It is not uncommon for teenagers to put in the minimal effort necessary, yet still expect the maximum reward. This sense of entitlement is a growing epidemic in our society. One of the many beauties of Outback is that this entitlement is disarmed through a myriad of natural consequences. I taught a young male student how to make a strong shelter one day and could tell he was not paying attention to what I was teaching him. I told him, “While it may be beautiful weather now, Utah weather can change quickly and it isn’t always fun. I suggest you learn how to tie good knots and make a good shelter.”
He went through the motions with me, but I could tell he still wasn’t committed to learning this new and important wilderness skill. Within that same week, a brief but heavy rainstorm came rushing through the mountain pass we were camped in one night. As I awoke early the next morning to assess how the students faired the previous night’s weather, I came upon this young man. The first thing I saw was his shelter was only partially intact, which left his gear exposed to the weather and completely soaked. When I approached him I could see in his eyes that he had just experienced a sleepless night. When I asked him, “How was your night?” His response was a pitiful groan followed by a few cuss words about his shelter flapping in the wind and keeping him awake all night. Even though he was safe, his wet gear and his sleepless night had made him uncomfortable. After he spent the next few hours drying his gear by the fire, he and I reviewed how to make a weather proof shelter. That was the last time he had a sleepless night at Outback.