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Scouting provides a framework to help teach kids skills they can use for the rest of their lives

First let me introduce myself — I am a third generation scout, I grew up in the scouting program and my dad grew up in the scouting program in Mexico as well as his father before him. My two sons have been in scouts as Cub Scouts and now Boy Scouts of America. I am a volunteer for our cub scout pack, BSA troop and district. My wife is a volunteer in scouts as well and her grandfather was a scout and a scoutmaster in the program. I believe in this program and, after reading my words, I hope you do as well.

Let's start with the elephant in the room: 'Scouting today is irrelevant,' 'scouts are bigoted,' 'the BSA is bankrupt,' 'there's abuse happening in the scouts,' etc. You may have heard those things from friends, from family members, from the news. Additionally, you may feel like your child is already committed to a lot of activities. 'It's hard to get involved.' 'We don't camp.' Your child is already too old to join, etc.

I will be completely honest — the first few months of 2020 have been rough for the scouting organization locally and frankly for our country.

You may have investigated getting your child involved in scouting. You may have even visited our local council page or national page and gotten information but weren't persuaded to register your child in the program and I may know why: they didn't explain to you the real reason to get your child involved. It may seem arrogant, but I think I can explain the purpose of scouting to you in five simple words: Train scouts for peaceful citizenship. Think about that message for a minute — the five simple words to explain the entire scouting movement and the purpose of scouting.

Individually those words are simple. Together they make a very powerful statement. When you think of scouts, what is the first image of a scout that comes to your mind? Probably a group of youth going camping or helping at a food bank? Those images are correct but only encompass part of scouting.

Scouting provides a framework to help teach kids skills they can use for the rest of their lives: leadership, communication, service, conflict resolution, steadfastness, self-sufficiency, sportsmanship, and, most importantly, resilience (how to fail). Without failure, a person cannot learn. If a person cannot learn, they cannot grow. Scouting provides an environment where a scout can learn how to fail, and some scouts fail in a spectacular manner. Scouting provides practical experience for skills that will carry forward with the scout throughout their life no matter where it takes them, from working as a ranger in our national forests to being a CEO in a Fortune 500 company.

By fulfilling the promise to train scouts for peaceful citizenship we can help your child become self-sufficient and resilient in all aspects of their lives.

David Martin is a Wilsonville resident, assistant scoutmaster for Wilsonville BSA Troop 199, assistant cubmaster for the Wilsonville Cub Scout Pack 199 and a Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner for the Sasquatch District of the Cascade Pacific Council


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