Scouting has meant a lot to me and my family. The Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of America provided many years of wonderful adventures and experiences for my sons and daughters. One of my sons is an Eagle Scout. One of my girls earned her Gold Award, and the other came within inches and I’m proud of the projects they each completed. I was an adult member and leader in both organizations as my children went through, and I had the pleasure of organizing my son’s troop’s backpacking program for several years, culminating in a trip to the Philmont Scout Reservation.
Nothing is perfect, of course. There has been some confusion and discrimination in the past. I’m heartened by the strides the Boy Scouts have made recently in opening their doors to members that have been previously discouraged. (Not that there haven’t always been scouts and leaders of every orientation. There have been; including Eagle Scouts and great inspirational leaders. But I guess the orientation question was more of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” for most of the troops out there.)
But enough about politics. I encourage parents to consider scouting, or other outdoor activity organizations. Team sports are great, too, and I know a whole lot of parents are keyed in to the benefits of having their kids play. But scouting is a different kind of activity with benefits at least as great. Children learn about the outdoors. They learn about leadership and first aid. They participate in community service activities and get a new feel for the world around them.
Don’t take my word for it. Go see for yourself. For those in the Los Angeles area, the Youth Expo is coming right up. It will be at the Rose Bowl on May 30, 2015. More than 15,000 parents, volunteers, community members and Scouts are expected to attend. There will be exciting activities, Scout booths, games and more. And it’s FREE. So free up some time. The Expo is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.