This summer I went to Ecuador for 12 days to do some high altitude climbing. I went with a group from my school. Our team consisted of eight climbers, and one of the hardest things about the trip was that we had just met each other and in under two months we would be climbing to over 20,000 feet together. How does this link back to my life in Scouts? Trust and self-understanding were key to ensuring that we had a strong and safe climbing team. Trust, as many of you know, must be at the core of everything we do. Without trust, our rope teams would not have made it to the top.

How is trust earned in such short a time? What my team chose to do was to go climb, run, or work on skills at least once per week. I feel that the best way to learn to trust one another is by placing your team in a situation where trust is forced upon your team. Trusting my team during trust falls is necessary to trust that they will pull me out of a crevasse.

Why is self-understanding so important to team development? You need to understand how you are going to handle different situations, from dealing with hard advisers to working for a goal with little sleep. A leader must be able to understand himself before he can lead others.

I ask each of you to think about the trust between you and those you work with, and then take time to sit in a peaceful, quiet place so that you can better understand who you are and what you want in life.

Leadership is Love,
Fred Gross
2010 Western Region Chief