Luke S. was a Webelos Scout when he tried to build his first campfire. He diligently followed each step he had learned.
The process was frustrating at first. Luke says he struck that flint “50 times until my hands were numb.”
But Luke had learned in Cub Scouting to try his best. He learned to keep going, even if things get tough. Eventually, he conjured a spark that ignited a flame. That flame yielded delicious s’mores and welcome warmth on a chilly September evening.
The fire also sparked within Luke a Scouting spirit that still burns today.
Luke is now 14 years old, a Life Scout and the senior patrol leader of Troop 874 of the Baltimore Area Council. He recently wrote a few words about his Scouting experience so far.
“Little did I know this fire would be my guiding light to where I am today,” he writes.
Here’s Luke’s essay, which his mom, Jennifer passed along to me.
The Fire Within
By Luke S.
It was the fire that started everything. It was a chilly September evening, and I was determined to build my first campfire. I put a plan together and followed all the steps that my grandpa, dad and leaders thoughtfully taught and demonstrated to me so many times before.
I gathered the kindling, tinder and log fuel and placed them in piles. Next, I carefully pulled apart a natural fiber rope that I found earlier that day and made it look like a bird nest. Then, I arranged logs around where the bird nest fire starter would eventually be placed. I set the logs in the fire ring with a point in the center, forming a tepee structure. The tepee structure would provide the fuel to catch a small flame from the nest.
When I was satisfied with my nest and tepee structures, I finally tried my new flint and steel to make a spark to ignite the nest. I tried and tried until I got a spark. I must have struck that flint 50 times until my hands were numb and my knees were cramping from kneeling. Just as I was about to give up, a small, yet bright ember appeared in the center of the bird nest.
I carefully put toothpick-sized twigs on top of the embers as they charred the surrounding fibers. Eventually, the fire grew within the nest and I placed it into the base of the tepee. The flames licked the sides and bottom of the larger pieces of wood and eventually caught the whole tepee of wood on fire.
The fire roared with orange flames three feet high. I felt so proud because I was able to build and light a fire to provide for my camp. We used that fire to roast marshmallows and provide light for the evening entertainment. Little did I know this fire would be my guiding light to where I am today.
I realized that with proper planning, patience, organization and perseverance, I could tackle and succeed at challenges that come my way.
Working hard to build and successfully light that fire gave me confidence and made me feel really proud and accomplished. I knew that night I wanted to be a Boy Scout and would set a goal to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
I use the principles of the Scout Law, such as being reverent, trustworthy and loyal as a path to build my character and help me achieve my goals.
Scouting has opened up many opportunities for me to gain leadership roles, experience exciting outdoor adventures, build lasting friendships and volunteer in new areas.
The same lessons I learned building my first fire on that cold, dark night gave me the building blocks to pave the way for me to be successful in Scouts, school and other areas of my life.
Tell your fire-building story
Do you remember building your first campfire? Please enlighten us by sharing your story in the comments.