Here is a post from Sandra Dent whom is part of the Friends of Crowell Hilaka. She wrote this from something a friend had ORIGINALLY wrote for the Black Hawk Boy Scout Council and then modified it for Girl Scouts. I have again modified it for Scouts in general, but you’ll notice the Boy Scout Slant. Thanks Sandy for sharing this and BHBSA for creating the original. It was great and I had to share it on our blog.
The purpose of camping for Scouts is not to teach our youth to be outdoor experts. Although many discover a tremendous love for the out-of-doors, and may hike, camp and canoe all their adult lives for recreation although this is not the mission of scout camping. The purpose is to develop good values, leadership, citizenship, and fitness and to prepare scouts for adulthood.
Yet camping is important in scouting’s mission – because our youth love it!
- In the process of learning outdoor skills, scouts gain self-esteem (on the journey to becoming a “skilled outdoorsman”).
- In the process of living with a scout-led patrol, planning menus, cooking, doing cleanup, etc., they learn leadership, responsibility, flexibility, compromise, conflict resolution, and more.
- In working on badges at camp, they learn to set goals, to manage their time, to forgo a game to finish requirements, to enjoy learning, and to enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishment. And, for the most part, they get to choose which badges they take!
- Scouts love being in a special group of friends. Camp gives them an opportunity to live, eat, sleep, work and play together with their Scout “group” — doing positive things and cementing friendships that can last a lifetime.
- In camp under caring, volunteer adult leaders’ supervision, scouts are nevertheless a bit freer than at home. They get wet, get dirty, and experience adversity. If their tent blows down at 2:00 a.m. on a rainy night, they have to get out and put it back up. They learn by experience and they grow. Ask any adult who has spent a summer (or five) at scout camp about their camp experiences. They remember it fondly to this day. For the great majority, it was magic!
- It does not matter the duration, as long as it is frequent and a regular part of the troop’s program.
Part of a rite of passage to young adulthood
- Being away from parents, “out on their own” (almost).
- Being genuinely needed as part of a patrol.
- Sleeping out in nature, self-reliantly.
- Choosing which badges to take for oneself.
- Being accepted in the “group.”
- Being “confident and courageous” through adversity (like dark, rainy, windy nights in a tent).
- Doing new, “adult” things like learning rock climbing or aquatic lifesaving skills.
- Absorbing the value messages from their leaders, as they stare into the magic embers of a campfire, under a canopy of stars.
All of these things and more begin to prepare them for confident young adulthood.
If they attend camp for several years, scouts become teachers and role models for younger scouts — another great self-esteem and positive value builder.
Scout camping is a critically important method that The Boy Scouts of America and The Girl Scouts of the USA use to train them for leadership and citizenship, to instill traditional values, to learn service to others, and to prepare for responsible adulthood.
Scout Camping Delivers!
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