I had the honor of speaking at a fund-raising dinner for the Boy Scouts this week. I received my Eagle Scout award back in 1991, and Scouting was a big part of my teenage years. I loved the hiking and camping, and was even able to go backpacking in New Mexico at Philmont two times. In thinking through what I learned from scouting, I remembered one experience from my freshman engineering class.
I had good grades and was blessed to have a major university scholarship to Virginia Tech. I was in a special scholarship section of my freshman engineering class with a bunch of people that were smarter than me. The professor went through a series of questions about our backgrounds. He asked how many straight A students, how many perfect scores on SAT, how many valedictorians, and finally how many Eagle Scouts were in the class. Over half the class raised their hands and shared that they were Eagle Scouts and I realized that scouting had prepared me to be a leader. That one incident gave me the confidence that I belonged.
This week at the dinner, I shared some of the leadership lessons I learned from scouting. These have helped shape me into the leader that I am, so I wanted to share these lessons with you. I learned …
- The importance of discipline – There are constant goals you are working towards, and it takes discipline to meet the requirements. You can’t quit until you reach your goal.
- The importance of working together – When you are backpacking, you have to work together and learn to get along with the people you are with. You learn a lot about conflict resolution and teamwork.
- The importance of responsibility – When teaching younger scouts or leading the group, you learn the importance of taking responsibility.
- The importance of being prepared – You never know what to expect, so you learn to always be prepared.
- The importance of ingenuity – Scouting teaches you how to be a problem solver. It’s a skill that defined my career as an engineer, and it definitely helps me in ministry as well.
- The importance of worship – You can’t help but worship when you see God’s beautiful creation. Hiking through pristine mountains teaches you to slow down and simply worship God.
- The importance of service – You learn how to serve others. The Scout Oath teaches you to “help other people at all times”
Scouting is so much more than hiking and camping, because it is a place where young leaders are developed.