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Slow-Motion Hikers Ideas from the field: Step-by-step motivation.

On the regular hikes taken by Scouter S.G.’s troop, a couple of boys have trouble keeping up. He asked for tips on helping these boys without discouraging them or hurting their feelings.

TAKE IN THE VIEW As one of the adults who bring up the rear, I spot things and point them out to those boys who are closest to me—usually it’s sights such as animal tracks, flowers, or bugs. Often we find that the “speed demons” at the front of the group regret missing the chance to see something really cool. With time, the slower kids will get fitter and be part of the main group.

Venturing Leader M.McG. ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA.


A couple of fathers in our pack are Eagle Scouts. They are more than willing to help out at troop events—they also have boys in the troop—but leave it to their wives to do pack things. I am also an Eagle Scout, and I am trying to figure out why they feel this way and how to bring

them around. Cubmaster S.C. RED BUD, ILL.

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TOO SLOW OR TOO FAST? You may have the problem backward. Your main group isn’t staying with its troop- mates. The first rule of hiking with a group is that the group is only as fast as its slowest member. Have the senior patrol leader assign one of the stronger hikers as sweeper and another as front man. If the sweeper can’t see the front of the group, it’s his job to communicate to the front to slow down or stop. No one is allowed to go in front of the assigned front man. Our introduction-to- backpacking hike each year is purposely chosen to seem hard but be fairly short. Most years, one or two younger Scouts are very slow on the first few switchbacks. The older boys encourage them and often offer to take some of their gear. It is a teach-

ing moment, both for the younger and older Scouts.

Assistant Scoutmaster C.D. POWAY, CALIF.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER If these boys can’t keep up because they are smaller or less fit, they should have their own appropriate hike. Trying to hold back the older Scouts makes everyone unhappy. Our troop sometimes plans two hikes (each with adequate adult leadership)—one more challenging and the other easier—often intersecting for a night’s camping together.

Scoutmaster S.G. GILBERTSVILLE, N.Y.

DIG DEEPER See if there is a root issue. Is the slow Scout’s pack too heavy? Hot spots on his feet? Is he being distracted by nature and too busy trying to look at everything? Is he hungry or thirsty?


IF THE SHOE DOESN’T FIT If they are new to hiking and are having trouble keeping up with the troop, it’s probably a product of con-

ditioning or possibly just bad footwear. I have found that most Scouts will not admit to having trouble with their footwear. Keep an eye on their gait. If they are walking oddly, they may be having this trouble. Discuss the importance of proper shoes and where to find them before your next hike.

Assistant Scoutmaster B.R.K. SHOEMAKERSVILLE, PA.

TAKE TURNS We have had the same situa- tion in our troop. We decided to start rotating the boys from back to front about every 15 minutes. We found that when we put the slow person in front, his attitude changed, and he became excited. The whole troop started to move faster. Ever since we started that, we have never had a problem with boys staying up with the group.


START SMALL We start out with short hikes just for the newcomers, usually two or three hikes of five miles or less. During the


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