By: Jared Fisher
I am a strong supporter of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the organization’s positive effects on our youth. I put all three of my sons through the program and I served for over five years as a leader as well as a scoutmaster. All of my sons are Eagle Scouts—The highest ranking in the youth program.
Over the Boy Scout’s 100+ year history, the organization has taught millions of boys and adolescents important life skills, such as First Aid and Emergency Preparedness, while instilling a set of character-building values, such as bravery, courtesy and thriftiness.
Young people across the country—but in Nevada in particular—face many challenges. It is my belief that organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts can be instrumental in helping young men and women remain on the path toward a successful future. The following are a few reasons why.
1. Scouting programs teach important skills children can’t learn anywhere else
The Boy Scouts teaches boys how to “be prepared” in a variety of situations and settings, which includes training in skills such as First Aid and CPR. Over the years, scouts across the world have made headline news for saving the lives of family members, neighbors and strangers, thanks to the Emergency Preparedness training they received in the Scouts. While the Boy Scouts isn’t the only organization that teaches survival skills, with approximately 2.4 million troop members, the Boy Scouts is one of the largest youth organizations in the country.
2. Scouting instills an appreciation for nature and a love for the outdoors
Scientific research has suggested that spending time in nature can have numerous positive benefits on a child’s physical and emotional health. Taking a walk in a park or hiking through a forest, for instance, has been shown to improve memory, vision and concentration, relieve stress and reduce depression and anxiety, just to name a few.
Unfortunately, however, due to parents’ busy lives and the demand of living in our high-tech and high-paced society, many children in Nevada and across the country are spending little to no time outdoors.
The average American child spends just four to seven minutes involved in “unstructured outdoor play” each day. By comparison, American kids spend seven and a half hours per day in front of an electronic screen. Or, put another way, children spend less time outside than prison inmates.
One of the biggest benefits of programs like the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts is that they foster a love for the outdoors. Scouting can become an especially important resource for children who come from low-income households or who live in urban areas like Las Vegas. Scouts regularly go on hikes, campouts and even multi-day backpacking trips—recreational activities that aren’t common for families who lack the resources for the necessary equipment or the time to be able to travel to nearby state or national parks. The Scouts can help to fill this gap, ensuring that children from all socio-economic backgrounds have the opportunity to discover the beauty and wonders that exist in the natural world.
3. The Scouts help to strengthen the bond between parent and child
The Boy Scouts encourages parental participation, recruiting parents as volunteers for troop meetings, campouts, fundraisers and backpacking trips. Parents of teenagers often struggle with finding ways to engage with their children, and by making parent-child interaction a core component of the program, the Scouts provide a needed opportunity for parents to strengthen the family bond and reinforce positive behavior modeling with their teens. This is especially important in the modern world we live in today, where parents are leading busier lives than ever before.
4. The Boy Scouts teach kids about the importance of giving back
The Boy and Girl Scouts of America consider volunteerism and community involvement extremely important. Whether it be trash cleanups in national parks, food bank donation drives or working in programs that assist the poor or elderly, troops collectively donate more than two million hours of volunteer service each year. In fact, it is thought that the Scouts provide more volunteer service hours than any other group in the US.
5. The Scouts teach important values children need in order to become healthy, successful adults
The Scout’s values, which have been taught consistently throughout the Boy Scout’s 100-year history, is summarized in the “Scout Law” and includes the following: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
These ideals are important in any society, but particularly in American society, where so often competitiveness is emphasized over cooperation. American children are taught from an early age the value of winning and the importance of continually striving to be the best. While those are great goals to have, the Boy Scouts has chosen to focus on the importance of doing what’s best for the greater good and teaches young men to value putting another’s needs over their own. These are vital, yet often overlooked, character traits, and it’s refreshing that the Boy Scouts continues to hold them in high regard today.
About Fisher for Nevada: FisherforNevada.com is the official campaign website of Jared Fisher, a Las Vegas businessman who is running for governor of Nevada in the 2018 election. For regular updates from the campaign, Jared Fisher Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter or tweet at him using the hashtag #HealthyNevada.