By: U.S. Maj. David Bornn
American School of Doha Direct Service Unit Commissioner
DOHA, Qatar - Want an adventure? Then look no further than going on a trek with the American School of Doha (ASD) Boy Scouts. Early in the morning on Nov. 16, scouts, adult leaders and military volunteers embarked on a great Qatari adventure with Boy Scout Troop 970 on the north coast of Qatar just outside the small town of Zikrit; their first campout of the new school year.
Driving 40 minutes north through the cityscape of Doha to the open Qatari deserts, the caravan went off-road just outside of Duhkan and drove for an additional hour over open desert; through wadi's, Qatar's very own film city (where movies like Dune and Transformers were filmed) and into an area ancient in its Bedouin traditions and culture. The trip was an adventure from the start; and after the long desert drive, the vehicles burst out of the dry windswept sandstone cliffs and onto a secluded spar that jutted out into the Persian Gulf. With Bahraini islands and a massive refinery system as a backdrop, the Troop set up camp on the corniche and prepared for a great scouting experience.
After the scouts set up their patrol areas they readied themselves for the prospect of learning outdoor skills over the next day and a half on the campout. The scouts first honed their cooking skills in their patrols and then were enriched by the military volunteer's experience, mentorship and coaching. The scouts focused on areas like proper campsite selection, how to set up a proper patrol area, field sanitation, flag etiquette, how to use wood tools and how to become an expert at building and starting fires in any environment. Through all of this the scouts made safety the number one consideration, focused on teamwork and unit cohesion; with the overall end state of becoming stronger young men of character with solid confidence in outdoor decision-making and survival skills. At the end of the campout, every boy earned the coveted knife, ax and saw skill Tote'n Chit and fire building and starting Fire'm Chit. Proving that they had learned what it takes to be able to safely execute the many tasks involved in each chit; and that they were truly proficient enough to train other scouts in the skills needed to be successful in the outdoors.
Some of the highlights of the campsite according to the scouts were enjoying a campfire just feet away from the Persian Gulf; being able to see the lights of Bahrain across the water, experiencing the brilliance of the starlit night sky and learning so many great skills. The adult volunteers enjoyed being able to provide the scouts with much needed skills, the camaraderie with the adult scout leaders and of course enjoying the campfire dinner comprised of ribeye steaks smothered in onions, mushrooms and garlic topped off with a dutch oven apple crisp cobbler with vanilla cinnamon sauce for dessert.
What an experience of a lifetime, an adventure never to forget and of course another great way to spend your time while serving in Qatar. The military volunteers returned to Camp As Sayliyah with enduring memories and thoughts of the next adventure with the ASD Boy Scouts of troop 970; and thoughts of being able to have many more opportunities to volunteer on the next great adventures in scouting here in Qatar.