The years weren’t getting shorter, but Ginger Fearey’s children seemed to be growing up faster and faster.
Thankfully, the adult volunteer from Grapevine, Texas, found one place where time seemed to slow down.
Whenever she went hiking with her son and Troop 7 — in postcard-perfect places like Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming and beyond — she noticed that their relationship deepened and lasting memories formed. Screens went dark as real conversations shined through.
“We discussed geology, astronomy and the environment, along with Marvel comics, memes and political discourse,” she says. “We went to bed with the disappearing sun, we studied stars and we lived in a world without television, the internet or mirrors. Time passed as if in a vacuum.”
Her son, Kieran, is in college now, meaning Ginger returns to those memories often. Like the time she treated Kieran’s blisters. Or the time a porcupine ate Scoutmaster Wheeler’s hat. Or the time hiking near the Maroon Bells in Colorado when Kieran turned to Ginger, unprompted, and said: “Mom, have you ever felt like you were walking in a painting?”
But Ginger isn’t simply reliving memories about her Eagle Scout son. She’s forming new ones — this time with her daughter, Michaela.
Same trails, new experiences
With Troop 700, a Scouts BSA troop for girls based in the same city of Grapevine, Ginger gets to hike some of the same trails she traveled with Kieran and Troop 7.
It’s become a much-anticipated Scouting sequel. Ginger never dreamed she’d get to have these kinds of Scouting experiences with Michaela, but she’s thankful that the BSA opened all of its programs to young women like her daughter.
Over the summer, Ginger, Michaela and other members of Troop 700 “rocked all 25 miles” of a hike through the Gros Ventre Wilderness, part of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.
“Girls are socialized to sit on the sidelines,” Ginger says. “Scouts BSA is getting them off the bench.”
Now that her daughter’s in the starting lineup, Ginger has seen Michaela build leadership skills, resiliency and the ability to work in a team. Michaela just joined the BSA this year, but already she can tie 10 different knots, start a fire with flint and steel, and tell her friends that she’s seen real, live mountain goats.
‘Room for introspection’
Ginger traveled through some of the same beautiful backcountry with Kieran and then Michaela. With both children, she enjoyed conversations parents simply don’t have on the couch with remote in hand.
“Scouts BSA has provided me with new lanes to communicate with both of my children,” Ginger says. “We discuss practical things like science, first aid and preparedness. We laugh spontaneously.
“And when it’s least expected, my son mentions his interest in gardening, and my daughter shares her desire to travel across continents. In the backcountry, there is room for introspection, for dreaming and outside-the-box thinking.”
The chance to form lifelong memories is enough to make any Scouting adventure worthwhile.
But Ginger has noticed myriad other benefits from these excursions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of them are rooted in the Scout Law:
Helpful: Ginger’s son offered to carry extra gear when one Scout was hit with a bout of altitude sickness.
Loyal: Ginger’s daughter reached across a frigid river to ensure that her troopmates made it across safely.
Brave: Both of Ginger’s kids traversed territory unknown to them and traveled through areas where wild animal sightings are common.
Clean: “We won’t discuss cleanliness,” Ginger says. “It’s irrelevant in the backcountry.”
We can’t forget the Scout Motto, as well. You only need one encounter with unexpected July snow, hail or heavy rain to remember to pack the proper gear on every future trip.
“These are lessons which our kids need for their lives,” Ginger says. “Prepare for the unexpected, adjust as necessary, practice safety and take care of the troop.“
Share your story
Have you been able to enjoy the magic of Scouting with two or more of your children? Please tell us about those “Scouting sequels” in the comments below.