Despite having two younger brothers in Scouts, I didn’t really know much about Scouting while growing up.

I could tell you about five or six facts:

They dress in uniform. Boy Scouts earn merit badges, and then they put those merit badges on their uniforms. More boys get injured at Scout camp than when girls go camping. My brothers met at least once a week with other Scouts. Scouts strive to get their Eagle. Boy Scouts are boys.

It wasn’t until starting an internship with the BSA that I learned more about the organization. I started to talk to men, young men, and boys about their experiences in Scouting. I learned the impact it has had on their lives.

I paid more attention when others mentioned Scouting around me. A college boy in one of my classes said that high adventure was one of the greatest experiences of his life. A speaker mentioned that faith is built at camp. As a news media major, I noticed that a lot of positive articles are written about Scouts.

I was especially impacted by a story I heard the other day of a man who endured torture in a POW camp by quoting the Scout Oath.

These incidences and many more have lead me to gain increased confidence in the power of Scouting.

I imagine many people have similar knowledge as I did about Scouts, unless they were Scouts themselves. In a recent letter published by Scouting Wire, it states:

“If you are like most people, you know that Boy Scouts go camping…and maybe fishing, hiking, or swimming, too. You know that Boy Scouts are supposed to be nice and do good deeds. That about sums up what most people know about Scouting.That’s a good start, but there is so much more.”

The author goes on to explain that he talked to people between the ages of 30 and 80 about Scouting and how it impacted their life.

Here are some of my favorites:

“A squeamish boy in Scouting will dig and be taught to use a latrine, catch a frog, handle a snake, clean a fish, and dip his hands in mud. He’ll scrape garbage into a smelly can, pull the innards out of a chicken to prepare it to be roasted on a homemade rotisserie, and will get a face full of spider webs while running merrily through the woods.”

“If your son struggles with teamwork, consider what it will mean for him to be a part of a patrol of six to eight who must work together to plan a menu on the weekend campout, buy the food, carry it into the site, store and shield it away from the critters, collect firewood, cook the food, and then clean up the pans! Do this when it is 37 degrees and raining cats and dogs, and you get a real sense of what teamwork can be!”

“A young Eagle Scout I once advised attended the National Boy Scout Jamboree, where he and his older buddies chose to enroll in classes to pursue the somewhat more obscure merit badges available there—Metallurgy, Archeology, Traffic Safety, Fingerprinting, Plumbing, Welding, Nuclear Science, Sculpture. Guess what? After taking Dog Care, he came home and told his Mom he wanted to pursue pre-med in college. Today he’s training to be a veterinarian.”

When I was young, I didn’t really think twice about Scouting. After all, it didn’t really affect me. I am a girl, after all.

Now, I realize it does impact me. I’ve learned just how many men have been blessed from Scouting. With better men, the world is a better place for me.

Since I’ve started paying attention, I realize I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like their overall experience in Scouting. I’m sure the individual is out there, but I really am glad for the good that has come because of Scouting!

Share your thoughts on Scouting below. How has your attitude changed as you’ve gotten more involved in Scouting?

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Michelle Carpenter
is a reporter for the Voice of Scouting and a marketing associate for The Utah National Parks Council. Her father, husband, and brother are all Eagle Scouts, so she firmly believes some of the best men did Scouting.

3 comments

  1. Jim Evans says:

    Your article is badly needed in a much broader audience. Thank you for taking the time to expose scouting for what it really is: Strengthening Men’s Character through a team and adventure oriented youth program.

    I am very blessed to be apart of a great troop in Arizona. I have had the great pleasure of leading the troop through 8 years and watching young boys enter and mature young men leave with the morals this country badly needs. It is indeed the untold events during a boys scouting life that shape them and grow their confidence and moral compass. It is the Scout Oath and Law that gives them direction and purpose. All young men want to be “good” and the BSA provides the structure and adult guidance to obtain and expand that desire to be “good”.

    Thank you again for your article.

  2. Christine says:

    Michelle,

    I am really enjoying your array of articles, particularly the one about the scouts who chose to go on a religious pilgrimage in the Southwestern United States. Thank you for highlighting the positive impact of scouting. We certainly need it in this day and age.

    1. Michelle Carpenter
      Michelle Carpenter ( User Karma: 2 ) says:

      Thank you so much for the compliment! I thought it was so cool that they went on a pilgrimage together.

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