Friday, August 11, 2017

Seriously, Why Scouting?

There's not much I've done right as a parent. Oh, I try, but there's so many things I know I could do better. There is one thing, however, I got right - that was signing up my son for Cub Scouts in 2006.

Actually, truth be told, his mother signed him up. I was just the agreeable dad. I did, however, go to the first meeting.  The boys started learning to play chess at that meeting while parents filled out applications. Samuel had a great time. Little did we know how much this adventure was going to change his life.

He attended weekly Cub Scout meetings where he learned games, how to use a pocket knife, and even had his first camping trip (his mother camped with him).  We built several pinewood derby cars and he built several other useful items like a toolbox, picture frame, ring toss game and a recipe holder for the kitchen. He learned a lot of other things too, like to always do his best at whatever it was he was doing. He learned to be responsible and even began to learn his duty to god and country. And this was all as a Cub Scout.

Once he was old enough to be a Boy Scout (middle school) he began to learn a lot of outdoor skills. He learned to use an ax, and learned to build a fire. He learned how to pack a backpack and how to pitch a tent. He learned how to make an emergency shelter and spent the night in it. He's survived extreme heat and extreme cold. He learned to cook and feed himself. He knows how to navigate with a map and compass and knows how to ford a river. He can tie more knots than a sailor and even knows when to use them. His first aid skills are admirable and he can find other people that might be lost. What I find most striking is the amount of confidence he has to do all of those things and more.

He's done so much in scouting too. He climbed a mountain. He slept under the stars without a tent, sleeping bag, or shelter of any sort. He has hiked miles upon miles and backpacked to remote locations.  He helped build bridges and trails. He has traveled to events where he represented his unit. He's taken on responsibility too by working for the council at summer camp and other events. He gives freely of his time to recruit and promote scouting and is always quick to volunteer. He works with younger scouts and dedicates a couple of days a week to work with Cub Scouts.

That's just the tip of the iceberg.  There's so much more that scouting has allow him to learn and experience. The merit badges he has earned are representative of over seventy career paths or life skills. There are just too many to list. Earning each rank in scouting took effort on his part and earning the Eagle rank helped him learn how to manage a big project. There were leadership classes and opportunities for him too (and more to come).  Each of these classes and opportunities have helped mold him into a confident leader and problem solver. He has learned to be very prudent and balanced.

So, while it looks like I'm bragging on my son (and maybe I am) I've written all of that to say this. As a parent, I can think of no better program to have my son in than Scouting. I can't imagine our life without Scouting. I'm always puzzled when other parents of young boys don't have their sons in Cub Scouts. Honestly, to me, it's important. I've watched my son grow from a timid kid into a confident young man willing to take on whatever the world throws at him. Wouldn't you want that for your son?

I'm almost done, but before I sign off let's look at the Scout Law.  A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. Wouldn't you like to be able to say that with your son's name at the beginning?

Look, I'm not saying my son is all of those things all of the time, but he does try, and that goes back to the Cub Scout Motto which is "Do your best."

Please give scouting some serious consideration and check out