Benefits of Scouting – A Parent Perspective

I was never a scout myself, but I appreciate what scouting has given my kids – the opportunity to explore the outdoors, make new friends, serve the community, and build leadership and other skills. Plus, through Scouting you join an active family-oriented community that you and your kids will get to know outside of school for at least 10 years or more.

If parents want to be involved in their children’s extracurricular activities, Scouting is the perfect opportunity. Scouting requires parent volunteers, and there are no special skills required – you learn as you go. As a troop or den leader, you get a roadmap for fun activities to do with your kids at every age (from 5-15). Plus, your kids will benefit from a social structure designed to help kids develop teamwork and leadership skills, and you’ll get to witness their growth and development first hand.

Here is a quick overview of what my kids gained from scouts:

Grades K-5: Fun social and skill-building activities (there are badges for a wide variety of topics). Community service projects. Opportunities for camping/hiking and exploring the outdoors. Fun traditions (like campfire skits and songs) that serve to engage kids in different ways, and provide fun bonding moments.

 girl scout bronze award project: gathering book donations for a local school

girl scout bronze award project: gathering book donations for a local school

Grades 6-8: Kid-driven team projects, opportunities for less expensive sleep away camps, and survival skills. For middle-schoolers, this is a safe, parent-protected opportunity to nurture an additional social group as they develop their self-identities. Sometimes being independent of their school group can be VERY helpful. If your kids start in scouts early, you probably know all of the parents and as a group you can help your kids ease their way through the pre-teen years.

High School: Opportunity to achieve the highest ranks of scouting (Eagle Scout for boys and the Gold Award for girls). These awards encourage young people to demonstrate their leadership and project management skills as they enlist their troop to complete a project of service to the broader community in which they live.

I’ve found that if the parent group agrees to emphasize a certain focus (robotics) or approach things in a certain way (meeting biweekly or monthly) you could do so. A friend’s girl scout troop decided to put a heavy emphasis on STEM related badges and activities, and competed in robotics tournaments as a troop. My son’s cub scout troop focused on outings that could be arranged through parent employers. My daughter’s girl scout troop eventually decided not to sell cookies in middle school, and instead each girl contributed to troop finances based on independent activities they did on their own during the summer.

Scouting is a wonderful family-oriented activity, and the opportunities and benefits are only limited by the energy you put into them!