Saturday, September 24, 2011

I Am "Boy Scout" Mom

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Boy Scouts of America. All opinions are 100% mine.

Many of you know we just relocated. The move has been challenging in many respects. Anyone who has kids knows that such a big change can trigger a chain of emotional chaos that even the best child psychologist would struggle to deal with. So I am thankful for little things that have helped us quickly resume some semblance of normalcy in our new home.

It was a blessing that school started the week after we arrived, not only for my boys, but for me too. Having them in school part of the day helped me regain some sanity while I unpacked our necessaries and tried to create a decent living space for my family.

It was also fortuitous that we are active in the Boy Scouts of America Program. The boys were able to start attending meetings here almost immediately, which brought something familiar to their lives in an unfamiliar place. It was good for them to fall right back into the routine of meeting their pack at the local church once a week to participate in different activities. This week my youngest visited a police station and was thrilled to get to ask a police officer all kinds of questions about how to catch bad guys.

I've been asked a lot lately about the Boy Scouts of America, mostly by moms who are trying to decide if the program would be a good fit for their own boys.   I am happy to share our family experiences concerning the Scouting program, because it has been such a positive experience for both of my boys. And for me too!

We have been involved in the Scouting program since the boys turned 7. They started out as Cub Scouts and my oldest is now a Boy Scout. When we first started I knew absolutely nothing about Boy Scouts other than they teach boys how to camp. Turns out there is so much more to the program! As Cub Scouts, both of my boys have learned very valuable life lessons about what it means to be a good person and a good citizen. These skills are taught during weekly meetings, but parents are expected to be involved at this level and a good part of what the boys are learning and achieving during Cub Scouts is being learned through activities that include the entire family. It has been really great for me to go through the manuals with the boys during each stage of their Cub Scout career and choose activities that we can work on together. I get to see their strengths and weaknesses from a different perspective and I get a great handle on where their outside interests may lie. For example, my youngest likes to collect things. All kinds of things...sticks, rocks, bottle caps, string, cards, keychains, dirt. You name it, he's picked it up and put it in his pocket at some point to use later. Helping him organize and preserve his "collections" so he could pass off that requirement was really enlightening and created an opportunity for us to talk and bond that might not have happened otherwise. I would ask questions about where that rock came from and why he liked it and he would explain his rationale for picking each one up. I have to admit, I didn't see the beauty in some of his choices, but he did and that's what matters. And it was a great experience for him to get up in front of his fellow cub scouts and explain his collection. Not only did he learn some geology, he's learning valuable communication skills that will give him confidence.


My oldest just transitioned into Boy Scouts. It was a really emotional experience watching him during the "crossover" ceremony, because I could tell that in his mind, this was a turning point in his life. He no longer felt like a little boy. He had accomplished so much in Cub Scouts, including getting his Arrow of Light, that he was ready to move on and take on the challenges that the Boy Scout program presents. I was a little worried, because he is not as much of a nature boy as my youngest and I wasn't sure he would enjoy all of the physical activities. But Boy Scouts offers so much more than "camping." We were really excited to find out about their STEM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). They can earn 31 merit badges from from this curriculum, including 1 for Robotics! For some reason, when he is doing things like this at school, it feels like work to him. But at Scouts, it's fun. I don't know about other moms, but I am happy to have my young man participate in activities that help him develop critical skills that are relevant in today's technical world.

As a Boy Scout, he also gets the opportunity to help plan the activities and hold a position within the troop. He learns personal responsibility and leadership skills in an environment that encourages team efforts and offers constant support. And he enjoys it!

I can honestly say that being a Scout has made him a more confident, capable person. As a mom, I want to know that when he goes out into the world, he feels like he can face the challenges that are put before him. Every time he earns a merit badge he walks away feeling more capable and confident in his abilities. How much more could a parent ask?

So would I recommend the Scouting Program? Heck yeah!! I know they've gotten a bad rap for some of the issues that have come up in the news in recent years. But I believe that bad things happen in every segment of society. Schools, churches, businesses, politics - none of them are exempt from public scrutiny and all have been found to have issues that affect people and society in a negative way at some point during their tenure. The Boy Scouts of America is a wonderful program that teaches Scouts a wholesome set of values and beliefs while strengthening relationships and instilling confidence in young men who need these skills to successfully navigate adulthood. Our family values and honors the BSA program.

So c'mon and join us... Be A Scout!!

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Christy said...

Good post! Boy #3 just started scouts a few weeks ago and he's really excited about it. If he stays with it, maybe Boys #4 & #5 will follow. I've always wanted my boys to participate, but Boy #1 lost interest early (after a mishap) and Boy #2 shies away from group activities.

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