Tali Atsila Outdoor Skills Training – 2013
How Would You Like to Become the “Smartest Person in the World”?
A few years ago, in a Scout Week program, the men in the audience who had been Scouts at any
time in the past were asked to stand and join in the Scout Oath and Law.
If a Scout asked you to show him how to do an eye splice, could you?
I noticed a very distinguished elderly gentleman standing proudly, making great effort to keep his
arm up in a scout sign, and reciting along, loud and proud. I was surprised when I noticed him
wiping his eyes after the Oath. While at the podium, I kept making eye contact with him and noticed
his rapt attention as I recounted stories from my own years as a Scout – Jamborees, Philmont,
various outings, etc. – and I wanted to be sure to get a chance to meet this gentleman after the
Have you ever been lost in the woods, even with a compass?
He thanked me for my comments, and for seeking him out. He told me that as a scout in the 1930’s
he idolized his Scoutmaster, Mr. Davis, whom he considered to be the “smartest man in the world.”
Mr. Davis took him camping and taught him outdoor skills like hiking, tracking, cooking, signaling,
map and compass, and living in the outdoors.
Even though this gentleman had lived a long life and had been unbelievably
successful in his business career, more than 60 years later, he still thought of Mr.
Davis as the “smartest man in the world.”
What is that gritty taste in my cobbler? Is it dirt? Yuck!
If you sometimes feel unqualified or out of place as an adult leader in your Scouting position, if your
outdoor cooking, pioneering, or orienteering skills need a tune up, then you need to participate in
Whose “Smartest Person in the World” will you be?
Let’s face it, Mr. Davis probably wasn’t the smartest person in the world, but what he taught the
Scouts in his troop left lasting impressions. The Outdoor Program is the most valuable aspect of
Scouting. The Outdoor Program attracts new scouts and keeps experienced scouts in the program.