1. Brennan is learning useful life skills. Last summer, he completed a first aid merit badge at camp and then showed off his knowledge to one of the assistant scoutmasters. He used his little sister as a CPR dummy at one point and then made a make-shift stretcher to carry her around the living room.
He can also safely light a fire. It's a wonderful treat to send him out in the backyard to light the charcoal so that we can grill something for dinner.
2. We can combine school subjects with Brennan's merit badge work. Right now, he's working on his Citizenship in the Nation merit badge, and we're studying American History (The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, etc) in order to fulfill those requirements.
3. Brennan is developing public speaking skills. A few months ago, he helped narrate the quarterly Court of Honor, an award ceremony that all the parents attend.
4. He had the opportunity to practice budgeting and bargain shopping skills when he was the grubmaster for a campout last fall. Instead of just going shopping for the food they needed, I gave him all of the grocery store ads and made him figure out the best place for us to go shop. He was thrilled to find everything they needed for about $5 less than the grub money he had collected from everybody. The boys love it when the grubmaster has leftover money and uses it to buy a 12-pack of Dr. Pepper to enjoy on the campout.
5. Most importantly, I love the way Boy Scouts gives Brennan an opportunity to lead. Far to many programs these days are so controlled by the supervising adults that the children rarely have the chance to develop leadership skills. Our scout troop does a great job of letting the boys plan the activities, run the meetings, and take care of themselves on campouts. It's a safe environment where boys can make decisions for themselves and then deal with the outcome. I firmly believe that none of us can learn to be a leader unless we are in a situation where we have the freedom to either succeed or to fail.
I'm sharing my love of Scouting as part of my part in a Blogging through the Alphabet challenge at Ben and Me. Even though we're nearing the end of the alphabet, you can still jump in and join us.
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