What Benefits do Boy Scouts Offer?

J. S. Petersen
J. S. Petersen

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.

The Boy Scouts engage in hiking.
The Boy Scouts engage in hiking.

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.

Some Boy Scout troops work to help the homeless.
Some Boy Scout troops work to help the homeless.

Values Taught

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."

Boy Scouts emphasize both leadership and cooperation.
Boy Scouts emphasize both leadership and cooperation.

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.

Boy Scouts offers its members knowledge in areas such as wilderness survival.
Boy Scouts offers its members knowledge in areas such as wilderness survival.

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.

Boy Scouts emphasize having good morals, such as helping out a stranger in need.
Boy Scouts emphasize having good morals, such as helping out a stranger in need.

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.

The Boy Scouts teach tips for dealing with common outdoors issues, such as insect bites.
The Boy Scouts teach tips for dealing with common outdoors issues, such as insect bites.
J. S. Petersen
J. S. Petersen

Jeff is a freelance writer, short story author, and novelist who earned his B.A. in English/Creative Writing from Creighton University. Based in Berkeley, California, Jeff loves putting his esoteric knowledge to good use as a wiseGEEK contributor.

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Discussion Comments


Boy Scouts no longer teaches skills; it just exposes you to them. You do not have to acquire a single skill to become an Eagle scout, you just have to show you tried and are then passed. Only one of our last ten Eagles from our troop could actually start a fire. The rest could not without large amounts of lighter fluid and paper. Most Eagles are parent eagles: the parents pushed hard and did all they could to help the boy get his Eagle Scout badge. There is virtually no leadership training; all decisions and planning are by the adults. The boys are told what is going to happen.

The worst part about scouting is the adults. Both my boys said that NYLT National Youth Leadership Training was the best thing in Scouts because there were few adults around telling you what you had to do. Both my boys opted out of scouting after seeing the "quality" of the boys earning Eagle: a thief, a bully, a boy who never showed up, but magically got everything signed off by his father. Or the boy with the swimming and life saving merit badges who couldn't swim and had to stay in the 3 foot deep area at summer camp.

Then there were the parents, like the scout master who screamed at all the boys all the time and found different "legal" ways to punish those who didn't treat him like a god. There were parents who said boys should never make any decisions, the parents who did not understand that a vote in committee meetings meant nothing as the "secret" committee of 3 or 4 parents made all the real decisions and would do as they wanted.

You can join any troop you want but it can go from a good troop to a bad troop in one year with the change of just one adult. Join a school sports team. You will be better off. Teach your kids camping skills. It is a great bonding experience and will do more than today's scouting will.


Bhutan- In order to join, you would have to access the Boy Scouts website. On the website you would locate the closest troop to your location.

Usually once the Boy Scouts of America has located a troop leader in your area you can then contact the Troop leader in order to attend meetings. You will have to leave your contact information and someone from the office will follow up with you.

Each individual chapter may have its own website and they follow certain rules. If there is no troop in your area it is very easy to start your own Boy Scout troop.

The Boy Scouts of America does provide extensive training for those seeking leadership positions within the organization. These are usually volunteer positions and most of the meetings occur after school, at the troop leader’s home, or in a school cafeteria.


Latte31- Boy Scouts of America often go to Boy Scout camp in the woods or mountains. Camping activities usually teach Boy Scouts teamwork and resourcefulness which really is the cornerstone of the Boy Scouts of America values.

I always wanted my son to join, but I never knew how to go about joining. Does anyone know how to join a Boy Scout Troop?


Moldova- What is Boy Scout camp like?


Anon15837- I did not know that. It is really good to know.

I wanted to say that the Boy Scouts of America is really a community-based leadership program that teaches young boys how to become responsible citizens when they grow up.

Often Boy Scout badges are given based on the completion of different assignments that the Boy Scout leader provides.

Sometimes these assignments are community service based, other times it is just whether pure knowledge of an area that they are discussing.

Usually the badges are designed to motivate the Boy Scout to learn about certain values that the troop leader wants to address.

The Boy Scout then place these badges on their Boy Scout uniform which usually consists of a khaki short sleeve shirt and shorts along with the signature scarf.

Often Boy Scouts receive Boy Scout merit badges that are provided to Boy Scouts when they provide many years of service. This is really set out to complement the Boy Scouts that have a long service history with the organization.


Robert Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouting movement in England. William Boyce brought the formal organization to the United States, and the organization grew and prospered through contributions of James West, Ernest Thompson Seton, and Daniel Beard.

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