The Scouting Canvas
I'm going to an Eagle court of honor this evening. It's for a terrific scout in a different troop than my son. He's been highly active in OA and a great scout. He has contributed tons of time and effort to Scouting in our district.
So, I was wondering if boys who stay in Scouting longer actually contribute more to society than the average Joe, why is that so? Did Scouting make them into what they are, OR do they make Scouting into what it is?
I've seen a wide range of guys join the troop, from every ethnic background, financial status, popularity level, and personality profile in our community. Every year, a few of the new guys will stop participating after a few months. When asked, it is usually because they were too busy doing other things - but an occasional honest reply will be that the boy was just trying it out and decided Scouting was not his deal.
Over the next few years, some scouts will stop participating and will usually tell me their honest reasons - sports priority, lost interest in camping, got new friends.
That leaves the guys that advance through the ranks, usually to Eagle; the guys that do high adventures; the guys that run the show; the guys I think of when I think 'Boy Scouts'. These guys stay to the end and are the ones we use as examples. But, did Scouting do that to them or would they be that way anyway?
As I've watched these guys mature, learn skills, and become leaders, I've come to believe that Scouting is just a big piece of canvas.
What do you think would happen if you gave 50 people each a canvas, brush, and paints and asked them to paint something interesting? Some would cover the canvas in a single coat. Others would make stick figures. Some would make a nice picture. A couple might create artistic masterpieces.
Give them a new canvas and ask them to do it again. I'd expect the pictures would improve.
Give them another canvas and with practice the pictures improve for most of them, but there would be some that reached their limit with stick figures. They may not be good artists, but the canvas gives them the opportunity to practice, improve, and discover.
Just like the canvas gives the artist a place to explore, imagine, create, make mistakes, and safely try new things, Scouting provides many opportunities for the boy to make decisions, see results of his efforts, and modify his style in a safe community.
Through that practice, he grows into a better person than he would have been without the practice.
Posted: 13:59 10-04-2011 679
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