Being a part of the Boy Scouts was a huge part of my life. I became an Eagle Scout at the age of 15 and continued on to earn 11 Eagle Palms, which are awarded for every three months of continued activity, leadership, and five merit badges. Scouting played a huge role in making who I am today. Today, I am a college student. To most people, they believe that scouting only teaches you to build fires and set-up tents, but scouting truly teaches you so much more.
1. Tying Knots
You read that right. Anyone who has to deal with moving and transporting equipment has had to know a good knot or two to hold everything together. As a rower, when we leave to compete, we have to tie up our boats, oars, riggers, and other equipment tightly so that they do not fall off the trailer. It also applies to moving in and out of dorms. Have to tie extra bags to the roof of your car or secure them in your truck bed? There is a knot for that too. I certainly know a few people in the rock climbing club who definitely need to know knots too.
2. Time Management
Five merit badges each month sounds easy right? Having to work with a merit badge counselor, Scoutmaster, whoever manages the merit badges, and not to mention getting all the requirements done can get a little complicated. It takes time and planning to make sure you can get everything done on time. Group projects are a breeze if you can get your work done, schedule around your group members' times, and get it turned in on time. The same goes for multiple homework assignments from different classes. Manage your time and set goals. They will be easily completed without a rush.
The ability to work with people of all kinds is an important skill for many aspects of life. Being in the Boy Scouts has allowed me to meet and work with a variety people from many walks of life. Those experiences have allowed me to enhance my own teamwork abilities, and thus help my team. I'm not just talking sports teams. There are other groups that require teamwork too, like study groups, lab partners, and group assignments.
Speaking of teamwork, sometimes you have to take the reigns. Leadership is a core value in the Boy Scouts. Scouting offers a variety of leadership roles such as quartermaster, historian, patrol leader, troop guide and more. The most important form of leadership I learned was servant leadership. The team does not work for you, you work WITH the team. I have found this form of leadership to be most applicable to those in leadership positions of clubs. The best way to improve a club is to lead the way, not tell the members which way to go and watch them wander.
No, I do not have a gas stove or fire pit in my dorm room. Yes, I have taken two Home Ec classes. What I mean by cooking is how important food and the preparation of it is. Home Ec taught me how to cook and health class barely taught me the food pyramid (Is that still a thing?). Cooking in scouts has taught me how to properly nourish myself on my own. I've learned how to make the best, quick cold cut sandwiches and can cook up an exquisite meal using only leftovers. Being the grubmaster on camp outs has also taught me to be thrifty when buying enough food, even finding good deals for a little extra. Using every bit of what you buy can help cut into your grocery bill.
Thanks to scouting, I have had the opportunity to travel to many places and do many things I would have not been able to without. Going to all of these places and doing so many activities usually required me to get used to a new environment. When I attended the World Scouting Jamboree in Sweden, I had to learn to communicate with people who did not speak my languages, English and German. While I was at the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience in Philmont, I had to get used to the hot and dry environment while performing first aid and search and rescue exercises. Let's just say the weather doesn't bother me anymore. College will end up placing you in many different situations that you will have to adapt to or risk not performing well.
Scouting offers many outdoors adventures from hiking to whitewater rafting. Everything we did required some level of physical fitness. PE and Health class did teach me about physical fitnes, btu scouting really nailed how important it is to maintain a good level of physical fitness for life. In college, we are usually confined to a desk, bench, or bed. It's is easy to pick up that habit of staying there and continuing it once you leave college. If I maintained a more sedentary lifestyle through college, I would not be able to do all the activities I loved doing in scouts once I leave.
8. First Aid
I'm not talking about running to the scene of an accident on you way to class, I'm talking about the little things that can add up. Knowing first aid also means you knows how to treat yourself. While studying, it is easy to focus too much on that and not on your health. I have had several friends become very dehydrated because they did not bring a drink and did not want to leave to go get one. First aid also comes in handy in case of an accident in the lab for you science majors.
Giving back to your community is something I firmly believe in. Whether it is a merit badge or an Eagle project, scouting requires community service to be performed in some way. There are a multitude of ways you can serve your community. When you help out your community, you build a bond with the people you work with. It is an excellent way to get you out of your room too.
10. Fun and Work are not mutually exclusive
The Order of the Arrow, a group within scouting, emphasizes cheerful service. It has taught me that no matter how arduous my task, I can do it with a smile. It may not be the most fun thing in the world, but I can make the most of it. You can enjoy whatever work you are doing as long as you view it that way.
11. Keeping to my Values
Even though I am no longer a Boy Scout, I continue to live the Scout Oath and Law in my everyday life to the best of my ability. These sets of values have helped guide my morals and decisions as I matured. In college, you will have your values challenged. Of course, this is not a bad thing. You should also listen with an open mind, btu you should not be so quick to change your mind on your values. Scouting gave me firm groundwork to lay my values, ethics, and morals. I still build on it to this day.