The Boy Scout Program is one of the very few national youth programs emphasizing the goal of forging future leaders. This rewarding experience provides young men with the opportunity to hone leadership and camping skills, participate in earning select merit badges from over 133 merit badge opportunities, and to share in strengthening bonds with fellow Scouts. The program achieves the BSA’s objectives of developing character, citizenship, and personal fitness.
The Benefits of Boy Scouts
The success of Boy Scouts rests on a table supported by four pillars:
- Service to Others
Leadership – Whatever ethical level you hold yourself to, when you are responsible for a team of people, it is important to raise the bar even higher. Your fellow Scouts and friends can be a reflection of yourself, and if you make honest and ethical behavior a key value, your team will follow suit.
Values – Scouting is a values-based program with its own code of conduct. The Scout Oath and Law help instill the values of good conduct, respect for others, and honesty. For almost a century, Scouting has instilled in young men the values and knowledge that they will need to become leaders in their communities and country.
Education – Scouts learn skills that will last a lifetime, including basic outdoor skills, first aid, citizenship skills, leadership skills, and how to get along with others.
Attaining the rank of Eagle Scout requires a skill-set similar to that of earning a college degree as follows:
It is a long term goal (the average Scout takes over 4 years to complete Eagle); requires active participation; must meet requirement deadlines; on-going testing and evaluation process; must complete a required course of topic study and electives; “homework” includes research papers & demonstration and/or lab work; involves use of merit badge “textbooks”; the individual Scout must also develop impressive teamwork and people skills while successfully working with individuals in various authority positions.
Service to Others – Community service is bedrock to Boy Scouts, and is required to ever attain the rank of Eagle Scout. While various activities and youth groups teach basic skills and promote teamwork, Scouting goes beyond that and encourages youth to achieve a deeper appreciation for service to others in their community.
The Scout Slogan really says it all: “Do a Good Turn Daily”
This does not mean that you should do just one Good Turn during the day and then stop. It means you should always be looking for extra opportunities to help others, quietly and without boasting. Remember that a Good Turn is an act of kindness, not just something you do because it is good manners. Good Turns should be done for family, friends, adults, children, and especially for those that are not able to do the task themselves.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Scouting promotes activities that lead to personal responsibility and high self-esteem. As a result, when hard decisions have to be made, peer pressure can be resisted and the right choices can be made. In this age of video games, smart phones, and other wasteful electronic distractions, Scouting should not be considered as a quaint relic of the past. Rather, the fundamentals of Boy Scouts are needed now more than ever. It is a program that will reconnect our youth to the very environment that supports them, while developing the strong valued, educated, and hard-working leaders needed to guide our nation into an uncertain future.
Author: SgtMaj Jame Poe (USMC ret) is the scout master for the Marine Military Academy’s Troop 22. The Marine Military Academy has an activity scouting program. To learn more about the Marine Military Academy and the scouting program visit our Boy Scout page on our website: http://www.mma-tx.org.