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Dutch custom of 'dropping'

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
According an article in the New York Times the Dutch have a scouting tradition called 'dropping' by which children are left in the forest at night and have to find their own way back to base. See reactions to the NYT article at Dutch custom of 'dropping'.

Now I know why the Dutch are so self-reliant and such indefatigable hikers.🚶‍♂️🚶‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️

But variants of dropping are nothing new. As a 14-year-old scout myself (it seems like only yesterday) of Scottish (not Dutch) descent in Australia, I had to navigate my way over an unknown course with a compass and draw a field sketch of my route to earn a badge.

What's the fuss?

Bob M
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Nothing so special. When I was a boy scout in early 80's (way back in former Yugoslavia) we were "dropped" for 36 hours (limit to get a patch if you made it back to the camp in that time) with a topo map, compass, a knife, 1 liter of water, 10 matches and 100 grams of flour along with our personal (everything that we brought to the summer camp) stuff. I was 12 and it was great fun. I even caught. skinned, grilled and ate two blindworms (deaf adders) :D :D :D
 

MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
According an article in the New York Times the Dutch have a scouting tradition called 'dropping' by which children are left in the forest at night and have to find their own way back to base. See reactions to the NYT article at Dutch custom of 'dropping'.

Now I know why the Dutch are so self-reliant and such indefatigable hikers.🚶‍♂️🚶‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️

But variants of dropping are nothing new. As a 14-year-old scout myself (it seems like only yesterday) of Scottish (not Dutch) descent in Australia, I had to navigate my way over an unknown course with a compass and draw a field sketch of my route to earn a badge.

What's the fuss?

Bob M

The fuss surprised me.
'Dropping' is not a Dutch word, but somehow that did not ring a bell with the NYT.
 

MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
No, but 'drop' is.
Reading the title, I thought it had something to do with licorice ('What, the kids are force fed the stuff to perpetuate the communal addiction in the next generation?')
🤣
"Drop" (as in "rain drop") is English. The liquorice we know was originally made by an English pharmacist a few centuries ago. He made a thick syrup that hardened into drops. The Dutch then added a few ingredients of their own and never stopped chewing.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
As a young girl my mother would "drop" my sisters and I off all over town to get various supplies for Dads construction jobs. Problem was that she would then go off to catch up with the ladies that lunch and forget about us. I'll never forget having to haul 2 bags of cement and a box of 4 inch nails home, did it as a kind of relay bringing up the supplies from one lamp post to another. Could have done with some salty liquorice to replace what I sweated out.
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
In South Africa we had "veldskool"... More like military camp than summer camp. On the second day we were dropped off in the bushveld, given some rations and a compass, and told to find our way back to camp. Luckily no big cats in the area, but I distinctly remember an encounter with a warthog! (p.s. we were aged 11-12).
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Excellent idea. But I imagine we would need bigger jails for all the parents convicted of child abuse... Just saying.

That said, partially tongue-in-cheek, I think it is an excellent way to teach self-reliance.
 

MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
https://speld.nl/2019/07/22/wat-is-een-acceptabel-terugkeerpercentage-bij-een-dropping/


What is an acceptable return rate for a dropping?


You're planning on organizing a dropping for your 12-year-old daughter's birthday. What percentage of the children have to return for the dropping to be a success?

"You shouldn't make it too easy for children," says droppings expert Flemmo te Gader. "A dropping should be exciting, not boring. You don't want children to walk all night and then find out that everyone has made it. A return rate of around 60 percent is therefore ideal in my opinion. The dropping was absolutely challenging, but not impossible. Of course you do have a responsibility towards the parents of other children."

Unfortunately, many parents are becoming more and more cautious about leaving children behind in a forest, according to Te Gader. "The other day there was news that a man had organized a dropping with a return rate of 100 percent. This is in fact the result of the exaggerated concern of young parents. They can't leave their child alone for a week in a dark forest without starting to app. A shame. In this way, a fine tradition is in danger of disappearing."

Te Gader hopes that droppings with an average return rate of 60 percent will remain the norm. "In this way, children learn that it is not self-evident that you can survive birthday parties just like that. They will benefit from this for the rest of their lives."



🤭🤭
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
I was 12 when I did my first solo back-pack in the Cascade Mountain Range. I was dropped off by my step-father at the old trailhead to Sauk Lake and picked up 3 days later. I shouldered a WWII packboard with all my gear. Recently, I led a hike up Sauk Mountain and regaled my group with the story. One of my fellow hikers asked, "did you ever consider that maybe your step-father was trying to get rid of you?" Hmmmmmm.
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!



I worked for some time in one of these Forest Kindergartens, busing children daily from central Copenhagen´s concrete jungles to the greenery of the wooded countryside...
They slept well ....
 
