Should your child join the scouts? Or any other of the several different smaller groups with a similar ethos. Some are linked to religious groups, others geographically, but they are all similar. Every parent wants to do everything they can to contribute positively to their child’s development. Allowing them to join Scouts or Guides is another avenue to do that. These organizations are designed to deliver educational programs and outdoor and adventurous activities. Each of these activities, usually broken into groups, have leaders trained to deliver them. Each leader goes through a thorough screening process that includes a Police Records Check, appointment panel interview, and provision of personal references. They can offer your child experiences that you yourself are unable to do. I have been involved in Scouts leadership and therefore have a good knowledge of this. I can assure you that the recruitment vetting process for leaders is similar to that of a teacher.
Across the world, some five hundred million people have been Scouts, including prominent figures like Michelle Jordan, Neil Alden Armstrong, Bill Gates, and Barack Obama. Today, forty million Scouts reside across over 220 countries around the world. These organizations are value-based and inclusive, so you don’t have to worry even if your child has disabilities or special needs. Plus, their doors are always open to parents who want to see firsthand the values imparted to their children.
Reasons to Encourage Your Child to Join Cubs, Scouts, or Guides
Every child can benefit from joining Guides or Scouts. “The values of Scouting—trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example—are important for both young men and women,” said Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh. A National Child Development Study found that children who participate in organizations that promote self-reliance, teamwork, and outdoor activities are likely to have better mental health in middle age.
Around one-quarter of study participants had been in the Scouts or Guides. Those in this category are 15% less likely to suffer from anxiety or mood disorders compared with others. “It is quite startling that this benefit is found in people so many years after they have attended Guides or Scouts,” said Professor Chris Dibben, lead researcher of the study. “We expect the same principles would apply to the Scouts and Guides of today and so, given the high costs of mental ill-health to individuals and society, a focus on voluntary youth programs such as the Guides and Scouts might be very sensible.”
Below are some other reasons to encourage your child to join the Guides and Scouts.
- The principles are exemplary. The whole point of joining Guilds or Scouts is to improve your child all-around. In that regard, the principles of Scouts, for example, seeks to improve every member in every way possible. Their principles uphold fitness, uprightness, bravery, courteousness, cleanliness, kindness, friendliness, and trustworthiness. Their system promotes self-education through personal progression, adult support, and learning by doing.
- They learn to lead. As a member of a youth organization, your child will be given responsibilities that can help mold them into leaders. As a Scout, they take up positions of responsibility such as Troop Guide, Instructor, Venture Patrol Leader, Den Chief, Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, Historian, Senior Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Quartermaster, Scribe, Librarian, Bugler, and Troop Webmaster. These positions mostly require some form of organization, leadership, and interaction. Through this, they get to learn how to work with others. The essential soft and transferable skills often missed in formal education and there is rarely a certificate for.
- They meet new people and make new friends. How your child interacts with others has an impact on their development. Encouraging them to join a youth organization opens up their world. Children from different cultures, backgrounds, and religions enroll in youth organizations. Also, adults from different professions join these organizations as volunteers. Your child will get to meet business managers, developers, lawyers, and doctors. Interacting with all these people is an education on its own.
- They get to participate in outdoor activities. Some children can plant themselves in front of their video games all day. This can get frustrating for parents who want their children to go outside and play. Being a member of a youth organization is one way to get your child outside with other children. With youth organizations like the Cub Scouts, your child needs to earn rank badges. To do this, they need to participate in outdoor activities. Scouts organize many fun outdoor activities, including visiting nature parks, camping, geocaching, tags, or gaga balls. Here we discuss the importance of children playing outside and how to help your child to organize themselves.
- They pick up essential skills. Most parents would like to teach their children as many skills as possible. But they might not always be able to do that, either because they don’t have the skills themselves or can’t find time for it. “The Boy Scouts really is a great organization in teaching skills that other places don’t,” said Leslie Slingsby, executive director of Mission Kids. “For example, my son was really interested in science and the outdoors, and this is a really unique organization that focuses on both of those things.” In youth organizations like Cub Scouts, children learn knot tying, map reading, building wood projects, basic first aid skills for treating nosebleeds, cuts, insect bites and blisters. They also learn soft skills like conflict management, teamwork, and communication. Here we discuss how to develop social skills in children.
- A chance to bond with your child. Youth organizations like the Scouts allow parents to watch and even participate if they so choose. Other family members can join too. Watching your child learn and put their skills to good use is a huge bonding moment. You won’t forget the first time you watched them build something, bake a cake or earn a rank badge. These moments don’t come along all the time. I, personally, believe that if you are expecting a volunteer organization to help your child, you should be willing to give some time back as well.
Final Thoughts as to Whether Your Child Should Join the Scouts
Overall, it is essential to choose which Guide or Scouting program is best for your child. Boys Scouts now welcome girls who want to join them as members. While some people saw this move as a win, others saw it as a ploy to boost declining membership. Anyhow, girls who want to join can now do so. But how do you know which is best for your child?
The Boys and Girls Scouts uphold different values. The Boys Scouts Law has words like trustworthy, friendly, obedient, thrifty, and reverent. While the Girls Scouts Law has words like strong, considerate, honest, fair, responsible and caring. A survey by FiveThirtyEight sought to see which of those words capture the values of Americans. Respondents saw 90 percent of Girls Scout’s values as somewhat or very important. While the Boys Scouts value was 83 percent. Boy Scouts’ values of “obedient,” “thrifty” and “reverent” got the lowest scores. Hopefully, this survey should help you make a decision.