Birthday Mission

Birthday Mission

For the past couple of years while 1). Having the outdoor spirit rekindled in me and 2). Living close to Starkey Wilderness Park I’ve told my wife I want a day in the woods (Starkey Park) for my birthday! I believe yesterday was the 3rd annual celebration. Now I call it my Birthday Mission.


When I arrived at 8:30 it was cool (low 50’s) and a ever so slight misty/fogginess was afloat.  It gave me the feeling of a fall day in Western New York.  I gathered some small downed pine trees tossed them on the roof of my car with the intent to process into firewood,,,,,

As the morning turned to brunch time the mission kids began to arrive!  All in all there was another adult and 5 boys!  They busted and cut wood for the fire and we ate like kings, thanks to Tony, the other adult!!  

We cooked bacon, hot dogs, and bread (became toast) on sticks and warmed up a hobo meal on the coals!

Funny thing is….we always say – that was the best mission ever!  Just mighta been!


Create some lifelong memories with your kids and or grandkids….expose them to the great outdoors and the outdoor spirit!!!


Unleash The Outdoor Spirit


This past weekend I had the pleasure of being accompanied by 6 boys (under the age of 10) and one adult for the Church Mission (they didn't go to church so I told them we'd have "church" in the outdoors! laugh

The boys ran, climbed down trees (30 degree angle), axed wood, made fire starter shavings, knocked over dead tree stumps, made spears from branches, and ate all the food they brought.  Then we started a fire!


Almost forgot…..I taught the boys how to use matches! Yup, better educating them with the potential a match can do, than telling them NO, never, ever!!! Now they KNOW!

Your know what to do when they are presented with the wilderness.  The outdoor spirit lies within and seeks the opportunity to come to life!  It just amazes me how much fun can be had for no money.

By the way, I had to start walking towards my car to go home to obtain their attention indicating today’s mission was over.  They woulda stayed until the Park Ranger kicked them out at dusk!  

Everyone received a Mission Life sticker.

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 If you want one just send me an email to: with your address.  

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Scott "Poppy"

Establish Your Own Mission Rituals

Establish your own mission rituals.

Since our first mission to a park I’ve always, always, always toted jerky and an apple.  To this day, even when we’re camping I bring an apple and jerky and now most of the other kids do as well! And the kids have always, always worn some sort of camo.  I was a little late to the proper mission apparel but am full fledged camo mission now…


And possibly the most vital mission ritual has been music.  We started with Lynyrd Skynyrd, moved to AC/DC and currently playing Bon Jovi……loud and proud, same song over and over until the kids are singing it at the tops of their lungs!  New kids who get to ride in mission wagon quickly get hooked to the routine.  One boy actually made his mom play Bon Jovi Bad Medicine over and over when he got home.  She sent me a text…..THANKS POPPY ;(  


Creating those rituals, that are PURE FUN on missions is what the kids will love!  And they’ll remember it forever!!  Long after we’re gone!


Creating memories that’ll live on forever in them!!



Outdoor Mission Weather Preparation

Mission Weather Preparation

As I prepare for another mission with a handful of boys I am preparing for it to rain this Sunday.
I’ll make sure I have a tarp or two and some paracord if we need to throw up a quick tarp lean to!

Which reminds me of the Boy Scout motto – Always Be Prepared.  
Always  plan for the unplanned.  

Makes me think of one time when the 3 of us (2 grandsons and I) were out.  
I felt the temp drop (it was summertime in FL) and the sky darkened.  

I said there’s a storm brewin’ fellas, we gotta get outta here.  We took off like scared deer.  
As we approached the car I asked if they wanted to ride the storm out in the car or under a tarp.
Of course you know the answer…..

Before you go out – check the weather forecast a few days in advance.  
And for you who still remain in my favorite part of the USA (the northeast) take into the season and be on the lookout for snow.

Plan a mission with your kids today!!
Scott (aka Poppy)


How Missions Differ from Scouts or Kids Survival

Missions are different than kids survival or Scouts. 

In Scouts one follows a proven path of outlined activities.  In kids survival there’s an underlying fear of having to survive in unnatural circumstances or condition.

Missions are what kids do to have fun! Not that Scouts or survival activities are not favorable and enjoyable, but with missions, kids essentially set the tone for what they want to do….within parental oversight.

Missions require no knowledge of the wilderness.  If nothing else, an adult(s) can bring a child or children to a local state park and just walk on the trail or boardwalk.  There’s no schedule that has to be followed with these kids outings.  Go once a week, once a month or once a year, as some do on our annual Christmas Eve Mission. 

That reminds me of the time I pointed out pine cones, pine needles and a pine tree to my grandsons.  Obviously, I knew about evergreen related by products, but they didn’t.  I think they thought I was a super hero.

No pre-planning is necessary because there’s no agenda to a mission.  There’s no time limit, there’s only the amount of interest the children have for what’s occurring.  Reminds me of my nephew and his son out with us on his first mission I believe…..The kids had stopped to walk on a downed tree, and the adults began chatting while the kids were messing around. Moments passed and this particular adult nephew said to his son, "Alright, we gotta move on, we’re on a mission"!  I said, "Hey bud, there’s no plan on a mission, if the kids want to do this or that, that’s the mission"!  And that my fellow readers is the secret of unleashing the outdoor spirit in kids….. no demands for kids or adults/parents!!  It’s magical! 

No big lunch or dinner is required.  We bring snacks and water in backpacks.  I do remember when another one of my nephews came on his first mission with his kids.  He brought a hard-side cooler with a soft-side cover and shoulder strap for it. Before we set out on our walk down the trail, I asked if he was sure he wanted to bring that?  He replied confidently…Yeah, I’ll be fine.  Twenty minutes in, he was saying, "…..uncle…… PLEASE don’t ever let me bring this again”.  Travel Smart, travel light!

No special gear is required.  Shorts, t-shirts, jeans, whatever is perfect to wear in the wilderness!  You get bonus points if you wear camo though!  NO, just kidding.  For the longest time I was the oddball, no camo person on our missions. When a friend of my grandsons, came on his first mission, he wore no camo clothing.  When he returned home he informed his parents he wanted to be equipped with camo apparel BEFORE the next mission!  That was funny! 


You want to get kids away from their video games, Ipads, Iphones for a few hours, or a day?  Bring them on a mission!  I only allow Ipads when we’re camping and it gets dark early, but even then electronic devices are not a part of my missions!

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