In a few weeks time my 10 year old will be travelling to Snowdonia for a weekend of hiking, camping and being a boy.
And he’ll be doing it with a group of friends. So without me or his dad.
It’s kind of a big deal.
Sure he’s been away from home for a couple of nights on a school trip. But this is to Snowdonia. More than 120 miles away in the heart of Wales. Mountains and snow and cold and, well, lots of danger. And he’s 10.
But I’m sending him off on this crazy exciting adventure with Scouts and I couldn’t be happier. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still nervous and trepidatious. But there are way more positives than negatives here. And if you could see the smile on his face when he talks about it . . .
British adventurer, TV presenter and Chief Scout Bear Grylls is on record as saying: “I got a sense of identity and a sense of belonging from scouts. My love of the outdoors started with scouting. It was a real confidence boost for me and opened a lot of doors.” THAT is what I want for my boy. Because, in this modern world things like learning how make and safely light a fire, how to descale and cook a fish on said fire, how to chop up logs and how to have a general appreciation for the great outdoors have been lost.
On Friday night the Scout group all built their own bivouac in the woods – bracken, ferns, a couple of plastic sheets – and then spent the night in it. How cool is that? What an amazing thing to do when you’re 10.
It poured with rain and his sleeping bag is proving impossible to get clean, but these are small issues.
Dan had an amazing experience.
In the words of Bear again: “As a young boy, scouting gave me a confidence and camaraderie that is hard to find in modern life. Kids in the UK need a sense of belonging and community more than ever. I’m proud to be the chief Scout in the world’s greatest youth movement. It is the biggest privilege I have ever had – more than [serving in] the SAS or [climbing] Everest”.
And those are the words I will remember as I drop him off with his sleeping bag, his walking boots and his waterproofs on his Big Adventure.