World Scouting “Moot” is the equivalent of a jamboree for 18-25 year old scouts. If you are interested in taking your scout group or just learning more about Iceland’s Moot, check out this site: worldscoutmoot.is/en/.
A few years ago, my wife and I went on a wonderful safari in Kenya. Seeing all the animals in the wild was on our bucket list especially my wife’s as she volunteers at a wildlife way-station just about every Sunday to feed the animals.
But Kenya has another side and that is the lack of clean water. There is a 501(c)(3) organization that is doing something about it called Just One Africa. You can read more about it at this web site, https://www.justoneafrica.org/clean-water/ and you can make a difference by donating.
I always worry about donated money going to where I think it is going. So I did some research on Just One Africa and found very positive results. The site I found it on was https://greatnonprofits.org/organizations/view/just-one-africa-inc/. So if you are going to donate this year for humanitarian, tax or any other reasons, Just One Africa seems like a very good organization to give to.