Scouting Anniversary Day is celebrated on February 8, in honor of those who abide by the Scout Law. A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Today, we appreciate those who display these qualities.
Our family joined the BSA when A was in third grade. He wanted experience with camping and fishing and other outdoor activities, but we were not equipped for any of those things. He loved his year as a Bear in Cub Scouts so much, that I ended up volunteering as a Leader for his next den when the current leader stepped down. And so it began.
Now, A is a Life Scout (the rank just below Eagle) and both Mr PugRunner and I volunteer with his Troop. We are both trained leaders and committee members, and happily work with our fellow leaders to enhance the experience for the Scouts in the program.
On today’s Scouting Anniversary, here are some of the incredible things A has learned during his time in the BSA.
Public Speaking + Communication
One of the Eagle-required merit badges focuses on Communication, and every Scout has to partake in a Scoutmaster’s Conference and Board of Review before earning their next ranks. With that in mind, Scouts learn to emcee events like Courts of Honors, as well as engage in interview-style conversations regarding their Scouting experience. As a shy person who hates public speaking, I am so impressed by how A and his fellow Scouts have the skills to speak effectively in these and other scenarios.
Leadership is a huge part of the Scouting experience, and the idea is for the Troops and Patrols to be entirely youth-led. This means that the Scouts themselves handle meetings, elections, campouts, meal planning, cooking and activities. Trained adults are available for guidance or when serious issues arise, but it’s up to the Scouts to navigate planning, advancement, and conflict. As soon as youth attain the rank of “Scout,” they have the opportunity to take on a leadership role in their troops or patrols, and BSA even offers a week-long leadership training camp for eligible Scouts. A completed the course in December of this year.
Whether a Scout is working on their Eagle Project or setting up a campsite, their leadership skills transition nicely into Project Management. Scouts learn to delegate tasks, work as a team, and navigate the strengths and weaknesses of their Patrols and Troops. It’s not always effective, but it’s rewarding to watch a group of Scouts work together to accomplish a goal.
The Scout slogan is “Do A Good Turn Daily” and we have all benefited from the gift of volunteering. Whether we are helping supervise a campout, or digging in to assist with an Eagle project, we are all enriched by giving of our time and skills. The reinforcement of service to others has made volunteering a fairly regular thing in our house, and we are both so proud that A is always generous with his time and abilities.
Scouts are responsible for themselves. In fact, they are in charge of their uniforms, packing, and planning. When A heads out on an adventure, I may gently remind him of some necessity (because I’m a mom, and that’s what I do), but it’s on him to remember what he needs. The skill of self-reliance transcends to school and other activities. I am fortunate that I rarely have to remind him to turn in schoolwork or bring home is PE uniform.
Confidence In Trying New Things
I love watching A and his Troopmates broaden their horizons and try new things. Through Scouting, so many of them have learned to meet a challenge head on, rather than shying away. Even when they fail, these Scouts work to solve problems. and meet their goals, instead of giving up or growing discouraged. The confidence to try is a valuable quality and will serve them well throughout life.
This Scouting Anniversary is the perfect time to remember our Scouts and Volunteers for the 112th year. We are looking forward to A earning his Eagle, and giving back to this community that has served him so well.
Is your family involved in Scouting?