“I’m a better leader,” junior Austin Urlaub said. “You learn how to do speeches and other life skills. There’s a lifesaving merit badge and there’s first aid. There’s a lot of stuff like that.”
Urlaub notes that being a part of the program has taught him many leadership techniques and that he’s gained a lot of skills he wouldn’t learn in conventional classes. These skills can be applied to everyday life and can also help the boys with things such as work or volunteering.
“[I’ve learned] life saving skills, so being a lifeguard is a little easier,” Urlaub said.
Along with learning unique skills, scouts can gain new experiences and build new friendships.
“I’ve met a lot of really cool people and made a lot of friends,” senior Sam Devine said. “One of the biggest [lessons] has been leadership.”
Devine worked for the National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) run through the BSA and notes that he was given a lot of leadership opportunities he wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.
The BSA motto says: “Do a good turn daily.”
Camping trips, volunteering, and service projects are ways scouts can demonstrate their skills, positivity, and good turns.
“I really like going on the camping trips and helping out the younger people in my troop.” Urlaub said.
A milestone for some scouts can be earning the title of Eagle Scout, which is the highest level of achievement in scouting. One thing that all boy scouts have to do to obtain their Eagle Scout title is to complete their Eagle Scout project. This project must show how they demonstrate leadership skills while also giving back to the community.
“I built a bunch of instruments,” Devine said. “I built two xylophones, two windchimes, and two harps for the Nature Center. I didn’t really know how to do anything, it was just hard.”
Eagle Scout projects can leave a long lasting effect on the community. Some things often done as Eagle Scout projects are building Gaga ball pits, playgrounds, or leading a volunteer group since they fit the criteria. The structures built by the scouts are still present and community members see it
as a constant reminder of how the program can always be supporting the area. Urlaub feels that the purpose of the BSA is to turn boys into better men, and help contribute to society.
“They can have better lives and know skills and provide good lessons,” Urlaub said.
The program can be beneficial not just to it’s scouts, but to the community they’re a part of. Some scouts may feel encouraged to help lead and contribute to the people around them. The program’s central focus is not just on camping and wilderness preparedness, it’s about bettering yourself as a scout to contribute to society.