In our digital age, many might see Scouting as a relic of times past – a movement from simpler days before social media and video games became the main recreation of today’s youth. With schools increasingly prioritizing standardized testing and universities favoring sports or academic extracurriculars over passion-fueled projects, one might conclude that Scouting has lost its relevance. However, quite the opposite is true. Scouting does matter for today’s young people, now more than ever.
As a member of Generation Z and an Eagle Scout, the importance of Scouting cannot be understated in my life. Growing up in a world of ever-accelerating technological innovations, my fellow Scouts and I found ourselves constantly adapting to changes. We witnessed the rise of high-speed internet, followed by the advent of cell phones, social media platforms, digital applications, immersive gaming experiences, and even artificial intelligence. Amidst this ever-evolving landscape, we recognized the need to use these technologies as tools, rather than to be used by them. That’s where Scouting came in.
On the path to Eagle, Scouts learn to wield tools effectively. Whether it’s a pocket knife, their voice when leading others, or online resources for merit badge research, being prepared to properly handle tools is deeply rooted in Scouting. And technology is no exception. By embracing the process of learning and growing through rank advancement, today’s Scouts are better prepared than ever to overcome challenges in our modern world. Far from being outdated, Scouting offers youth an opportunity to develop key skills in learning, independence, and problem-solving that they’d be hard-pressed to gain anywhere else.
Plus, being able to disconnect from the digital treadmill during a fun-packed troop campout is an experience that can only come from Scouting. Amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, being a Scout creates the time and space to pause and reflect. To simply be in nature. It wasn’t until I spent time camping in the wilderness that I began to understand the depth and wonder that exist just beyond the bubble of our everyday lives. From that renewed perspective came a sense of quiet peace, allowing me to see beyond the everyday challenges of adolescence.
Despite the changing times, Scouting remains as relevant as ever. Possibly even more so. Through my own Scouting journey, I learned to use whatever challenges life threw at me as a tool to pave my own path. The Scouting process taught my fellow Scouts and I to expect uncertainty – and do whatever we could to make the most of it. By helping shape young people into resourceful, well-rounded individuals, the path to Eagle will continue to prepare generations of future leaders to thrive in an ever-changing world.