Back to (Scouter) school

Spending the day at University of Scouting, taking five classes and teaching one.

The one thing most people don’t realize about scouting is how much we invest in training, training ourselves and others. Starting with Youth Protection Training all the way to the pinnacle, Wood Badge, for every hour I spend leading my troop, I spend an hour training, being trained, or preparing to train. This is all in addition to the time spent planning, fundraising, and preparing for activities.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. If we are to provide our youth with the development and guidance they and their families expect com this program, every leader needs to be a student.

The Scouter’s New Friend

I still prefer my iPad mini as a Kindle reader, but this little thing goes where I have to travel light and use little power. Like campouts. Which is why I bought it.

That said, I’ve found another advantage: minimum-distraction reading. I power through more reading on this, as with my iPad I am constantly taking detours into maps, Wikipedia, etc. With the Paperwhite, it’s all about the text, and I zoom through.

Last Saturday, reading intermittently as I followed my wife around Westfield UTC, I shot through a full fifth of Max Hasting’s superb Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-1945. Next up: a book on Agile project management, then about a dozen articles and essays. That should cover me through the weekend.

Sabbatical Reading: Train Training

Two things I have learned about traveling by train: a) passenger rail is different in every country; and b) traveling comfortably on a train is an art form.

I have never taken an overnight trip on Amtrak, but I have five nights entrained in the coming month, so I want to hack this ahead of time.

Jim Loomis is THE man when it comes to North American rail travel, and this quick but very thorough read was an immeasurable help in me getting ready for my train-ing.

The Great Dune from Above

We hiked up the Outlook Trail to find ourselves perched on a rise between the canyon and the sea, looking down upon the big sand dune that hugs the hillside above Pacific Coast Highway at Thornhill Broome Beach.

I have climbed the dune often and have passed it more than a hundred times, but I have never seen it from this vantage. From here the dune is no longer dominant: you see it in context, a beach blown uphill at a point in the coast that is exposed to the prevailing northwesterly onshore wind. From here south Point Conception no longer blocks those winds, but only here does the rock face cup just enough to capture the sand and spray.

The view reminds me of my desire to study both geography and geology when I return to the classroom a few years hence. My travels and a lifetime studying politics and commerce have left me more curious than ever about the planet upon which we play out our temporal dramas.