Friday, November 19, 2010

Forecast: The Wee Belows

Just kidding: as in it's "Webelos" - or, "We'll Be Loyal Scouts."

I suppose some explanation is in order, given that this gig was somewhat slightly out of my normal (whatever that is) range of speaking circuits. A buddy at the local watering hole asked me (timing is everything esp. with enough Irish coffees) to help him out with the local pack, or den, or whatever, and do a show & tell so as to facilitate a dozen kids earning an activity badge: the esteemed "Artist" pin*, which corresponds to the Mental Skill of "Art." These guys were like senior Cub Scouts, about to move up into full-fledged Boy Scouts after racking up all the necessary qualifications, like drawing cartoons, which I fully agree with as a crucial tool needed to become a responsible, productive member of society. Or, in my experience, at least have the ability to deal with such people throughout life. They meet at the old Alaska Railroad depot downtown, graciously donated by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner for use as a sort of ad-hoc community center for some non-profit groups.

So Friday I grabbed the customary portfolio, bag of sample books and demo materials, plus picked up a laptop + projector (via the always handy technology resources available through the UAF Rasmuson Library) for the jam-packed hour two-hour long presentation. I always bring too much, as it's better to have an inexhaustible well of information to educate and amuse than run out of things to say or do. Like I ever run outta things to say. Spent an hour beforehand at home culling appropriate examples (edit, edit, edit) to burn on a disc and backup jump drive: lots of innocent Alaskan children suffering all sorts of unfortunate circumstances is a sure crowd-pleaser. Also included were examples of commercial work and freelance illustration, some fine art, and many references to local resources while stressing the importance of reading as much as drawing. But seriously, given the age spread, poop outhouse jokes are always good material for a group of fellow immature boys on the cusp of pre-adolescence. In other words, I can relate: these are my people.

After my little show & tell, the gang all set to drawing their own cartoons, while I did some more demos and answered questions from folks. What a great buncha guys and some pretty cool parents too - I had a really good time hanging out. Once again, I'm always impressed at the ability of these young 'uns (average age about ten) to just sit down and knock out some crazy stuff, not to mention making me laugh my butt off. Couldn't ask for a better way to spend a Friday night out!

Actually what was interesting was the powerful associations this stirred up from my own childhood. One of my best friends at the time was an avid Boy Scout, and was forever trying to lure me into what I suspiciously viewed as a cultish indoctrination program to mold better, more upright model citizens. Besides already being well beyond most merit-worthy skills by spending more than an average amount of time traipsing about the woods on my own, my solo sense of adventure got me in lots of trouble instilled a rebellious instinct and disdain for anyone needing a badge to prove anything. Yeah, so that worked out really well for me later on. Not to mention I was the weirdo that never had many friends anyways, and consequently grew up never needing to be part of any official pack persay. But all that being said, after all these years, *I got mine ... and to tell ya the truth, my spiffy new honorary pin probably means more than most the awards I ever got. How cool is that.

Extra-special thanks to Robyn and Chef Jason for the hospitality & invite!

No comments:

Post a Comment