It happened again last week in talking with some parents of a new Scout. They were lamenting about how busy their son was with all of his after school sports activities and weren’t sure he was going to be able to make the next Scout meeting.
I said I understood and I know that there are so many choices today for our kids, it is hard to prioritize what will benefit them the most. But I asked them to consider this.
I asked them what they wanted their child to get from their sports activities. Leadership, teamwork, a work ethic and exercise, was the reply. I then asked what lifelong skills would they learn. Good eye-hand coordination was the reply. I followed up with what other benefits do they get from the experience and the reply was, it gets them out of the house.
Well this is not the first time I have had this discussion with a Scout’s parents. I am a believer in being active in an organized activity, but maybe there are some other options.
Here is what I suggested they think about.
I asked if they knew what an Eagle Scout was and meant. They replied, of course, it is the highest rank and honor in Scouting and it meant they had completed a service project and were a leader amongst their peers. I asked if they knew any Eagle Scouts, and they listed several of their friends and several very successful people.
I asked if they knew who their high school star quarterback was. They could only remember his first name and that he wasn’t doing anything connected to football.
I followed with, did you know that an Amateur Radio operator requires a license from the FCC and has been the source of most of the technological advancements we have today. They were slightly dumbfounded by that. Did they know there are over 130 Merit Badges ranging from American Business to Robotics, of course with hiking and camping included.
What about that having Eagle Scout listed on your resume carries great benefits from employers, the military and colleges. Adding an Amateur Radio license in addition to Eagle, only puts the icing on the cake. They were a little taken aback.
I added that if they were looking for activities that would get their son out of the house, be physically active, engage their mind, provide them with lifelong skills, give them leadership experience, be better prepared for college, give them opportunities for scholarships, pride in their accomplishments, that they will be safe and mentored and learn to be good citizens, they might want to reconsider Scouting and Amateur Radio on a higher priority.
I am happy to share with you, that they hadn’t thought of it that way and their son would be at the next Troop meeting.
I believe in the principles of Scouting and Amateur Radio, lifelong skills and service to our communities. For my money, they are two of the best organizations for our youth today.
Scouting and Amateur Radio compete with many other activities for time in our youths’ schedules and I think we should show our pride, be bold enough to suggest they can make a difference in our youth’s lives today, maybe more than ever before. Don’t be afraid to suggest they be a priority, think about the difference it made in your life and share those experiences proudly.
Just my opinion, what do you think? I would like to hear from you. W3LNE @ARRL.net
Don Kunst EMTP, ASM T151, Bear, W3LNE
National JOTA Committee Chairman, K2BSA
Vice President of K2BSA Amateur Radio Association