I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend at a scout camp with one of my sons. Although neither of us knew what to expect, we were both excited — my six-year-old, because it was his first camp out; and me, because I was returning to a place where I’d been some 25 years earlier.

The ride seemed shorter than it used to be, but was just long enough to go over a few ground rules and talk about the ensuing adventure. Our conversation stopped as we pulled into camp, and I watched my son gaze upon the wooden arch marking the entrance. He then focused on a series of posts lining the main road, which collectively displayed the scout law. These were the same sights I took in almost a quarter century ago, looking through the window of my father’s ‘66 Chevy.

Further into the reservation things weren’t as familiar. The trees that once crowded the road now stood back about ten yards. And large clearings displaced what had been acres of dense vegetation.

I was somewhat disappointed until I looked at a map and figured out what happened. The “wilderness camp” had been cleared and drained to make way for Cub World; incidentally, our destination. As we rolled into the parking lot, I began to recall how the area was little more than a breeding ground for mosquitoes where few scouts actually camped. Now it was a friendlier environment where little guys like my son could get their first taste of the outdoors.

Throughout the weekend we explored the rest of the camp, making many other such discoveries. The lake by the site where I stayed as a kid, for example, had been a center of activity where scouts honed their aquatic skills and performed each week for visiting parents. Now the lake is desolate. Gone are the boats, docks, and crowds, and in their place is a bumper crop of cat tails, sea weed, and wildlife. Water activities now take place on two other lakes, one of which is fed by runoff from Cub World, and a great place to fish.

At dinner that evening, I asked one of the camp directors about the changes. He explained how the reservation is constantly evolving as the directors try to get more out of each acre of land. Times are changing, he said, and scouting must change as well. Not long ago, scouting was just about the only thing on the block. Now it competes with all sorts of activities, and must offer more than ever to capture the interest of today’s youth.

My son and I departed the next morning, tired but content. No sooner than we got on the freeway, he was asleep and I was reprogramming for everyday life. I began to think about the things I had to do at home, and the new job I’d be starting as editor of Power Transmission Design.

Our industry, like everything else, is constantly evolving. In just the last 10 years, you and I have witnessed incredible changes, and more loom on the horizon. As editor of this magazine, one of my goals is to help readers stay ahead of the game, so they can anticipate change if not guide it. I’ll also work to get the most out of each page, making sure Power Transmission Design remains the most fertile learning environment for motion system engineers.

— Larry Berardinis
LBerardinis@penton.com