Sunday, August 5, 2012

The benefits of Girl and Boy Scouts

Update: We had an ongoing debate in our home for years over girl scouts versus boy scouts. Our son and his friends felt boy scouts was superior to girl scouts. I will never forget the day Shelley appeared wearing a girl scout shirt that said, " Boys drool, Girls Rule!" Both organizations reinforced learning and life skills.

From Teachable Moment, July 1996

"Recently I watched our son writing a 500 word report on an international issue. He had just finished a study on citizenship around the world. He had learned about imports, exports, tariffs, national interests, forms of government, economies, types of international laws, etc.  The realization hit me how much Scouts (Boy and Girl) had enhanced our homeschooling.

When we first starting Scouting, I thought of it more as a fun social activity. I have learned it is that and much more. I have watched the kids stretch and grow to meet challenges posed to them by their leaders and Scout manuals. Goal setting is a major component of Scouting.

Organization skills are encouraged by the Scouting process. Most of Shelley's regular meetings this past year were planning meetings. Her troop took on the task of being responsible for the 2 day event honoring girls in Florida who had achieved the top awards of silver and gold. This was a big deal! The girls had to pick out an auditorium for the ceremony. They had to select a hotel that would be nice, yet affordable to house all these troops coming into the area. They had to plan a theme for the whole event (including designing a T-shirt for every girl to wear) and a celebration party. Yes, we're glad it's all over! Oh, did I mention cleanup after the party? (Follow up years later...the ending project when these girls were going after their gold award was stocking a library in a school in Africa- quite an adventure)

Also, the Girl Scout cookie program makes a girl and her mother have to be organized! When a girl sells cookies at the mall, she has to know exactly how many of each type she brought, how much starter money she came with and then has to balance out in the end. She has to provide her leader with exactly how many boxes of each type of cookie sold-this helps to determine what gets brought the following days. Of course, counting real money and giving correct change back teach important skills!

Planning for a camping trip also reinforces organization skills. Deciding upon and then packing needed items is a big process. The older two children have become very skilled at this and I no longer even check behind them. Jared and I both overlooked his mess kit one time and that's all it took for him to remember it forever!

Learning to interact with the community as well as the other Scouts and leaders is another benefit of Scouting. I watching in amazement as Shelley approached the owner of the bowling alley to request free bowling tickets for door prizes for the awards ceremony! (Followup: Shelley was an extremely shy child). I couldn't see myself doing that at her age. She also had the neat experience of followiing Representative Marjorie Turnbull around one day while the legislature was in session. She was allowed to be a page one morning. Representative Turnbull was a Girl Scout herself and likes to make this opportunity available to them.

Even regular academics get worked in. I really like this part! Lindley's troop did a number of science experiments this past year and had a Science and Math Day at the Girl Scout camp. Jared is at the stage of giving oral and written presentations to demonstrate knowledge learned.

I've enjoyed the assistance Scouting has given our homeschooling experience. I'm sure other organizations, such as 4H, would accomplish the same thing. Sometimes it gets hectic with 3 children in 3 different troops, but the rewards have been many."

Followup: I didn't write columns during Matthew's majority of homeschooling, so will be adding in some things about his schooling process. We did end up utilizing 4H for him and he thoroughly enjoyed the group activities as well as the individual projects he worked on at home. Entering those county fairs has brought in some income for some young homeschoolers. Many people are not aware that there are many contests the young ones can enter into with cash prizes, not just the ribbons.

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