Scouting serves as helpful tool in forming good kids

I was a Girl Scout once. Actually, I was a Girl Scout for something like nine years – long after it stopped being cool.

I was only in it for the cookies.

Scouting is one of those activities – at least it was for me – where you make some really great friends. It was a nice outlet for me to get to know people, first when I was a Daisy in kindergarten, and again when I transferred schools, and therefore troops, as a Junior Girl Scout in fifth grade.

It was fun to earn badges and go on field trips and have meetings with the other girls in my grade. (Since I didn’t play sports in middle school – I don’t count being a highly un-prized member of the bowling team “playing a sport” – all I had was the school band and scouts as social activities.)

It was not fun trying to scam innocent people into buying highly overpriced cookies, just so we could be the top-selling troop. I’ve never been much of a pusher when it comes to that sort of thing.

I’m still glad for scouting, though, because I made a lot of friends and I learned a lot about potential careers. And selling cookies – maybe that’s what I should do when I grow up.

Last weekend, The Knight got the opportunity to host a den of first-grade Cub Scouts so they could earn one of their badges. They learned about how we make our newspaper, and even got to help us design their very own page on the computer.

Though the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are different organizations, it took me back to my scouting days.

I think it’s really important for kids to learn the lessons that I learned, and that the kids who were in our office Sunday will eventually learn, too, through scouting.

Scouting introduces kids to a plethora of possible careers, teaches them to work hard to earn badges and money, presents the value of education and helps them develop their social skills.

The three boys I met Sunday reminded me of how lucky I was to have been part of that experience when I was younger, and how lucky they are to be part of it now.

But Boy Scouts of America has been in the news recently for a completely different reason  – the pending decision as to whether it will allow gay members, which it currently does not. I will not voice my opinion on that here.

The point of scouting is not, nor has it been or will it be, about sexuality. It’s about making friends and learning valuable skills.

No matter what decision is finally made, although we can hope it’s the right one, scouting is overall a good organization. I’d like to see it return to nothing but that once the media coverage has died down.

Someday, it will be our decision whether we want our children to be involved.

And although I can’t say that the Boy Scouts’ answer, when they give it, isn’t going to affect my future decision-making, I am appreciative of the program’s goals as they currently are. It’s something I would definitely want my kids to experience.

Plus, hanging out with a few first-graders was a lot of fun. I think I’m the den-mom type.



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