Monday, February 15, 2010

Scouting Celebrates 100 Years In America

How could I let February slip by without mentioning the centennial of Scouting in America. Although it first originated in the United Kingdom in 1907 by General Robert Baden-Powell Scouting  first came to America on February 8, 1910 and this massive youth organization has been unstoppable ever since. Today there's 4 million youth members in the BSA and over 110 million Americans have been members at some point in their lives including Presidents Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

No doubt about it, Scouting has had an enormous impact on American culture for 100 years and I am more sure than ever that it will continue in strength for another 100 years. Why? The simple answer in my opinion is because "boys will be boys" and the BSA meets their needs for adventure ten-fold. Despite a modern culture that now seems to foster less personal responsibility and self-reliance and with political correctness gone berserk at every turn.. I still predict that Scouting will become larger and stronger than ever before.

Scouting offers the experiences that a boy needs to be successful and the kind of activities that have been engrained in their very being for eons. It's hard to erase those impulses that makes boys boys.

Scouting is light years apart from the prepackaged entertainment produced by modern culture and overprotective parents. Sure it seems easier to just place the kid in front of a TV screen or video game inside the house all day but doing so will produce only mediocre adults at best. Boys need adventure, hands-on activity, competition, and opportunities for "in the field" leadership. Scouting is all that and much more.

Sometimes it can be pretty hard to "unplug" a boy when they first come to camp but it's usually not long before they begin to see the opportunities and to engage. There's just something about pitching your own tent and sleeping in it overnight... paddling a canoe for 50 miles, or learning to shoot a bow & arrow that brings out the best in a kid. These are the kinds of experiences that build real friendships, quality parent-son relationships, and the character that leads to the husbands and fathers of tomorrow who will always be there for their family. You'll never reach these kinds of levels by following the path of least resistance which can be found in abundance in today's culture where parents allow their children to play mindless video games with no limits. As seen in the pictures to the left, I had very little time for TV when I was a youngster.

One of the best things about Scouting is that a troop is youth led. At a certain age, usually by sixth grade, most boys begin saying to themselves, "That I don't need to listen to adults as much". But when an older boy tells them to "Clean up your tent" or "Do the dishes" they listen. Peer pressure works miracles and the Scouts of today are youth-led.

Membership in Scouts only costs $15/year and about $200 for summer camp. No doubt about it you can't get a better bang for the buck when it comes to building character for the next generation. So long as Scouts continues to be youth-led, high adventure, and 100 percent hands-on then it will be around for another 100 years. Happy anniversary!

1 comment:

  1. Here here. Scouting was one of my better childhood memories and I learned more during that time, than I did in school. not only about nature and friendship, but honor and useful life lessons. Thanks Dave! Good Memories.