Have you ever thought about talking 8 -11 10 year old boys on their very first backpacking adventure? Give it try, introducing young men to the great oudoors through backpacking on the Appalachian Trail is one of the most rewarding things you will do.
That's what I've been doing for the last 13 Fathers Day weekends. You will be amazed at what getting the boys to step outside of their comfort zone and unplugging for a weekend will do for them. Watching them take on new adventures like backpacking 4 miles, learning to use map and compass, select a safe tenting site, purifying water, building fires, leave no trace and cook their own meals on a light weight stove is extremely rewarding. As they attempt these new skills and succeed you see the excitement they experience and watch their confidence grow.
Next time you head out try introducing a child to the joy of being outside!
I have also done this with 11 year boy scouts. We did a 4 mile hike gaining 1500 of elevation gain. It was a great hike and an amazing learning experience for the boys. Teaching boys how to cook in the outdoors as well as water purification and packing a backpack are great skills. It is absolutely wonderful to get the boys out in the winderness and appreciate the beauty of God's creations.
I have benefited from mentors taking me backpacking when I was in the Boy Scouts and I have been able to return the favor and teach others as I have gotten older. Looking back on my experience backpacking as a kid, I know it presented me with great challenges and opportunities to grow and learn. I love that you have been taking kids out for so many years and teaching them, I think that's a rare thing in our current culture so preoccupied with social media and technology. I look forward to the opportunity to take my son and his friends out into God's creation and pass on the skills I learned and watch them ask questions and learn.