Last edited:

dqduncan

Director, Canadian Company of Pilgrims
Camino(s) past & future
2015:Francés
2016:Hospitalero training
2017:Hospitalero @Arrés.
2018:Joined CCoP
2019:el Norte
According an article in the New York Times the Dutch have a scouting tradition called 'dropping' by which children are left in the forest at night and have to find their own way back to base. See reactions to the NYT article at Dutch custom of 'dropping'.

Now I know why the Dutch are so self-reliant and such indefatigable hikers.🚶‍♂️🚶‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️

But variants of dropping are nothing new. As a 14-year-old scout myself (it seems like only yesterday) of Scottish (not Dutch) descent in Australia, I had to navigate my way over an unknown course with a compass and draw a field sketch of my route to earn a badge.

What's the fuss?

Bob M
It’s known a different term,, but it’s a practice in indigenous communities here on Turtle Island too. I’m sure there are countless other examples in cultures around the world. These rites of passage are older or just plain ancient compared with recent social mores in developed western democracies that drive relentlessly toward comfort, coddling, protection and away from struggle, risk and discovery. That time I checked, Life isn’t nearly so soft and simple so practices to build resilience have my vote.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
And too many parents now won't let their children walk a few blocks to school by themselves.
Maybe that’s because they don’t want to get investigated by the state child services agency. :mad: This happened last year in the town where my son lives and you would be surprised to hear the number of parents who agreed that it was irresponsible to let the 8 year old walk the dog around the block alone. Are you kidding me?! This is a low crime, high income, totally insulated suburban bubble. The news media is partly responsible with their fear-mongering reports about child abductions, etc., but many US parents are gripped with irrational fears about their children’s safety. The same sort of fear that grabs many women when they contemplate walking the camino alone. It is really very sad, and very hard to shake.

 

LTfit

Veteran Member
The article makes it sound as if this is a Dutch tradition. Maybe if your kids are scouts (mine weren't) but otherwise not. In fact I don't know any friends of my children (now 25 and 32) who have done this. But as a first year university student I remember my daughter and her year club pals were dropped off blindfolded on the Dutch Afsluitdijk and they had to find their way back home to Amsterdam without a cent. They ended up hitchhiking and singing to the conductor of the train to ride for free. But heck, they were 17 and 18 year Olds.
 

alhartman

346 joyful days in Spain and France since 2005
Camino(s) past & future
Hope so!
I got left in the woods at age 12 on a "Snipe Hunt". Only mildly scary as the leaders and older boys eventually retrieved those of us still out there holding our open pillow cases over a game trail.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
Post 9-11, this would be impossible, but when we were living in Singapore in the 80s and early 90s, my wife and I had meetings in Hanover, NH. We flew cross country from Boston and joined our youngest at LAX who was flying alone from Singapore, and off we went to Disneyland. He was 9. If we did this in 2019, we'd be rattling our tin cups across the bars of our new residence...
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
There is a beautiful example from a Japanese film project, to find out just how competent children are, when left to do an errand in an urban enviroment.
A film enthusiast club participated in as much as they documented what two very young girls said and did as they where told to do an errand for grandad, to bring out his luncheon box for him.
A new camera amateur stood at every street corner and followed w candid camera at knee height their every move...
As they went down the road , on a familiar route, they communicated on what to do and commented on the many temptations they met.
Beautiful docu....from years and years ago..
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I saw the article in the New York Times and thought it was a wonderful rite of passage!
My boys would have loved it!
I hope they keep it up!

I'm with Peregrina2000 by the way when it comes to people in the USA and their irrational fears. What happened to us? I rode the train alone at age 5, played out until dark my whole life, and so did my children. I walked to kindergarten with my 3 friends, about a mile and a half, so did my children. We are fed so much FEAR on the internet and television I think it addles people's brains. It's depressing, really...
 

Vanessa Oz

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SF 2014
Fin\Mux 14 & 18
Portuguese 2017
Aragones 2018
Plan primitivo 2020
According an article in the New York Times the Dutch have a scouting tradition called 'dropping' by which children are left in the forest at night and have to find their own way back to base. See reactions to the NYT article at Dutch custom of 'dropping'.

Now I know why the Dutch are so self-reliant and such indefatigable hikers.🚶‍♂️🚶‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️

But variants of dropping are nothing new. As a 14-year-old scout myself (it seems like only yesterday) of Scottish (not Dutch) descent in Australia, I had to navigate my way over an unknown course with a compass and draw a field sketch of my route to earn a badge.

What's the fuss?

