Honor reveals itself in the margins.
We played two full games of Spider’s Web in a secluded area of Galbraith Mountain on Saturday. For those of you not familiar with the game, a few rules:
* The course has a “food source” (bandana) at one end and a “web” (tree or bush marked with, wait for it, a bandana) at the other,
* There is a Spider and the rest of the boys and mentors are Flies,
* The flies attempt to secure the food source and return it to the web (I know - doesn’t make sense - but it works) without being spied and called out by the spider,
* The spider wins by sending all flies to the web at the same time and before the food source is brought to it,
Preparation for the game involves reviewing the rules. Sometimes we adjust them. For instance, there might be two spiders. We usually decide on “no-go zones” for the spider to prevent “puppy-guarding” the food source or web. In this case, the restriction was set at 10 feet.
For the flies, the game is often about stealth. A good course will have sufficient foliage (sword ferns work great) for cover. Speed is often penalized as the spider’s eye is drawn to the movement and the fly sent to the web. Kinda like real life in nature, no?
Strategy is more the name of the game for the spider. Do I roam or stay hidden to surprise flies? Guard the food source or focus on keeping the flies on the web once they’ve been called out?
Our second game ended in conflict. The flies accused the spider of hanging around too close to the web, which prevented the flies from returning the food source without being called out. The spider replied that he went no closer than the invisible 10’ “bubble” stipulated when we started playing. Cue the margin!
Misunderstandings happen often in life. Communication between people is subject to interpretation. That’s why we have courts, and mediators, and contracts, and, unfortunately, bad feelings. At Explorer’s Club, we believe behaving with honor is a critical characteristic of an virtuous man, so we use these situations to work with your boys on constructive ways to handle conflict. In this case, with the help of our two Explorers Club Apprentices (EMAs), 5 minutes of conversation yielded a further clarification of the 10’ rule. Specifically, that limit applies when the spider is moving through the area. If he chooses to station himself to spy flies, the limit is “like, 30 feet”. Once that was worked out, hard feelings dissolved and we moved on. The Raccoon Kits handled themselves with honor in this particular margin. Take a moment to recognize that with your explorer.
The Raccoon Kits did more than resolve conflict on Saturday. They stress-tested several mountain bike jumps by running them!; they explored a very cool cave discovered by a few flies as they were sneaking through the underbrush in pursuit of the food source; they paused to commune with nature by sitting alone and silent for 10 minutes in an Explorer’s Club tradition called the sit spot.
Note: The boys did themselves proud with the way they focused their attention and energy during our opening, closing and conflict resolution meetings. We also work through decisions at trail junctions and other points when a decision is required. They have improved in this area noticeably since the fall.
Finally, they considered that after several seasons of EC outings, the name Raccoon Kits (raccoon babies) might not fit any more. We began a conversation about a new name for the group. The name doesn’t need to involve raccoons, although that would make sense. Ideally, it will come from an experience the group had on an outing. (Example; the Daredevils Club got their name after a rough encounter with Devil’s Club.) It needs to be appropriate and to pertain to the land and the exploration thereof. A few interesting ideas were put forth on Saturday; the mentors asked the boys to think on it some more. That’s something else you can ask your explorer about. We’ll revisit in the fall.
Check here for the complete set of photos.
That wraps up the Raccoon Kits' schedule for the spring. Thank you for sharing your explorer with us this wonderful season of rebirth. I appreciate the energy and humor your boys bring to Explorers Club.
Watch for information on registration for the fall. And consider a summer camp, if your explorer isn't already registered. The long, slow, warm summer days provide an excellent environment for nature connection!