By: Esteban Munoz
The Boy Scouts of America’s manual was published in 1911; the 12th edition was published in 2009, the organization was born in 1910 to promote the principles of self-sufficiency, value and morality, in an environment increasingly urbanized.
Today, dozens of countries have their own organizations of Scouts, ready to teach survival tactics, while promoting camaraderie, friendship, resilience and other values essential for the growth of men and women. All, to a greater or lesser extent, seek to comply with the original maxims:
On my honour, 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 me physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent
Do a good turn daily.
A key element of these groups are the famous Scout Labels: medals of merit to express the experience of young people in 131 disciplines (in the original manual were 57) such as camping, cooking, fishing, exploring, robotics, traffic, citizenship, among others. These recognitions are ideal to discover passions and even talents:
To sleep 20 nights in the forest, to learn how to create campfires, to build rafts, to make lists and plans, to describe the pieces and the team of camps are excellent construction skills, improvisation, memorization and work under pressure. That is ideal for any profession that needs physical and mental resistance.
Any aspiring firefighter benefits from this scout label. It prepares them to fight fires and rescue people in danger, as well as to prevent them and escape from the flames.
Building bridges, cabins, elevated camps or dams is crucial for anyone interested in engineering.
Some of their requirements are to prepare essential meals for a Scout: stew, vegetables, rice, eggs, bread, tea, coffee and chocolate. It also offers table rules, safety in campfires and stoves, and education on a balanced diet to stimulate growth.
The key of the scouts, the reward of getting their scout labels, is leadership. We face strong changes, which need practical education, from the beginning. Why not start in an organization led by young people?
Despite the great advances, we must guard against the “expectation-creep”: thinking that all things will come quickly and easily, without much work. Being a Scout can create the necessary resilience to share a mentality that, in the long-term, can be very harmful.
Then, let your children look for their scout labels, to be always ready.
To the ordinary public and grownups who missed on this wonderful experience, the Boy Scouts might seem a childish game. But it’s quite the opposite, it’s a healthy environment that teaches children important life skills.
It’s a creative and healthy way to get children motivated into learning and spending time outdoors, getting to know the world around them. Luckily, in today’s times, girls can also participate in it as well.
Whether you’re into outdoors or not, it’s important that you allow your children to experience this fun learning activity. And who knows? Maybe you can join in as well. You’d be surprised how much, as adults, we still have to learn.