Many high adventure program opportunities exist for experienced, older Varsity Scouts. High adventure is the culmination of all of the things that Boy Scouting has taught the boy: character development, citizenship, and personal fitness.
It is also the ultimate in outdoor experiences above and beyond the lower-keyed summer camp programs. Most high adventure expeditions have one or more purposes that involve several days to a week in a remote outdoor setting. Varsity Scout participants in a high adventure trip should have mastered all of the basic outdoor skills and be ready for an outing that will offer new challenges. Adequate personal preparation and conditioning is recommended for all Varsity Scouts participating in High Adventure activities.
Why should your Varsity Scout team take a High Adventure trip?
If this question must be asked, the boys in your Varsity team may not be getting everything they can out of the Scouting program. The question really should be, “Why aren’t we taking a High Adventure trip every year?”
Every program in Varsity Scouting has a goal. It is the thing to strive for, the prize for a job well done. In the outdoor portion of Varsity Scouting, that goal is the privilege of taking a Slot Canyon hike or a 50 miler wilderness trek. Maybe it might involve a week at Entrada or Beaver High Adventure Base camp. It gives a boy the opportunity to put into real-life practice all of the camping and cooking skills, first aid preparedness sessions, and all of those knots that he spent literally years learning. It is the reason for the Varsity Scout method: function as a team, or flounder separately.
Somewhere between the ages of 14 and 16, nearly all boys undergo fairly rapid transition from child to adolescent. Physical growth is the most obvious and dramatic sign of this transition. Shoulders broaden, chests expand, voices change, and clothes are outgrown.
If your district and LDS wards are losing older boys because of a lack of interest or they have other things to do, it may be that your program is only addressing the 11-13 year old age bracket. The monthly Saturday night campout gets stale after three years. Older boys need more from their Scouting program than the newer younger boys. High Adventure can help fill that need.
Our Utah National Parks Council has become a national leader for keeping boys in the Varsity Scout program focusing on three main areas:
- An emphasis on honoring the commitments made in the Aaronic Priesthood.
- An emphasis on advancement to Eagle.
- An emphasis on high adventure activities and week-long trips.