At long last, I am taking the time to put on to paper (or my blog at least) my thoughts on my recent participation in the ArrowCorps5 project at Washington & Jefferson National Forests on Virginia.
For me, AC5 has been almost 3 years in the making. I was asked by a good friend to take on a role I had no clue what I would be doing exactly. Come to find out, that was the position a lot of people were in until last summer. This happens when you are in an organization that is used to having things a certain way, and they are doing something that is completely new with a new partner (the US Forest Service).
A month before AC5 I was asked to help solidify the training program for the staff members that would be ensuring safety of participants as a part of the Conservation USA program. Along with this came the orientation of participants when they arrive to camp. This proved to be a very challenging task. Working with a close friend in Scouting, we both learned the value of teamwork and communication ... and the value of a John Deere Gator :-)
After a stressful weekend, I had the opportunity to work with the Strike Team ... a group of experienced trail builders that were charged with performing the most difficult trail building tasks throughout the week. This was a great opportunity for me to do what I have come to love in Scouting ... service.
The one thing that is not tainted for me in Scouting in some way is the opportunity to go out and do hard manual labor. This is why I love the OA High Adventure programs so much. My former OA Wilderness Voyage Forman said to me on the way to the base my first summer on staff "The OA Voyage and Trail Crew are the pinnacle of Scouting and the Order's core. They are not infested with politics, and the people who care only about what they can get themselves. They are service ... and its purist and truest." ... To me, that is also what ArrowCorps5 was intended to be.
After my week of service with 6 of what are now some of my best friends in the OA, I am proud to say that we accomplished a lot. Someone said to me "We built a lot of trails to nowhere". My response is the same as Darrell's (my director on site) ... "We have built trails that begin to take people somewhere".
Thank you all.