Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Myth about Scouting

By Carlos Martinez, Ojibwa District Executive, Samoset Council, BSA
(715) 581-6311, carlos@samoset.org

One myth about Scouting is you have to choose between Scouting and other after school activities. You most defiantly would get the most out of our program if you were able to attend every meeting and outing, but it’s okay if you can’t. I know many kids who are only able to attend one event or more a year. Some stay signed up just so they can spend a week at summer camp every year. Sometimes that one positive Scouting outing is remembered for the rest of their life and has a bigger impact than you can imagine.

When parents and kids sign up for our program we tell them that we have two, two hour meetings a month. Depending on the Pack, Troop or co-ed Venture Crew you become involved with one of these two monthly meetings could be a fun outdoor or indoor activity. The other meeting is sometimes used to plan for the next meeting or to work on advancement or recognition.

The times are changing and so is Scouting. We now offer scouting programs that go on during after school programs. The three programs we have take place during the after school programs at Abbotsford Elementary, Spencer Kids Group and Sacred Heart Elementary School in Marshfield. These programs offer an opportunity for those kids who have parents who have such a hectic work schedule that they can’t get their son to a nighttime Scout meeting.

We hope that these kids have such a great time at the after school scouting programs that they will find the time to join a traditional scouting group that meets in the evenings. The traditional scouting groups are able to do much more with the kids than we can accomplish in our short time during the after school program, but a scouting experience at any level can go a long way in having a positive impact and a child’s life.

No matter how you are able to get your son involved in scouting the effort is well worth it in many ways. Boys who are in scouts are more likely than boys not in the program to earn better grades in school. This is especially true of those who have been Scouts for five or more years. Overall boys who are in scouting have an improved performance in academic and non-academic areas, particularly in athletic skills, science, reading, and math. Boys who are in scouts have better self-confidence, better leaders, more likely to be honest, have a stronger bond with their family, more successful in their career, more financially responsible, better environmental stewards, have an increased interest in physical fitness, attend religious service more often, and are more often involved in after-school activities such as sports, visual arts, or hobbies than are boys who have never been in Scouts.

There are many more benefits for youth and adults that get involved in Scouting. Don’t just take my work for it. Check out the website, www.scouting.org. On the left hand column click on “Research Reports” and then check out the “Values of Scouting” research report. I am a product of a scouting filled youth and I turned out far from perfect, but I wonder how many opportunities I would have missed out on if I had not been a scout as a kid. Please feel free to contact me if you have more questions regarding our great scouting program.