United States

Certified outdoor fun courtesy of RSMs Pursue Your Passion program


By: Alissa Hatch, Tax Manager – RSM US LLP, San Antonio

Alissa Hatch is one of RSM’s 2019 Pursue Your Passion winners. Through the program, nine RSM employees are selected each year to pursue one of their personal passions, and each winner receives $10,000 and nine paid days off to make their dream come true. You can read Alissa’s winning submission here, and her update story below. 

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I applied to RSM’s Pursue Your Passion program. After re-reading my original essay, it’s amazing how far I’ve come with another year of Scout experience. I now have a better understanding of the many levels to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) programs, further enhancing my passion for the overall program, and creating a desire to be more involved in the program beyond my unit.

My roadmap for the past year included BSA trainings and experiences for myself and other leaders: Wood Badge, BALOO (Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation), CPR/AED, First Aid, Wilderness Remote First Aid, national training at the Philmont Training Center (PTC), additional Scouting experiences such as the PTC Family Adventure Camp and local camps.

CPR/AED was the first course three of us attended. It’s been years since I’ve taken a CPR course. I was shocked at just how much has changed, such as the number of chest compressions to rescue breaths, and how hands-only CPR is also effective. Most surprising is the recognition that common heart attack symptoms in woman can be rapid onset of flu-like symptoms, minus the fever. I learned that an AED (automated external defibrillator) isn’t scary, and all you have to know is to turn it on; it walks you through every step after that.

I was surprised at how many times this past summer my new skills provided useful. Attending day camp with six Scouts from my unit, I noticed day one we had a Scout who just didn’t look right. After monitoring him and asking questions, we went to the first-aid area. Being out in the south Texas heat in the middle of July, it was no surprise he was dehydrated. Day two, another Scout was dehydrated with cramps as the symptom. I also used my knowledge when my son fell and fractured his elbow, and in several other instances.

BSA requires that one Cub Scout adult leader be BALOO-certified to have a pack campout. While the course does focus on important aspects such as the weather, health forms, and first aid, it also teaches the leaders how to put on the best camp out program they can. We even sang songs and performed skits during our training. Two of us are now certified, with another three interested.

During the training, we realized that, as much as we had previously enhanced our Pack camping experiences, we were still doing it wrong. We learned about creating a theme for the campout, how to cook easy meals but in large quantities, and how to plan the campfire program so that both the fire and the activities correlate in building up and winding down.

Two weeks ago, we had a pack campout. The theme: Cub Scout Investigators. The camp coordinator had this whole story about how an animal came into our camp and stole our s’mores marshmallows! We went on a hike to discover which animal took them. She had placed signs with animal tracks, and gvien clues to the Scouts to identify the animals. Once we determined the raccoon was the culprit, we had to figure out where a raccoon lives while learning about other natural habitats and the animals that live in them. In the end, we “found’ our marshmallows in the hole in the tree where the raccoon lives.

Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, NM, is one of four high adventure Scout bases in the US. This summer was the second year it offered a Family Adventure Camp, allowing families with Cub Scouts to attend for a much dialed-back and more age-appropriate program. We are grateful we had the opportunity for our key-3 leadership team to attend the Family Adventure Camp with all of our kids. It was a glimpse into yet another depth of the Scouting world that we would not have exposure to at our local level. We were able to do day hikes, the usual shooting sports, jewelry making with copper, and fishing. It has increased our desire to go back for high-adventure activities once our kids are old enough, and personally, I want to hike the Tooth of Time.

I participated in some trainings/experiences on my own, others with leaders, and some with my family. These courses have allowed me to be better prepared for outdoor activities with our Pack, and better prepared for when my son crosses over into Scouts BSA in two months. Philmont provided a great bonding experience for the families of the key-3 leaders.

My husband is actively involved in Scouts too, but just in our unit. Allowing him to experience Philmont and the day camps has encouraged him to become more involved in the overall program, as well. He is actively working to get certified as an archery instructor and range safety officer for local camps and events, helping to ensure our Council has enough certified volunteers. My next goals are to also get certified as a range safety officer and a camp master.