I will not deny that I love camping and spending time outdoors in nature — in fact, climbing, kayaking and hiking are some of my favorite hobbies — but Boy Scouts can offer a lot more than these things alone. Some of my fondest memories that I have in Scouting are participating in National Youth Leadership Training the summer of 2015 and then staffing the summer of 2016 and this summer. I have also found myself heavily involved in the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America: The Order of the Arrow. I have now been in The Order of the Arrow for three years and I look back and see the memories I have made and the lessons I have learned. Through The Order of the Arrow, I've gotten to go to events such as National Leadership Seminar, National Order of the Arrow Conference and Next: A New Century.
Learn From Experience
Through these experiences I have learned a lot, but what makes me happy is seeing others develop and become genuinely better people through Scouting. Scouting gives kids the opportunity to learn skills they may not get to learn anywhere else, such as mountain biking for example. This summer I got the chance to teach mountain biking to a different group of Scouts (some who may not be able to mountain bike anywhere else) each week for five weeks out of the summer, and each class I taught had its ups and downs, but at the end of each class I didn't have a doubt in my mind that the boys I taught had fun and learned a little bit.
Now you may be wondering how something such as mountain biking could help a kid develop and become a mature adult. I believe that our experiences shape who we are. Good experiences can help create a good person, while bad experiences can degrade a person. Boy Scouts is a place where boys can come and have these good experiences in a safe and controlled environment. In this environment they can develop a new skill and also build character at the same time.
I had one kid in my class who, at the beginning of the week, could not do a single obstacle, and by the end of the week he could run every obstacle on my skills course. He then came back a few weeks later to work a volunteer position at the same camp I was working at. I watched as my student grew in his skill and also in his life, and that is why Scouting as an organization is very important.