Scouts nook

by Csaba Orban, translated by Elizabeth Jakab

# 1 The scout is straightforward and always tells the truth!

We are launching a new series of articles today which will reflect on the essence of our movement and will make the ten rules of the Hungarian scout movement more accessible to those who are not well acquainted with it but would like to know more.

Even at the beginning of the last century, at the inception of the movement there was this need and vision of generating a moral codex for youth that is easily accepted by them and can be integrated into their lives without forcing it on them. This new codex of rules is now easily understood and accepted by most young people, since they notice very soon how it benefits them, their friends and even all humanity.

The rules were quickly generated, then went through some modifications over time. Today a lot nations or even organizations within one nation may have different codes of conduct, but the differences are mostly about form or the number of rules. The essence is universal and still the same: to raise a generation that is better and more caring than the one before.

The rules for Hungarian scouts (not cub scouts) are condensed into ten points. They show some similarities with the commandments given to Moses, the main difference being that the scout rules don’t command, but show the way

Let’s see the first rule: The scout is straightforward and always tells the truth!

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Now you might expect that I’ll present an uplifting and morally superior example to explain why this rule has been put in place and why it is useful. 

But I won’t do that. This rule, in its simplicity, is easy to understand and not prone to misinterpretations. 

Instead, I’ll recount in an honest and straightforward manner the story of our sleighing on the Association’s Cle Elum property.

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Last summer we started the planning for the 2021-22 scout year in 104 degree heat. Although we know that the winter in Washington is rainy, cold and can even bring snow, still it is nearly impossible to guess what day will be appropriate for what kind of activities – for instance sledding. During the planning we thought about when there may possibly be snow, but had also to consider the situation if there is a lot of snow, danger of avalanches, road closures or the Covid pandemic may become even more problematic..

We had to complete the planning with these questions and uncertainties. First we penned into the calendar the days when we’ll have activities, then we noted the mandatory holidays and celebrations, finally we looked at how many days are left for seasonal adventures for winter, spring and summer. this is how we came up with a day of sledding and another for snowy outing for January 22 and February 5.

Time flew by. We followed the schedule and after Christmas we started to watch the weather patterns and reports. The weather did not seem collaborate. There was rain, cold, ice and snow on the Western side of Washington; record snowfall, closed roads and passes in the mountains. The Omicron variant of Covid was fully on. We have an acquaintance who had all three vaccines and still got sick with the virus twice.

By mid-January the situation seemed to normalize. The snowfall stopped, the roads were cleared, the passes were reopened and the news about the virus were better, stating that even those who become infected will not likely to be so severely ill as those who were struck the previous virus versions. We were looking forward anxiously to the day.

A few days before the event we arranged to have the six feet of snow that was piled up at the entry of our property and parking space for ten cars cleared. Our worries were still not fully over even on the day of the outing.

We left Seattle behind in dense fog, but the mountains were already sparkling in beautiful sunshine. Dear reader, if you haven’t visited the Snoqualmie pass during winter I warmly recommend a visit in the future.

The road was dry and safe. The snowy peaks and snow covered trees on them were rising regally above mere humans and their achievements. It was a wonderful sight!

After an hour of driving we exited the freeway toward Cle Elum full of excitement and expectations. 500 more meters and we’ll be able to turn into the parking lot of the property. The snow was piled higher than the windows of the car. Even at the gate we had to climb on the top of about three feet of snow, despite a good portion of the snow already melting during the past few warm days. We stepped on the untouched snow and started out in the direction of the scout hut located approximately 100 meters farther. One step, two steps and we slipped down mid-thigh into the soft snow. It was interesting the first time, but we soon discovered that this is very tiresome and we can’t progress well. We changed our approach, and since we didn’t have snowshoes we took small steps to break down the snow and make a path. Twice to the hut and twice back. Each time the progress was easier, but we still got quite hot from the unusual physical activity. Before we could finish the path, other families showed up. One car arrived after another and our small parking lot was full soon. Twenty-two of us showed up for the event.

The younger kids had lots of fun walking to the hut, then sleighing down to the bottom of the hill. They did not stop long at the bottom, but hurried back up to be able to complete a lot of runs during the outing. Time passed fast until one of the scout leaders presented the cookies and hot chocolate that she prepared. It was time for a short break.

We found out during this break that, despite the rush of the sledding, our scouts observed a lot of beautiful things. One of them noticed that the bird food that was set out in the fall was gone – the birdies ate it. Another kid noticed that multiple tree branches broke under the weight of the snow. A few of them admired the icicles that sparkled like crystals in the sun.

After the break one of the scouts wandered off in the untouched snow and started to dig. Soon one of the younger kids followed to ask what is going on. I’m making a snow shed – came the answer. By the time the younger kid could volunteer to help others joined them, too, and they all worked together on the “building”. Time flies when there is harmony, collaboration and fun. The work itself was the fun. The good work was followed by a good lunch – everyone took out the sandwiches from their backpacks and there was a large thermal container of hot tea.

While munching on the lunch, one of the younger kids remarked: “This scout outing is so great!”

I took a look at the kid and didn’t say a word, but felt like his statement completely covered the first rule of scouting: 

The scout is straightforward and always tells the truth!

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