Bob M
Ditto as a 15-16yo in Venturers for my QS
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
The article makes it sound as if this is a Dutch tradition. Maybe if your kids are scouts (mine weren't) but otherwise not.
I never was a scout, but I remember being part of several droppings like this, in the forest and late at night. I was maybe 14, 15 years old, it was just a part of the programme when we were away on a school class weekend. Nothing to get worried about....

Loved this comment to the article though:
When I was six, my parents dropped me in the middle of nowhere. Being Dutch, I had made survival skills of course, so I killed a rabbit and cooked it. Then I used the stars to find my way home.
Pretty standard in the Netherlands. Highly recommend it!
 

dfox

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (4/2017)
CP (5/2019)
CF (5/2021)
I think it is an "orienteering" program in some countries. Participant uses a map provided by the event organizer and a compass to find their way out.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
I recall hearing from a friend, while a freshman in college in the mid-70's, that his fraternity "pledge" hazing included such a rural drop-off.

I'm not sure clothing was involved, however.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
I recall hearing from a friend, while a freshman in college in the mid-70's, that his fraternity "pledge" hazing included such a rural drop-off.

I'm not sure clothing was involved, however.
At WSU that was definitely the case in my fraternity. Dropped off alone at night in a vast, barren, snow covered Palouse, and told to find a white cross.These days, I just chase rainbows, and hang out in La Mancha with my buddy, Don—tilting...
 

K Turner

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August-October 2019 CF
My kids have been able to navigate, locate (and purify) water, identify food sources and cook them if needed, start a fire, etc since they were 8-9. The trick is to maintain the skills.

We are American and while I grew up this way, it is not the norm.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I am frightened at being in the forest at night in the dark. It spooks me...no thanks. Every summer we tent camped with our kids when they were young, often in remote areas. I hated getting up to walk to the bathroom middle of night...it was scary for me. I became overly sensitive to noises and every cracking twig or rustling in the bushes I heard outside was magnified and became a mountain lion or a bear coming near. My fears never improved, just saying...we are all different.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
There is a beautiful example from a Japanese film project, to find out just how competent children are, when left to do an errand in an urban enviroment.
A film enthusiast club participated in as much as they documented what two very young girls said and did as they where told to do an errand for grandad, to bring out his luncheon box for him.
A new camera amateur stood at every street corner and followed w candid camera at knee height their every move...
As they went down the road , on a familiar route, they communicated on what to do and commented on the many temptations they met.
Beautiful docu....from years and years ago..
I don't suppose you can remember the name of this Japanese film? I would love to see that!

Davey
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
According an article in the New York Times the Dutch have a scouting tradition called 'dropping' by which children are left in the forest at night and have to find their own way back to base.
Being Dutch, I can clarify this matter.

It's true, the Dutch like to drop children in the middle of nowhere after sunset and leave them (on their own and unattend) to find their way back. Especially with children which we, for whatever reason, would like to get rid off.

In most cases however, the children will return after some time. Luckily, since two years, the wolf has returned to the Netherlands in the wild and started reproducing. So it looks like it's here to stay.

Need I say that the request for 'droppings' has increased dramatically since? So far there haven't been reports of children not finding their way back, but we're very hopeful .........
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
;) I'm so sorry, but don't take everything that's written for real, whether it's about the Dutch or other nationalities/cultures.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
So, going back to the speculation my stepfather did not want me to return from Sauk Lake (# 20 above), I'm now reminded there are many many Dutch people who settled in this area from the Netherlands: cows, tulips, cheese, even windmills—the works! Did my step-father hang out with the Roosengardes, the Zugelders, the DeGoedes, and become influenced by stories of what their parents did to them? I guess I'll never know, so I'll revel in the fact I am still here. Was his a failed mission or mine a triumph of survival in the wilderness (or dumb luck ;) )
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Oh, by the way, not dropping my boys off in the woods to find their way home has had no ill effect as adults. One has walked 1000 miles of the Appalachian Trail, 200+ on the John Muir Trail and the 400+ mile Colorado Trail in the United States. He planned and mailed off his food drops/pickups, purchased all equipment for backpacking including a required bear canister, and purified water out of sometimes brown stagnant ponds. The Caminos are very easy for him. The other son has walked the camino, hikes in the mountains and travels often. He was a refueling jet pilot in the US Air Force reserves for 15 years, and now organizes the same.
All that to say that "to drop" or "not to drop" often has no bearing on the capabilities or personality traits of our offspring...at least it's been my experience.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I'm with Peregrina2000 by the way when it comes to people in the USA and their irrational fears. What happened to us? I rode the train alone at age 5, played out until dark my whole life, and so did my children. I walked to kindergarten with my 3 friends, about a mile and a half, so did my children. We are fed so much FEAR on the internet and television I think it addles people's brains. It's depressing, really...
We need more free range children, I say! My children are at least as smart as chickens.
 

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