All I Needed to Know, I Learned in Boy Scouts!

Be Prepared.

Do a good turn, daily.

Trustworthy. Loyal. Helpful. Friendly. Courteous. Kind. Obedient. Cheerful. Thrifty. Brave. Clean. Reverent.

On my honor – duty to God and country, duty to others, duty to self.

These are the basic tenets of the Boy Scouts of America – the motto, slogan, law and three components of the Scout oath. There are so many “suggestions” for living one’s life that, if followed, would make the world a much better place. The Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, the basic tenets of Scouting – all are paths for how to live life and treat others.

As in life, so in Scouts. There are levels or ranks in Scouting that each Scout achieves by mastering skills and/or obtaining merit badges. There are no “participant” ribbons in Boy Scouts.

The early ranks of Scouting – Tenderfoot through First Class – stress Scout skills – knot tying, first aid, orienteering, physical fitness, plant/animal identification, patriotism – not only do the younger Scouts garner knowledge, they gain confidence, as well. As each requirement is signed off, the Scouts mature a little bit.

After reaching First Class, the Scout begins to work on merit badges. Earning the higher ranks of Scouting (Star, Life, and Eagle) requires the Scout to earn merit badges – some required for Eagle (those which help the Scout to “Be Prepared” to help others) – others of particular interest to the Scout. Many times, those of particular interest to the Scout whet their appetite on a particular subject and direct them to explore what may very well become their chosen careers as an adult.

Once all requirements for a rank are met, the Scout gains even more confidence and maturity by going before an adult Board of Review. In essence, these Boards of Review provide the Scout an opportunity to interact with adults on a more formal basis- almost like a job interview – where they are questioned about their experiences in Scouting and, sometimes, asked to demonstrate their mastery of specific skills. They help prepare the Scouts for interaction with others – others in authority – who decide whether they meet the criteria to advance, or not. Sound familiar?

To earn the rank of Eagle, the Scout must earn the requisite number of merit badges, hold a leadership position within the troop, and complete an Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project. The service project requires the Eagle candidate to identify an area within the community that could benefit from a service project (building park benches, Kestrel bird nests, storage sheds, refurbishing Little League baseball diamonds, painting/landscaping at local Ronald McDonald Houses, etc.). He plans the work, organizes the workers, arranges for donations from local vendors, provides meals, etc., for all the volunteers and, most importantly, provides the leadership to get the job done. The service project is the Scout’s opportunity to put to use the leadership skills that Scouting stresses throughout the program. It is the culmination of their Scouting career.

When I was a Scout, the recruiting slogan was, “Scouting Rounds a Guy Out!” How true. There is no other organization for boys where so many different experiences can be had – in a controlled, safe environment. So many life experiences can be gained in a “safe to fail” environment where dedicated men offer their assistance and encouragement to the Scouts.

Entire families have participated in Scouting over the years. Those fathers who may not have achieved the rank of Eagle in their younger days, given their maturity and understanding of what that achievement means, went on to urge their sons to reach for that elite goal – Eagle Scout. My dad didn’t make it to First Class, but, he realized how valuable the Scouting program was and worked with me and my two brothers to reach the ultimate Scout rank – Eagle. He was the proud dad of three Eagle Scouts – even before the bumper stickers came to be! diamond painting shop

All I Needed to Know, I Learned in Boy Scouts!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top