I’ve spent most of my life involved with some sort of Scouting. I’ve been a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Eagle Scout, and now a Cub Scout Den leader. Growing up without a father in my house. I looked up to any adult male in my life. I’m not sure many of my leaders never realized they where the positive male role model I needed. Scouting is not only giving boys positive role models, but teaching adults how to be that positive role model.
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
Every scout starts day one with learning the Scout Law and the Oath. No matter when they start these words are the basis of everything they do. Now I could go into what they all mean but the reality of it is as a Boy grows in Scouting he learns for himself what they mean to him personally.
Many people not involved in Scouting over the years have made a big deal about some of these ideals, Many of the problems with these arguments stems from people not understanding that Scouting isn’t about excluding any one, or forcing anyone to do something or believe something they don’t want to. It’s about bettering yourself, and your community.
Now there are some people who have been involved in Scouting over the years that forgotten these ideals and lost sight of what Scouting is about. Not that there is ever a reason to let this kind of behavior go, it is something that will happen with an organization this big. Please don’t let a few misguided people influence your decision to get involved with Scouting.
As a Cub Scout I learned so many things I couldn’t begin to tell you all of them. However the one thing that almost every boy will remember all his life is building a pine wood derby car. They start out as a simple block of wood with plastic wheels and nails to hold them on. However what a boy can do with help from their father or other adult is amazing. Like I’ve said earlier I didn’t have a father growing up, but I was lucky enough to have one of the fathers in my pack who helped me. This time learning to use hand tools was something I’ll never forget. I’m very proud that I now how a son to I get to return the favor with and spend quality time helping to build a car his is very proud of. To many people it may be a simple race with wooden car. However, to any one every involved they know that the Pinewood Derby gives these boys a sense of accomplishment, and pride seeing something they build race down that track. It also teaches them how to except that, even though you did your best there maybe others who are better.
Another thing you learn in Cub Scouts is how to use a pocket knife safely. Normally people wouldn’t think this is that important but since I carry a knife every day and have since I was in high school it think it’s very important kids know how to use them safely and for the right reasons. I’ll tell you it was a proud day when my wife yelled at me because our son corrected her on how to hand a knife to someone. She didn’t realize that you should always say thank you when handing someone a knife and that you don’t let go of the knife until the person says thank you. It’s a simple thing that prevents sharp knives from getting dropped on some ones foot.
Boy Scouts is all about learning leadership and responsibility. From the first day of Boy Scouts you are held accountable for your own advancement, there is no free rides. The first thing I remember having to do as a Tender Foot was a “good turn” when I earned my Tender Foot range I was turned upside down and held there while my Scout Master pinned the badge to my shirt. I was then turned right side up and told I can put my badge on right side up when I did a good turn. Since we all know one good turn deserves another.
A side from the Leadership training and community service projects Scouting teaches self-sufficiency through camping. I could spend hours telling stories about camping trips and things I learned. I get the opportunity to go rock climbing at Mount Rush Moore State Park, I camped in Wyoming, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and many local lakes and camp grounds. I camped in all sorts of weather and learned don’t every trust a weather man prepare for the worst. Always have a par of pants, and long sleeve shirt of jacket. The thing is camping really teaches the boys how to be prepared for anything, and how to deal with things when everything goes wrong. You never know what your made of until you are camped the side of a mountain with no hard shelters around and you watch a possible Tornado producing storm come rolling in. No matter what happens these are experiences you will never forget and like they always say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
On top of all the outdoor education you get and the merit badges you earn. Leadership is a huge deal in Boy Scouts. Every rank requires some sort of Leadership role to advance but the Eagle Scout project is more than just a leadership project its something that many employers wouldn’t expect their employees to be able to do. This if a boy even gets to this point you know he his a responsible young man who can handle anything you ask him to do. Once he has earned his Eagle Scout rank you can be assured the that he has the skills and mindset to be successful at anything he sets his mind to for the rest of his life.
I feel that no matter what any one says about Scouting, Scouting is one of the most positive organizations a boy can get involved in. If you ever find that the Pack or Troop you have become associated with, is not to your liking there is almost always another one in the area and they may be better for you.