Army major helps scouts become 'rock stars' on climbing wall
July 31, 2010
FORT A.P. HILL, Va. - The line to enter the rock climbing wall station in the Southern Region of the Boy Scouts of America's 2010 National Scout Jamboree extended far beyond the shade of the temper tent, eager Scouts anxious to scale the wall before them.
At the base of the structure stood a tall man, adorned with sunglasses and a BSA T-shirt, pointing skyward and offering stern but helpful advice to novice climbers.
"Use that footing to your left and push yourself up!," the man called out to a Scout ascending the craggy facade. "That's it! You've got it!"
The motivating force behind these Scouts is U.S. Army Maj. David Little, an 18th Airborne Corps operations analyst from Fort Bragg, N.C. Major Little founded the Outfitter Company, a firm designed to help him further his love for teaching SCUBA and trail diving.
The major, a 12-year veteran of Scout leading, met Chuck Treadway, a prominent figure in the scouting community, while training at a climbing school in New Mexico. Treadway told Major Little that he was looking for a rock climbing wall to support the 2010 NSJ, but had run out of luck.
Already having made plans to attend the 2010 NSJ, the major purchased a rock climbing wall for his company. After receiving the unit in May 2010, he began preparing to bring the rock climbing experience to the Scouts at the Jamboree, providing training and service to several BSA groups locally.
"This is my first Jamboree as a Scout leader, and knew this would be a great experience for the Scouts," he said. He donated the time and financial costs to the NSJ, bringing his wife Mindy and seven children, all of which are actively involved in scouting, to help run the exhibit.
According to Major Little, the exhibit can service up to 900 Scouts per day, equaling an approximate 10,000 Scouts over the course of the event.
"We can facilitate up to 120 Scouts per hour on the tower," he said. "Our staff of 12 is professionally certified to help the Scouts safely and successfully navigate the tower."
Completion of the tower is a prerequisite for the Action Course badge, he added.
While Major Little is working at the NSJ as a Scout leader, he said he is "a Soldier, first and foremost," and is scheduled to deploy to Baghdad, Iraq in January in support of drawdown and transition missions. He called the military's relationship with the BSA "wonderful."
"Some of best leaders were Eagle Scouts," he said. "The core values of honesty, courage and truthfulness are identical in the military and in scouting."
"Scouts provide the foundation for successful service members," he added. "The Scouts are conditioned to chain of command and regimented structure."
The major said he is excited to return to the NSJ in 2013 regardless of its location, and encouraged other service members to volunteer to serve at the Jamboree, which is often facilitated by military regulations.
"The needs of Scouts are great," he said. "By serving them, service members utilize a unique way of grooming our future leaders at the cusp of their learning."