You wake up in the morning, rush to the window and take a deep breath. You taste the air thinking of a summer camp, which you came from a month ago. Now that you are a senior scout, you were an instructor, not a participant of the camp anymore. And you are proud of it a lot.
When I was a little child, I have never realized how lucky I was with having such a great grandfather. All our family traditions were based on his education methodology – the scouting one. My family story is my grandfather’s input to our general upbringing, his wise approaches to tackle complicated life situations I learnt from.
My grandfather used to belong to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), which is considered to be one of the most development organizations in the country that promotes prominent values in youth. It was created based on the Baden Powell scout methodology, when he wrote a book for the boys, and later his wife initiated girl movement, which is now called “Girl Guides.” The BSA organization provides a youth program for building their characters. It also trains them to be responsible citizens of our country, and, which is very important, it develops personal fitness.
The BSA has been building the future country leaders through the combination of lifelong values and educational activities based on the game method. Now, for more than a century, this organization has not changed its values, and continues helping youth, which is building conscientious, responsible, valuable citizens of local, national and world community and productive leaders of society (BSA, 2012).
Every summer I was waiting for the holidays to come in order to go and join my grandfather in camping. He was an “eagle scout.” I understood, it meant that he was a very important and respective person. According to Redwing Hutman information (2012), “Eagle Scout is a positive, constructive Warrior who …does not openly attack, but will (ever tactfully) chastise disruptive comments, gratuitous insults and cretinous insipidity… He is always kind and helpful.” Such scout has to wear a special badge on his uniform, which made my grandfather even more special to me.
Although you spend couple of weeks outdoors, you do not only become physically strong there; every similar study moment makes you also more adjustable to the society rules and principles. My grandfather taught my mother how to be the scout, and that is how my mother met my father. My brother and I were educated according to the scouting methodology as well.
All our life could be compared to the existence in the strong fortress, which protected us from all the evil outside. My grandfather cannot go to camping anymore, but his wise lessons always keep in my mind and telling me that I am strong individual no matter anything happens. I started realizing that when I went to study to school and further to the university. I noticed that all of the other students are different in a way of general life perception principles. Of course, deep in heart you are a scout although society puts many other responsibilities on you, especially if you are an active citizen.
Once I was chosen to lead a group on international students to the societal summer camp. On the one hand, it was supposed to be an easy experience as I have spent all my years outdoors and know now how to live in natural surroundings. On the other hand, those thirty teenagers have never lived in a tent and have never eaten the food made on bonfire. When it comes to the night, every little mosquito transforms into the biggest enemy for them. The situation gets even more serious when they start homesick: the third day without computer and ordinary internet access.
During one sunny day, the participants were divided into groups of five-six people to learn various skills lead by specialized instructors. As I was the head of this camp, I had to make sure that everything went smoothly, nobody was sick and nothing was threatening us.
When I thought about that moment, here it all started… I saw the signs of fire in the peaks of the trees and the smoke started approaching us from one side very fast. We usually locate the camp as further from the society as possible, thus, we can avoid unpredictable human intrusion. As these international students were not scouts, and this camp was societal, we had to locate closer to the rural area.
The steam started approaching us from the part of the populated county area. Everything was very quiet, the birds stopped singing, and we were in the middle of our workshops. Some of the participants noticed the smoke and started panicking that we were all going to die.
Of course, there was no way to go further deeply to the forest as it is very huge and it was getting dark soon. We could not run to the forest as the fire can approach us much faster. That was the spot without cell-phone connection, so we could not call anybody for help. The country area, although was very close visually, it was about 2 hours walk. We did not have any car or a bus as the main aim of this camp was to present some wildlife area, so the bust brought us there and was going to take us back at the end of the camp.
The smoke is approaching; the leaders are doing their workshops and looking at me occasionally for further instructions. Having analyzed this situation quickly, I refreshed the words of my grandfather: “Never panic, no matter what. Have always a clear thinking. You are the boss of yourself and of people you are with. You are responsible for keeping nature around complete and unharmed. Take every effort to do that.” Thus, I have made the decision: to safe the nature while distracting the participants from the “disaster.”
I have called the team of older men to take the water and go to fight with fire. I have asked the instructor of ball-room dancing to lead the dancing workshop. There was no way to run from the fire; the only way was to fight it.
I am very grateful to all my team who stayed calm. Special courage was demonstrated from the dance instructor. It is not easy to dance and show fun when there is a possibility that you can die as fire does not wait. They were dancing for about half an hour and that is the time for the extinguishing the fire.
The participants did not know about the details of what was going on until the end of the camp. Each of them, both females and younger boys who had to dance and older boys who were fighting the flame showed a great courage. My grandfather’s knowledge and non-panicking mood transferred to the other organizers and all of the participants.
As many of the witnesses of that event mentioned later, they would never believe that happened to anybody if they were not there. They thanked for my mood stableness and fast decision made of what to do. For many of them, that was a turning point in their life: from a house child to the life fighter both in direct and figurative sense.
What I have learnt from that lesson is that it is the greatest pleaser when you can transfer all your family upbringing to the society, safe the lives of others, and push them to be willing to explore new things and to grow further both mentally and physically. I thank my grandfather who has made our family strong, responsible and conscientious society leaders.