Benefits of Boy Scouts/

Updated on February 28, 2013
L.O. asks from Sterling Heights, MI
16 answers

My 5 year old son will soon by old enough for boy scouts..(cub scouts) . My husband is very excited that he join boy scouts.. He says he will learn morals respect and values in boy we have been trying to teach this boy respect values and morals every day of his life.. I cant imagine what boy scouts could possibly teach in a 1 hour meeting once a month.

i take may daughter to daisy scouts .. and she makes crafts and eats a snack.. I dont see much character development.. Is boy scouts a bigger teacher of character skills??

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answers from Pittsburgh on

While I think there may be a lot for kids to learn, my son will NOT participate until BSA changes their policy on gay scouts and leaders. The local troop near us was just forming - I had a long discussion with the leader who wrestled with BSA's policy as well. He decided the potential benefits outweigh the bigotry and his troop will have the apparently usual 'don't ask, don't tell policy'. Sorry but not good enough.

Actually my son has learned a valuable character lesson. He has learned that his family does not support people who discriminate against gays. He was only 6 when we decided against, but he understands that scouts would not allow his friend Timmy to join because Timmy has two moms. And they would not allow his uncles B & M to be leaders because they are gay. Life lesson learned. We talked about this in the context of Martin Luther King, women's suffrage and WWII.

*Girl Scouts are an inclusive, non-discriminatory organization. I have no criticism of them on this issue.

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answers from New York on

In terms of Daisy scouts, either you are unaware of all of the great things Daisy's/GS do or the troop leader stinks!

My daughter is a Daisy and I am so proud of her troop! They make cards for Vets, collect food for the homeless, collect food/toys for the local pet shelter, march in parades - I can go on and on! And it will only become more impressive as she becomes a Brownie and Girl Scout.

With the right leader, scouting teaches more than just character skills.

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answers from York on

I will only allow my son the choice to join scouts if the Boys Scouts of America reverse their discriminatory stance on homosexuals. It is a hateful and damaging viewpoint. If it is reversed and gay boys and men can participate (Girl Scouts already have an open and welcoming policy on LGBT participants), then most certainly my son will be offered the opportunity to take part in scouts. Other than intolerance for differing sexual orientations, I believe scouting teaches valuable life lessons in an equally valuable group environment.

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answers from San Francisco on

Well, kids always learn more when they do for themselves and work with their peers.
Scouts (both boys and girls) teaches kids how to have goals and work as a team, as long as that's what the leaders focus on on.
Maybe your daughter is still very young, and maybe her troop leaders are still learning too, but MY GS troop(s) raised money and goods and food for the homeless, impoverished children, animals and many other charities, and my son's Cub Scout troop collected food, learned survival skills and helped build a local children's library.
Of course like anything else it's only as good as the people running it so perhaps your husband, or you, should be more involved.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

If you want to see what scouting does for character development, don't look at the earliest levels. The earliest levels address those issues THROUGH the crafts and games. Daisies do crafts to earn the petals, and the petals each talk about different character traits and goals of scouting. Tiger cubs follow a more defined path than Daisies do -- they also do some crafts, games, and "go-see-its" (field trips) to learn about their community, values, and who they are. But if you really want to see what scouting does, look at the older boys and girls who have done it for years. To me, I see very respectful, responsible kids who are amazing young adults. Our cub scouts meet every week, but even if it's once a month, it's what you do with him outside of the meetings that counts, too. He can earn belt loops and electives just with you -- and they are fun activities he can do with his whole family. It's really what you make of it. If you only go once a month and don't think about it the other 29 days, then he'll get one hour's worth of value out of it.

Both my kids are in scouting, my husband is an Eagle Scout, and my husband and I are both scouting leaders. I haven't drunk the Kool Aid on a lot of the scouting things -- there are things we don't make time for or don't feel are valuable - and we heavily debated supporting BSA because we vehemently disagree with their policy on homosexuality - but we still get a lot out of scouting and the kids feel very special doing it. And our particular pack has several gay leaders and children of gay parents, so the national policy does not impact our experience.

And if you're disappointed with your daughter's experience in Daisies, get involved -- that's why I'm a leader.

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answers from Austin on

Any kind of group activity, if run properly, helps teach morals, respect, and values. They learn how to work together, work with each other, take direction from older scouts (when they are in other types of troops that have more age range), respect for each other and adults, and things like that.

These values are also hopefully reinforced at home, also.

