By Tim Smith, National Scouts BSA Subcommittee
We as adults seem to strive and enjoy those awe moments in life. Viewing a sunrise over the Grand Canyon, the summit view from our local mountains, enjoying nature’s fireflies at scout camp can all be awe moments for Scouters. Providing these same outdoor adventure awe moments and much more is the promise we make to our youth when they join Scouting. Scouting outdoor adventures provided from the short-day trips to the local park or the weekend trips away from home to the scout summer camps, provides the environment to fulfill the mission of the Boy Scouts of America.
The opportunities provided through the Scouts BSA outdoor program will change a youth’s life. In Scouts, since conception, teaching, training, and practicing the methods of Scouting, the Scout Oath and Law and scoutcraft during our weekly troop meetings enhances the character of our youth, plus wets the appetite for the outdoor adventure. The troop leadership taking the next step, providing monthly outdoor adventures is paramount to the process. The outdoor experience for our youth gives them that important opportunity to practice what they have learned at our troop meeting. That healthy environment can allow our scouts to enjoy independence from the great indoors using the skills they have learned to achieve success and failure, where both success and failure are recognized as good learning experiences.
Adult troop leaders with just a little time spent with the youth see the change firsthand. Before their eyes, they see scouts who had no interest prior to scouting become leaders, enjoy leadership, enjoy scoutcraft, enjoy rank advancement and patrol camaraderie. Parents will see change in their youth on the home front as well. A Tuffs University study of youth non-Scouts and Scouts confirms that Scouting builds character. When we see our youth exhibit the tenets of Scouting at home and in the community, nothing can make us prouder. We can feel more comfortable knowing the change in our youth will make our world a better place.
We know how well Scouts BSA and the great outdoors work together. As leaders, we can use this outstanding blend of Scouting programs to “whet” the appetite of all youth. We need to extend this opportunity beyond just our own kids and their friends. It is important today to embed diversity, equity and inclusion while recruiting youth to the Scouts BSA program. We know there are many other activities that compete for our kid’s extra time, some good and some not so good. However, if we can just give potential Scouts a taste of the outdoor experience while recruiting, we can be more successful in our efforts. What “tastes” are available? The list for public troop activities is wide and great. Take a few minutes at each of your monthly committee meeting to include recruiting in your future planning. For more ideas check out: https://www.scouting.org/outdoor-programs/camping/scouts-bsa-outdoor-program/
So, youth can summit in the Scouts BSA Outdoor Program. Give our youth the opportunity for outdoor adventure they will blossom as individuals. They will enjoy awe moments as they summit each new task. Provide that safe time for failure and success in the outdoors.
Thank you for all you do to embed the scouting tenants in our youth, our future Moms, Dads and leaders.