So, the Boy Scout Motto is “Be Prepared”. But, be prepared for what? When Baden-Powell, the founder of the scouting movement, was asked this question his replay was “Well, for any old thing”.
Scouting, in its purest form, isn’t just being prepared for a camping trip or being prepared for a hike but being prepared for life. It is doubtful that most scouts will ever use their orienteering skills in everyday life. It is good to know and cool to show off to your buddies. However, it is not really something to put on your resume.
Scouting does more than just build on your scouting skills. It is meant to also build on your confidence that you can do these things and do anything you put your mind and will to do. Scouting can be as challenging as you make it.
It isn’t always the lifesaving skills, but it could be.
I will share one event that ‘may’ have been shaped by scouting. One day when I was a boy, my sister and I were playing at a community pool. It was fully lifeguarded, lots of folks there. We were both jumping off the diving board. (Well, I have never been much of a diver but was doing some cool belly flops.) Well, she was right after me and after I got out of the pool, she jumped of the board and hit her head on the way down. At that moment, a decision must be made. Do I wait for her to come up or assume the worst? As I noted, there were lifeguards. There was one in the diving area. But, she did not see my sister. So, I jumped in and pulled her out using the skills I learned at scout camp. Would I have done the same thing if not a scout? Hard to say.
Not too long ago my older son, then 4, was eating a taco at a fast food establishment. Not one for chewing, he started choking. Another decision. You could have learned the Heimlich anywhere. I happened to have learned it at scout camp. I was quite a bit older but still remembered my training from then. He could not speak and his face was turning red. Of course, my wife is freaking out. But, thankfully knowing this lifesaving maneuver helped me to know what to do. Within a few seconds (felt like forever), the tortilla was dislodged from his throat and he was breathing again. Tears of joy!
Final example. This one was on a camp-o-ree with my scout troop. It was a hiking themed camp-o-ree. Using the Buddy System, four of us went off on one of the Hikes that we were supposed to do that day. Well, one of the scouts decided it would be a good idea to jog through the hike and get done faster. So we did. It turned into a run. Something you must realize about these scout camps is that they used to be used for other purposes. This one apparently was used to keep animals in or wanted to keep animals out. They thought they had removed the old barbed wire from the trail and area but a piece running across two trees was missed. It was not directly in the ‘path’ but right off the path. Imagine 3 trees. The two on the left were the borders of the actual path, the two on the left were the ones that had the barbed wire. Well, guess which way I went. Yes, I ran smack dab into two rusty old barbs. As soon as I hit it, instant pain ran through my legs. And then the blood. I was wearing shorts so the barbs went right through my skin with some pretty bad gashes. I fell on the ground. Thankfully, the scout that was behind me stopped and helped to stop the bleeding using his shirt. Then the other two came back to see what was going on. Two then went off to find help as I was unable to walk. (I get very lightheaded at the sight of blood) They brought back more scouts. Being that I was unable to walk any long distance and it was quite a ways out of the woods, they fashioned a stretcher out of small poplar trees that they cut down and their shirts. It was a pretty cool makeshift stretcher. They then lugged me out of the woods and up to the nearest road where I was sent to the ER for stiches and a tetanus shot. It was good to be with scouts that day.
Just a few examples on how I believe I have been prepared or have been with others that are prepared because of scouting.