The Boy Scouts of America is an organization that strives to give young men the knowledge, skills and life lessons that will help them mature and succeed as they become adults. The organization offers boys a variety of benefits, including friendship, education, leadership opportunities and the chance to grow and thrive in a healthy, rewarding environment. Scouting developed during the early 1900s, when men such as Robert Baden-Powell in England and William Boyce and Ernest Thompson Seton in the United States started organizing groups of boys and teaching them outdoors skills, environmentalism and civic responsibility. Since then, scouting organizations have helped millions of boys around the world. Although the term "boy scouts" often refers to the Boy Scouts of America, it also might be used to refer to scouting organizations in other countries, all of which typically offer the same types of benefits.
Leadership and Cooperation
A boy who participates in scouting can expect to have a lot of fun, work hard, learn a lot and grow both physically and mentally. Boy Scouts emphasizes both leadership and cooperation. Each local group of scouts, or scout troop, is further broken down into smaller groups called patrols. Each patrol works as a team, sometimes competing against other patrols and sometimes working together with them. These basic leadership and cooperation lessons can prove useful later in life and can translate directly to working with neighbors and dealing with business associates.
Boy Scouts also emphasizes good living and a positive attitude. This emphasis can be seen in the Scout Oath, Scout Law and Scout Slogan, which are often recited by scouts. The Scout Oath, or Scout Promise, states: "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight." There are 12 values stated in the Scout Law: "A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent." The Scout Slogan is, "Do a good turn daily."
These moral values are taught to scouts and are practiced in community service projects. Scouts are often involved in churches and various community organizations in efforts to help the homeless, clean up parks and public areas, visit shut-ins, encourage public safety and step in wherever needed to benefit the community. Each Boy Scout is required to perform a community service project to achieve the highest rank, which is that of Eagle Scout.
Knowledge and Skills
Boy Scouts also offers its members a wealth of useful knowledge and skills, in areas such as wilderness survival, camping, fishing, photography and science. As scouts learn about these topics and gain new skills, they can earn merit badges to show the topics about which they have learned. Merit badges are available in dozens of subjects in a wide variety of fields, such as citizenship in the nation, astronomy, soil and water conservation, hiking and genealogy. By earning merit badges, scouts have the opportunity to learn information that might be useful and to develop skills as well as the confidence that goes with them, all of which can serve them throughout their lives.
Lessons for Life
The time spent in Boy Scouts benefits a boy in many ways. The friends he makes, the work ethic and morality he develops, the community service he practices and the knowledge and skills he gains can help him throughout his life. Even long after his days in Boy Scouts are over, a man still can remember that he should be courteous and kind and do a good turn daily.