Thursday, December 28, 2017

Our Newest Endeavor: Creating Our Own Nature Scouts!

             Hey folks! You may have noticed we like to stay busy. There is always something to do or some project around here. A lot of times it seems like it is some big outdoor project, like building a rabbit hutch or expanding the fencing area on an animal enclosure. We do work on other things too. (I guess those big projects just seem more interesting to write about.)
             Right now the main things on my plate (when I have time) are making Christmas cards for retirement home residents (which I talked about last week), making ornaments to give my aunts and other extended family members for Christmas, and working on a beginner's guide to chickens. (I've been trying to work on one of my “just for fun” fictional stories too, but keep getting writer's block. Ugh!) Naturally, we picked the worst time of year to come up with it, but we also have plans on starting something fun for Myka: nature scouts!
             So, what would our nature scouts entail? Lots of fun (I hope) learning about different aspects of the outdoors!

-Tree, bird, animal track, and plant identification
-Nature/green crafts
-How to fish
-How to build a fire
-Nature hikes (with a theme, such as discovering creek critters, wild edible identification, survival skills, etc.)
-Hiking safety
-Camping trips
-Field trips to local parks/nature areas
-Water safety
-How to use basic tools
-Outdoor projects (such as building bird houses, making walking sticks, etc.)
-And more!

             Sounds fun, right?! (Or is it just me?) Our nature scouts group will be inclusive, non-religiously affiliated, and open to both boys AND girls of all ages (probably starting at 3 years old). While many scout groups seem to only have a certain uniform for special events, I am doing away with one altogether because I feel like that's just another superfluous cost for the parents. HOWEVER, while I'm all about free play as well, I also believe it's important and beneficial for children to have goals to work towards (see Myka's state park patch program endeavor HERE), so we WILL be earning badges as well. I've even looked into websites with low-cost patches already and am very excited about this aspect! I haven't decided yet, but, instead of having the traditional vest or sash to display earned badges, I may let them choose whatever item they would like to feature them on. (For example, a backpack instead.)
             Now that we have talked about the “what” of nature scouts, perhaps more importantly, let's talk about the “why”. We have several reasons...

*First of all, Myka is still too young for Girl Scouts. After seeing how into completing one of the state park patch programs she was, I feel like that shouldn't stop her from being in some sort of scout group.

*Although I'm not sure exactly how it works, but, from what I have gathered from a friend, your child joins whatever group covers your local school district. And, while the group that said friend's daughter is in sounds like they do tons of fun stuff, they live in the next big town over. We live near a little podunk town and I'm scared to death it would be mostly “Susie Homemaker” type projects. I can (and do) teach Myka how to do that stuff at home (like cook).

*Myka is really into nature, so why not make that the focus of the group?

*While there is another, similar group, in Bloomington (what I refer to as the “next big town over”), they are currently not meeting up because of lack of parent volunteers. I guess they only supposedly need one more, so it seems like a pretty lame excuse not to meet up to me.

*I wanted something that included the best of both worlds for Myka: Earning patches like in regular scouts, but getting to do nature things anywhere instead of strictly state parks, like the program mentioned previously. (Not that she didn't enjoy that too.)

*I really feel having a mixed age group of both genders of children is beneficial to everyone. Younger kids can learn by example from older children and older kids can learn to be patient and help out with younger kids. Everyone learns from each other!

*Having a religious-free environment is really important to me too. There are plenty of organizations that are religiously-affiliated. But, quite frankly, I don't see what that has to do with anything as far as scouts go...Unless they are learning about God and whatnot to earn badges. I don't know. I'm not saying we will only accept agnostics and/or atheists to the group because, well, that's just as biased and we are neither of those. We will accept anyone so long as they don't try to push their own beliefs on the rest of the group. That's not ok. We're here to learn about nature, not world religions.

*When it comes to some of the areas we will cover, I will actually be learning alongside the kids! (Or at least somewhat in advance to help with the lessons. ;) )

*Quite frankly, I'm already tired of having to drive at least a half an hour in either direction to go do fun stuff with the kids. It's about time we have people come to us, methinks. That being said, even if we have NO ONE else join our “group”, we still totally intend on doing this for Myka and our other kids when they get older. But, you know the old saying: The more the merrier!

What do you think? Are we totally nuts, or does this sound like a great idea? Would you and your kids join something like this?
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party


  1. This is such a good idea. Our boys scout is just 5 mins walk up the road, but we can't get Ethan in as it is over subscribed! There is a huge waiting list. I can't believe it! Your list has inspired my to take outdoor activities a little more serious! We are too many hours indoor already! lol! Thank you very much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost

    1. What?! That is crazy! You would think someone else would just take the initiative to start another group close by.

      I hear ya. My kids are already driving me nuts from being indoors so much. Naturally, I made sure I had snow gear for both of them so we could still get outside when it is cold...But it has been TOO cold. It's been between -10 and -20C here for the past several weeks!

  2. oh it sounds like it's going to be epic!! We spent a freezing hour in the park today. Could have really done with a campfire. We would totally join your group if we lived close :) Here's to a fabulous 2018!

    Thanks for sharing with us and

    1. I hear ya! The weather has been too cold for us to get out much lately. :( I hate it! Snow is one thing, but below freezing temperatures are another!

  3. I think it sounds like a wonderful idea! My kids really enjoy spending time in nature and learning about it.

    1. Mine too. There are so many more things you can learn from spending time in nature than I think most people realize!