submitted by Nicole Lorsong
Hello, my name is Nicole and I am one of the founding leaders of Navigators USA Chapter 58. This year, 2014-2015, I will be leading the Stargazers and Juniors clusters, and am looking forward to a fun and informative year!
I didn’t grow up in the scouts. In fact, aside from a year in Brownies in 1st grade, I don’t have any scouting experience at all. I did, however, grow up playing outside. I was lucky enough to have a big backyard with a woods and a stream, where I could dig holes, build forts, and look for animal prints. In the summer my mom would garden while my brother and I rode bikes and swam. Though we didn’t have a farm, my parents let me keep chickens and a pot bellied pig as pets, and my friend down the street had horses we could ride. We spent a lot of time pretending to be part of a local native tribe, riding bareback, constructing stick and grass huts, and making pots from clay we got from the stream. My parents have always been into projects and do-it-yourself, and I watched them build buildings, start and run a business, fix cars, direct school plays, cook, sew, and more.
Not long after I had my own kids, I realized that my childhood was fairly unique. Living outside Baltimore City with two small children, I didn’t have the wooded backyard for them to play in, a safe street for them to ride their bikes, and aside from feral cats there were no animals around to look at. At first I despaired at what I considered my own failings as a parent. To me, childhood was nature. I worried that without the same exposure to the great outdoors that I had, my kids wouldn’t feel the same connection to the Earth, and would therefore be less likely to care about protecting it and its fellow inhabitants. I also worried that without the time, space, and talent for many of the projects I watched my parents complete, those skills would be lost both to me and to my children.
Looking around, I saw that my situation was hardly my own failing, but the standard for most families. Most children don’t have unrestricted access to large areas of safe open space. Many adults don’t have the time, space, talent, or family support for maintaining the do-it-yourself skills of their parents and grandparents. If my kids were going to be able to climb trees, see food growing, splash in streams – do the things I felt were needed for a connection to nature and the planet – I was going to have to work a little harder to bring them to those opportunities. To re-develop and preserve skills would take some branching out to the greater community. It was not a failing, just a different way.
Currently, I am a homeschooling mother to two navigators scouts. I have a small backyard vegetable garden and a strong interest in urban homesteading and self-sufficiency. I love to hike, paint, bake, and start any project I can get my hands on. In the past I have started and a run successful home business making and selling my own cold process soaps and men’s grooming products. I am a certified Iyengar yoga instructor, though I’m just now trying to get back into practice after the better part of 12 years off.
My desire to be a Navigators USA leader is to help other children connect with nature and their planet, and to build an inclusive community that supports and values developing the minds and skills of its youth. Teaching the next generation to work together, to value themselves and each other, and to be accepting, welcoming, tolerant, and compassionate is of major importance to me. I see being a part of Navigators USA as an opportunity to come together and support each other as a community that grows stronger individuals. As the Navigators Slogan says, “The more you give, the more you get.” Through my family’s short time in Navigators, we have been able to get dirty making compost, haul sticks in a yard clean up day, run along a secluded beach chasing crabs, search the forest underbrush for frogs on a nature hike, and bake cookies for a homeless shelter, all while making new friends and learning from and with each other.
I appreciate the points of the Navigator’s Moral Compass – “As a Navigator I promise to do my best to create a world free of prejudice and ignorance. To treat people of every race, creed, lifestyle and ability with dignity and respect. To strengthen my body and improve my mind to reach my full potential. To protect our planet and preserve our freedom.” – and am excited to be a part of this growing organization.
I am very thankful to the UUFP for sponsoring our chapter, and especially for selecting us as a Share the Basket Partner this year. This contribution will go a long way to making sure our program is able to stay active and running, to pay for national dues and insurance, help us participate in a wider array of activities, and ensure that we are able to truly include everyone, regardless of their financial situation.
Chapter 58 will be hosting an Informational Meeting and Open House on Wednesday, August 20th at 7pm in the office building. All are welcome to attend! For more information I can be emailed at Chapter58@NavigatorsUSA.org.