Folks — This was written in response to the post a few down from here, about a Girl Scout troop where the girls are making s’mores with marshmallow fluff instead of toasted marshmallows, presumably so no one gets hurt. One of the big-time tenets of Free-Range Kids is that kids are safer than our culture gives them credit for. In fact, the more responsibility we give them, the SAFER they become because they’re more resourceful and prepared! Here’s what they are capable of, when we train and trust them. – L
Dear Free-Range Kids: Please…. here are some of the very cool things I did in Girl Scouts and at Girl Scout Camp. Cooked all of my meals, for two weeks, over an open fire; learned to rock climb; canoed down a portion of the Colorado River; backpacked up a mountain and back down again; went on a survival weekend with no packed food; cooked drop donuts, in boiling oil, over a coffee can stove; spent a week at the beach, swimming in the big waves; water skied; sledded; camped in the snow; lashed bamboo poles together to make a camp sink and countertop; learned to whittle with a pocketknife in second grade; ate some rattlesnake in fourth grade (THAT was an unexpected one!); washed my own dishes; planned and prepared meals for the whole group; ran a Christmas party for kids in our city; edited a troop newspaper in 5th grade; sewed stuff, roasted a whole turkey in a pit that we dug in the ground; had a clam roast at the beach; sang a ton of songs, created a bunch of crafts, gave away a bunch of beaded
friendship bracelets, and received a bunch too; made messes and cleaned them up. Used an axe to chop kindling. Learned how to build, light, and put out a fire. Slept in tents and under stars. Got in trouble for playing mumbleypegs (knife throwing at a target on the ground). And, whenever possible, toasted lots of marshmallows, sandwiched them with Hershey bars and graham crackers and ate until I was stuffed.
And THAT is what made Scouts fun! (And was a big part of making ME fun too!) – Margo N.