“ How about making HIKING your hike objective this month? In other words – have a hike for the sake of hiking! It’s about time for all of us to rediscover hiking. It is one of the best exercises known. It strengthens the lungs and heart, straightens the back, develops the muscles, makes the blood run tingling through your veins.
Thee old vikings used to eat bear meat for strength – it was tough to chew and full of red blood. Well, there’s another kind of ‘bear meat’ that’ll make you strong – an imaginary kind, the kind you ‘eat’ the last couple of miles of a twenty-mile hike, the kind you ‘chew’ when you fight your way through brambles and underbrush on an orienteering race, when you climb to the summit of a mountain.
Cook up a lot of that kind of ‘bear meat’ in the form of real hiking and serve it red-hot to your patrol as often as possible. As a patrol leader it is your responsibility to help your boys become ‘physically strong.’ Making them eat ‘bear meat’ is one of the best ways of doing it.” – William Hillcourt
We’ve talked before about how Endurance is one of the keystones of being a Scout. It’s about not giving up. It’s about getting up after you’ve been beaten down. According to William Hillcourt, it’s about eating “Bear Meat”.
Mr. Hillcourt was one of the most influential figures of the history of Scouting in America. He did more to shape to culture of what Scouting really was than almost any other American. He didn’t just preach what Scouts should be, he gave us all an example through his life-long service to the Scouting movement.
Something about the imagery he uses here captures the imagination: “Bear Meat”. It’s tough, it’s hard to digest, but it’s strengthening. I don’t know about you, but when I’m relaxed and in my comfort zone, sometimes even the simplest tasks become difficult. I procrastinate, I make excuses, I think about fun and entertaining things.
There’s nothing wrong with relaxation and fun, but let’s be honest: the reason we became involved in Scouting was because we wanted more than that. We wanted to do great things, we wanted to make a difference, we wanted to be the best we can be. That’s why Scouts should eat Bear Meat.
Push your current abilities, both physical and mental. Don’t stay down because yesterday was a bad day or last week was a terrible week. Get up and back on your feet! The trick isn’t avoiding bad falls; they will always come. The trick is getting back up. Often times it is the food that doesn’t taste good that gives you the most strength. That is what eating Bear Meat is all about!
Encourage your Troop to do something ambitious. Encourage your Patrol to test their ablities. And when the going gets tough, you know you’re doing it right. Because when taste that tough bear meat, you know that you are really Scouting!