The problem comes when parents expect the organization (or school) to be the ONLY teacher of respect, morals, and values...... that is when there is failure. Those lessons need to be repeated and reinforced at home, as well as at the activities.

That being said, my kids were in scouts for many years... my son quit one troop because the adults WEREN'T monitoring the actions of other scouts...and my son felt picked on repeatedly by another scout. He left that troop, and went to another troop that was monitored more closely. Things went much better.

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answers from Dover on

My son is now 21 and joined Scouting as a Tiger Cub. He continued on and became an Eagle Scout. There were Pack meetings once a month but den meetings every week. There were also special events. Early on (especially Tigers and Wolf), it is more about family, school, community, and country...the foundation for the higher levels of scouting. As the boys proceed on the Scout Trail, they learn morals, respect, and other values by service and activities. They also learn skills involving camping, cooking, survival. One of the boys that was in my son's Troop went into the Marines. He was the only one in his unit that wasn't cold when they went camping because he knew about layers, changing clothes, and ventilation. This commanding officer had him teach the others.

Daisies are K & 1st grade. At that age it's about learning about sharing, recycling, friendships, etc. The craft ties it into something fun. As they move up, they will increase what they are learning. Right now they are building the foundations for good character.

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answers from Dallas on

You will see the benefits overtime. You will not see it quickly at all. My boys, 12 &15 have been in Scouts since they were in 2nd grade. Seeing them grow into mature young men, well before many of their peers that are not in Scouts, has been an amazing transformation to watch. There are things they learn in Scouts they would not learn at home or on a sports team.

Please do not pay attention to the nay sayers regarding gays in Scouts. As I am a very strong proponent of allowing gays in our troop, I would not let the issue keep my kids out of Scouts. Our kids know the BSA are discriminating but so does the church we attend, as with most churches, but we still attend.
WE, my husband and I, teach our kids about acceptance & compassion. Our kids are well rounded and are beginning understand the complexities in the world.

Scouts offer a lot, however, they DO NOT need to join at 5. I would have to say I strongly disliked the Cub Scouts but I love the Boy Scouts. I would suggest he join Cub Scouts when he is in 4th grade. That way he only has a couple of years as a Cub Scouts. They just do way too much crafty stuff and most of the burden is on the parent or leaders in the early Cub Scout years. The real benefits are with the Boy Scouts.

Oh, one other thing - don't be afraid to shop around for a troop. They are not one-size-fits-all. Troops have different styles and you can pick which one fits your needs best.

Good luck!

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answers from Austin on

The more involved they get with scouts, the more they will be given opportunities for reinforcing the morals, respect and values they are learning at home. It is good for your kids to see that what you are teaching at home is also done outside the home. It's also fun to help others as a group.

Ask questions. Ask the leaders what kind of activities they will be doing that teaches what scouts stand for. Just be sure to ask in a way that says, "How can I help?" Some leaders are overwhelmed as they may have been unprepared for their duties.

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answers from Springfield on

I started in Brownies when I was 6 and continued until I was 18. It was an amazing experience for me. It was about friendship and community service, leadership skills, outdoors skills, we sold cookies, raised money, volunteered, earned badges ... the list goes on and on. Yes, there were times when we made a craft and ate a snack. That's what Daisies do. They will probably also sing songs and play games and have some type of topic that they will learn more about. Very age appropriate. As she gets older, she will do more things.

There are many things one can learn as a Girl Scout, but the one that stands out to me is growing into a strong, independent, well-rounded person.

Scouting provides kids with a single-sex environment. It is very healthy for kids to have times when they can learn and grow in a situation where it's just the girls or just the guys.

I have very little experience with Boy Scouts, but my son will be in First Grade next year and I think he will be old enough for Cub Scouts? I would imagine that Boy Scouts can be very healthy for boys because they are working and learning together with healthy role models that help them to learn and grow and demonstrate those characteristics.

Scouting is really about becoming future leaders. It's about community.

Teaching these values at home is essential. (I think most of us agree with you on that.) Belonging to an organization like the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts will demonstrate to them that it's not just in your house but in the community that these characteristics are valued and expected.

It's a good thing! Really!

