As Eagle Scouts, we carry vibrant memories from our Scouting journeys with us through every stage of life. Epic troop adventures, character-defining friendships, and accomplishments beyond what we thought possible were the moments that marked our transition into adulthood. While we rarely grasp the full significance of a lesson in the moment, over time we realize that it was the small things that eventually grew to define us.
Now, as a Gen Z Eagle Scout navigating the complexities of adulthood, more and more I’m beginning to realize that it’s been the intangible benefits of my Scouting days that have truly made all the difference. In this article, let’s look back to Scouting, beyond the badges, and delve into three unsung lessons from the trail to Eagle that have most likely become pillars of your character today.
Whether packing for a camp or planning an Eagle project, being 100% prepared was always our goal but rarely our reality. While we could double and triple-check, the unexpected would almost always rear its ugly head. Over time though, in Scouting, those moments taught us to make do with what we had. We learned to keep our cool, improvise, and push toward success in any situation! Today, whether it’s moving to a new city, navigating a career challenge, or even just solving a household issue, the lessons of resourcefulness that we learned in Scouting can serve as our guiding light through the unknown.
Starting from day 1 in our troops, we began learning how to better communicate, follow directions, and support our patrols. It wasn’t always an easy path, but over time, each and every Eagle Scout stepped up to become a leader. We learned how to inspire a team, both as a guide, and as a follower. We discovered the importance of supporting others, and we did our best to pass on what we’d learned to the next generation of Scouts. Now, as a leader beyond the troop, you’re prepared to share your truth with conviction. Whether in a school or boardroom, you can rally support for your ideas and make things better for the people around you. In this uncertain world, leaders with steadfast ethics are our greatest hope for a bright future. With the lessons of Scouting etched into your DNA, maybe the leader we need is you!
3. Lifelong Learning
Nowhere else is a young person encouraged to learn so many varied skills and lessons as in Scouting. But, one thing most Scouts don’t realize at the time is that Scouting is also teaching them how to learn! Through requirements and merit badges, we discover how to take in information and apply it to our everyday lives. By constantly pushing our comfort zone, we learn to thrive by obtaining knowledge and growing. As Eagle Scouts, we’re comfortable saying, “I don’t know – but I’ll find out,” which is why, undoubtedly, Scouting creates generations of lifelong learners who are prepared for continued success.
Whatever new beginnings you face, know that, like your Eagle patch or a trusty pocket knife, these Scouting lessons will be close to your heart at all times. Ultimately, each moment is what you make of it, so strive to do your best each day. Use what you’ve learned to be a person of action, and serve as a positive representative of Eagle Scouts everywhere.
While there are no merit badges or rank requirements that recognize the value of these unsung lessons in Scouting, they will undoubtedly support us through life’s journeys. May they carry you far and broaden your impact, like the winds beneath an Eagle’s powerful wings.