Guest author- Tina Sansone
A young Scout sets goals starting at a young age in Cub Scouts until he reaches the rank of Eagle Scout. Most of the time, right along side him and his Scout master, are his parents. The parents can help motivate and inspire the Scout in setting and achieving goals. The following are some examples of what Scouts might be involved in.
Cooking: From the very beginning making their own meals is a requirement for Scouts (even with a little dirt mixed in, the meal tastes so good!). As a mother, I helped my son work on his foil dinner: hamburger patty, potatoes, carrots and onion, YUM). We packed up plenty of graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars, YUM, YUM for smores.
Tying knots: I have two sons. One is just beginning and the oldest, 18 years, just received his Eagle. For my Eagle, knots were hard for him, but the youngest seemed to catch on fast. We practiced and even had an older Scout come over to help. We had ropes all over the house tying knots. It was really a lot of fun. I now even find myself using the knots I learned right along side them.
Citizenship in the community: I went with my son to view a local court. Some of the Scouts participated in the flag ceremony. They were able to see their city court in action as current laws were passed that would affect their community. The police were there and shook hands with them; this reinforced to the boys that the police are friends and there to help them.
Personal Management: This merit badge helped us develop within our family a way for our sons to work around the house and earn money. They organized a budget and kept track of their money for 3 months. It made them aware of where their money was spent and ways to save.
Personal Fitness: My Eagle Scout did very well with this. He enjoys going to the gym and working out. He kept tract of his work outs for about 3 months. I would go with him and this also motivated me to exercise. My sons learned about healthy foods with this goal.
The three most important badges, to me, were the Swimming, First Aid and Camping merit badges. Scouts are often camping near lakes and a lot of the boys have swimming pools. Besides learning techniques on swimming strokes, they are taught lifesaving skills. My sons learned how to take off their clothes and turn them into floatation devices. This merit badge is always tested yearly and their skills are kept up to date. They are not allowed to participate in water activities unless they pass their swim test.
First Aid is a merit badge that Scout leaders take very seriously. The Scouts learn about burns, strokes, snake & spider bites, heart attacks, poisoning, nosebleeds, broken bones and much more. Most importantly, they learn CPR and receive the proper technique by someone certified. I have heard many stories about young Scouts saving lives of someone who has quit breathing!
Camping is one of the fun and rewarding parts of camp. Depending on his troop, the frequency of camping can vary. Scouts learn how to pitch a tent, build a latrine, cook their food, keep track of their own clothes, hiking, participating in a skit and many more activities. Merit badge clinics are set up so they can work on a particular merit badge while at camp. Many boys can achieve several merit badges at one camp if they choose to.
Friendships are established through Scouting. Boys learn how to help each other set and accomplish goals. They learn respect as they work with their leaders. Patriotism for their country is taught and they have an opportunity to participate in several flag ceremonies. They learn what it means to be an American and the importance of being a good citizen of the community, nation and world. The leadership skills they develop as young men in Scouts will follow them the rest of their lives.