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answers from Boise on

I am biased because I am a Webelos scouts den leader (10 year old cub scouts). I am also in a church affiliated pack. We do teach positive character traits as well as practical skills. I think of the program more as an enrichment experience for the boys than anything else, we learn about geology, physical sciences, conservation, engineering, first aid, forestry, citizenship, and more useful and educational subjects. We also have lots of fun, get exercise in fun and interesting ways (relay races, hikes, swimming). I think it is a wonderful and very affordable program. My church pays all dues and pays half the cost of summer day camp. Basically parents only have to buy a uniform shirt and even that is optional (I would never tell a boy he cannot participate because he has no uniform). You would be hard pressed to find a comparable enrichment program for the same cost or cheaper. As far as girl scouts, my experience there is more limited. My daughter was a Daisy scout with an AWESOME leader but when she started Brownies her leader was awful and some of the girls were mean so she quit. She participates in a church group for girls which is just OK and we have our own version of enrichment activities that I do with her and her siblings and a few friends, I use a lot of the same activities I do with Webelos. So of course it is possible to encourage education, values, and character development without the aid of scouts, but trust me it is HARDER without that external support.

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answers from Minneapolis on

My son is a Bear and he joined before he became a Wolf. So he's been in it for two years. I've noticed he has become more confident. He is asked to share things when working on achievements. He's made a lot of friends. We have Den meetings twice a month (that is just the Bears) and Pack meetings once a month (that is the whole pack, Tigers, Wolves, Bears & Webelos). The Den meetings are where he does activities and learning.

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answers from Grand Rapids on

1st - I have been a Girl Scout leader for 10+ years now. If all your daughter is doing is a craft and having a snack, its time to talk to the leader. Even 1st year Daisies have badges, pedals and Journey books to work on. Girl Scout is SO much more than doing crafts (ok, I'll get off my soap box now).

2nd - My son is a Webelos 1 (4th grade). You would be surprised what can be taught to a group of boys in 1 hour, once a week. They have learned how to present, fold and raise the flag. They earned their whittling badge (not until Bear). They have earned their Citizenship, created wood projects, completed Pinewood Derby cars, earned their fishing beltloop, toured the local TV and police stations... it goes on. The further up the levels they go, the more in depth things get.

You can always visit a meeting and check things out. Contact your local council and talk to them. Also, keep in mind that if you put your son in a den and aren't happy with how things are going, you can switch Packs - same with Girl Scouts. Don't think you are just stuck with whatever you get.

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answers from Cleveland on

pinwood derby was what came to mind for me, Our leaders really talked to the boys about good sports manship and it was just awesome to see the boys congratulating each other and no pouting and trantruming. And my son was so proud of the car that HE designed and he and daddy worked on together.

There are other examples, just even wearing a uniform and taking pride in appearance. My son is much better at checking that his barn door is closed and his shirt tails are tucked in that sort of thing.

Just from my life experiences i can be a little jaded and some times read thing between the lines that aren't there, I believe scouts will reinforce respect, values and morals that you have taught your son. The wording "We have been TRYING to each him ..." makes it seem like you are frustrated that HE hasn't learned these things. and due to my experiences, i 'm thinking ok... this must be a high spirited kid, Scouts won't work miracles, it isn't the ARMY, so if your kid talks back or can't show empathy, scouts isn't going to magically make that happen, but it can Support what you are teaching him at home a nd it is good for him to learn to work and listen to other peers and adults. so sorry for projecting or assumign or what ever, disregard that is not the case.

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answers from Detroit on

Traditionally it teaches team work, survival, a lot of 'how to' instruction and what it takes to become a nice person with values, respect, and what a person needs in life.

Never heard of Daisy scouts, personally. It was Brownies, Jr. Girl Scouts, and Girl Scouts. Or, with some churches, Pioneer Girls. There are all sorts of social groups offering a variety of good character traits. Probably more for girls than there are for boys.



answers from Peoria on

I would consider it more of a social activity and fun times, than something that will teach your kid morals, respect, values etc. You are right, those are learned at home.

My husbands family was HUGE into boy scouts and he and his brothers were all bribed and dragged through the whole process until they earned Eagle Scout. My husband will not force this on his son, and I'm happy for it.

To talk to my MIL, she would say that putting Eagle Scout on your resume will get you the job above other applicants. I disagree, I suspect it may get a raised eyebrow and "really?" but that's about it.

I think it can be a good social activity for your son, and my husband recalls doing some camping and travel with the boy scouts he enjoyed, but take it with a grain of salt, teach your son what you want him to know at home and let him do it as long as he's having fun.

I'm a daisy leader for my daughters 1st grade girl scout troop, and it's a very social thing - a little talk about various character building, but it's a fun after school activity where the girls get to hang out with their friends and have fun. The scout leaders are not there to supplement what you are not doing at home.

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