Should you join Boy Scouts? Scouting has long been hailed as a phenomenal program that turns young boys into men and develops skills for a lifetime of success, stretching back over 100 years and holding many public figures to its name. However, whether you’re wary of Scouting’s state of purgatory, or simply unsure of whether Boy Scouts of America is the right fit for you or your child, joining the BSA is no small endeavor. But never fear! We’re here to assure you that joining Boy Scouts is an opportunity to grow that no other program can offer! Not convinced? Read on to get 5 reasons why you should join Scouting.
Should You Join Boy Scouts?
1. You get to appreciate and enjoy the outdoors.
As Scouts, you could imagine that we spend much of our time in the outdoors. It’s unfortunate that newer generations drift further away from nature’s wonders, content to stay indoors and on our screens. Scouting rekindles our innate desire to enjoy nature.
With our troop, we get the opportunity to participate in many varieties of outdoor adventure to fit your preferred experience. As a Scout, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in hiking, kayaking, ziplining, spelunking (cave exploring), and countless other activities. Even when we aren’t adventuring, we get plenty of time to relax in companionship. Such activities include enjoying campfires and our handmade food. Should you join Boy Scouts? If you’re looking for a breath of “fresh air” into your indoor life, Boy Scouts can surely provide it for you.
2. You learn life skills through merit badges.
One of the most unique aspects of Scouting is its orientation towards important skills that you need in real life.
Schools have been notorious for teaching things that we learn only 10% of the time. More and more youth step into the world without basic knowledge of how it works. But your problems can be solved with just one program: Scouting. Here in Boy Scouts, youth advance by completing merit badges and ranks. Each rank/merit badge has requirements tailored to useful skills in both the outdoors and life. Ranks focus on socio-personal aspects such as patriotism, health, and survival. On the other hand, merit badges teach us about the world around us. There are over 130 merit badges to pick from, so Scouts have the opportunity to complete badges that fit their areas of interest.
Examples of required merit badges include Personal Fitness (physical health), Personal Management (finances), and Camping (Outdoors). Other merit badges include Astronomy, Papermaking, and Archery.
In each of these merit badges, Scouts complete a variety of requirements pertaining to a specific field. Let’s take the basketweaving (basketry) merit badge, for example. Looking at the requirements, you will see that Scouts will learn multiple types of basketweaving, and will do projects using each technique. In addition, they will learn about safety precautions and different weaving styles. As you can see, each merit badge will give Scouts a thorough understanding of the topic at hand. Scouting’s merit badges and ranks can provide an unparalleled opportunity to learn about both useful and fun topics.
In addition to Scouting’s commitment to providing youth with life skills, joining Boy Scouts gives your child opportunities to step up to leadership. For example, most Boy Scout Troops (an individual unit) are scout-run. This means that youth officials handle nearly all of the operation of the troop. These youth leaders are elected by the troop, and each one has their own role in the troop’s smooth running. Adult volunteers merely take care of administrative work. Should you join Boy Scouts, you/your child will get the opportunity to take command and learn valuable leadership skills.
3. You gain knowledge of ethics, thus becoming a better person.
It’s a shared sentiment between parents that we want our children to grow up to be role models for others. The imparting of good values is omnipresent throughout your Scouting experience. The very essence of Scouting is built upon a code of ethics that is recited at every meeting and complied with at all times. The Scout Oath reminds us of our duty to God, Country, and self (more on that in #5). On the other hand, The Scout Law recites characteristics of a good Scout, such as being friendly, trustworthy, and loyal. Lastly, the Outdoor Code reminds us of the Outdoor Ethics rules we must conform to while in the outdoors.
In our Scoutbook, which we use as a Boy Scouts Encyclopedia, it stresses the importance of family, compassion, and kindness. Scouts routinely take time to serve veterans, volunteer for charity, and fix up old campsites. All in all, whether we have on the uniform or not, Scouting transforms boys into upright young men.
4. You make great friends and experiences!
One of the most compelling reasons why you should join Boy Scouts is to make friends and experiences that you will carry with you for a lifetime. When you join Scouting, we are exposed to people from all walks of life, all united with a common goal: to tread along the Scouting Trail. Each Troop develops a close bond between its members, making friends for life. Each patrol (sub-unit/group of scouts) is even more tight-knit, a select few with whom you spend most of your Scouting journey.
With your friends by your side and Scouting’s host of activities, you’re bound to create long-lasting experiences. Each outing/trip and meeting in Boy Scouts comes with its own host of challenges and activities, giving a chance for your outdoor and leadership skills to shine.
We Scouts look back to our adventuring days, cherishing both good and bad experiences. Some of my fondest experiences in Boy Scouts come from our many mishaps in outings, such as the times when our patrol grossly overcooked breakfast burritos, or when it unexpectedly rained and our camp was flooded. Others come from great times, like our hilarious skits during our campfires or spelunking down huge caverns. Regardless, we create fond memories in Boy Scouts that we keep with us for life.
5. Scouting instills patriotism and belief.
Lastly, on top of the values Scouting teaches, they encourage patriotism and reverence. Should you join Boy Scouts, patriotism is ingrained into us from the very beginning. In the Scout Oath and Law, which we say every week, we proclaim our duty to God and Country. The act of us as individuals joining Boy Scouts and representing our nation impacts the country as a whole, making everyone’s lives better, which is the core goal of Scouting.
As for duty to God, this is often a touchy subject in Scouting, especially among those who are irreligious/agnostic. Scouting has, in the past, put barriers to withhold those who don’t believe in the traditional idea of God. However, there are religions recognized by BSA that don’t have a traditional “God” (e.g. Buddhism), but rather a moral code to live your life by. By extension of this, as long as you have moral standards to follow and a sure path of self-improvement, you’re welcome to tread on the Scouting path.
Should You Join Boy Scouts?
Should you join boy scouts? We have near unlimited extracurricular options for our children to participate in, such as coding or clubs. However, Boy Scouts provides an experience like no other, compiling hundreds of life skills, including ones you can get nowhere else (such as bushcraft and emergency preparedness), into one comprehensive program. These were 5 reasons why you should join Boy Scouts, and we hope you do—you won’t regret it!
If you’re instead nearing the end of your Scouting journey, navigate to this link instead to learn how to choose an Eagle Scout Project.