My youngest daughter is still going strong in her seventh year of Girl Scouts, and I’ve managed to land myself in the role of troop leader for the last six of those years. I’ve seen our troop of 11 girls grow up together, make incredible memories and learn important life lessons along the way. Scouting is more than selling Girl Scout cookies or Boy Scouts of America popcorn. It teaches our children important skills and helps them develop character traits and attitudes that will serve them well throughout life.

Character Development

One of the main focuses of Scouting is character development. The Girl Scout pledge is: “I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place and be a sister to every Girl Scout.”

The Boy Scout Oath states “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” The Boy Scout Law lists twelve character traits that every Scout should endeavor to embody: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

Scouts earn badges through community service and other activities that help them develop an understanding of the world outside of their small circles. For example, my girls have fed the unhoused through Mobile Loaves & Fishes, provided care to animals at an animal shelter and visited residents of an assisted living center. I have seen firsthand how they start out nervous but end up stretching themselves, making meaningful connections, and finishing the experience with a sense of confidence and pride in being able to help.

Leadership and Teamwork

Scouting provides numerous opportunities for kids to develop leadership skills and strengthen their ability to work in a team. Girl Scout troop leaders and Boy Scout scoutmasters are instructed to pass increasing levels of responsibility for planning and organizing to their Scouts as they age. Boy Scouts of America participants can also assume several designated leadership roles while Girl Scouts develop their leadership potential by discovering their values, connecting with others, and taking action to make a difference in their world.

In addition, through service projects, outdoor adventures and other activities, Scouts learn to work as a team with their fellow Scouts, collaborating, communicating and delegating to achieve their collective goals.

Confidence Building

Scouting challenges kids to take reasonable risks and to push their boundaries to achieve goals, all proven ways to help kids develop true self-confidence and pride. For example, year after year, one of my girls attempted to climb a rock wall at our annual campout without ever being able to make it past the three-fourths mark. Last year, that same girl shakily climbed all the way to the top and rang the bell as loud as she could. Her excitement was matched by her fellow troop members on the ground who all cheered her on. Without the opportunity to participate in this activity year after year with friends by her side, she likely would not have continued to take that risk. Now she has tangible proof that she can face her fears and persist to achieve her goals.

Life Skills

When you see a Boy Scout selling popcorn or a Girl Scout hawking Thin Mints, they’re not just earning money for their troop. They have participated in goal setting, organization and planning long before they made it to the sales table. Scouts are strengthening their math skills as they ring up purchases and make change. Even the many “nos” they receive – and there are many – play an important part in their development. To be able to get a rejection, pick your head up, and try again is a lifelong skill that many adults never master. Through a variety of experiences, Scouting helps kids develop life skills that will serve them well into adulthood.

How to Join

Boy Scouts of America is divided into five different programs according to age and activities and both boys and girls are eligible to join. Cub Scouts, the program open to the youngest participants, is for boys and girls from kindergarten to 5th grade. Girl Scouts offers 6 different groups according to age and only girls are eligible to join. The Daisy program, open to the youngest participants, is for girls in kindergarten and first grade.

Interested families can visit the following websites to learn more and to join a program:

Boy Scouts of America:                        Girl Scouts:                          

Alisn Bogle is a writer living in Austin with her husband and three children. A former fourth grade teacher, she now enjoys writing about children and education. You can also catch her talking about articles from Austin Family magazine each Thursday morning on FOX 7 Austin.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Austin Family Magazine

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this with your friends!