I started Scouts when I was only 5 years old. Back then I was shy and scared of talking to people I didn’t know. Throughout the years, Scouting has helped me develop a number of skills, make close friends, and gain independence.
My Scouting journey started off when my parents dropped me off at my very first Beaver meeting. At the time, I was a very shy and timid kid who certainly did not enjoy being away from her parents. I remember feeling so uncomfortable and nervous because I did not know anyone else. I was put in an uncomfortable situation and had two choices; to either hide in a corner or wait a whole hour until it was time to go home. The other option was to join in with the other kids, possibly make a friend and maybe even have fun. Obviously, I chose the second option. After that first meeting I made friends that are my closest friends today. Furthermore, I developed a better view of myself that allowed me to be comfortable with who ever I was talking to. After sometime, I was no longer scared of meeting new people. In fact it has became one of the things I love most about Scouting.
In the Scouts (11-14 years) and Venturers (15-17), the program changes from being led by the adults to a program being led by the youth. This means that the youth in the program are given more opportunity to work on leadership and independence. With support from our Scouters, we are given the chance to plan camps and activities that we would like to see happen. Through this youth- led program, we develop skills that we can later implement in our daily lives.
For example, before we go camping, we need to create a budget to know how much money we can spend on transportation, food, and equipment. By learning how to create a budget, we learn the responsible use of money and how to use it where and when it is needed. Because I have learned these skills now, it allows me to gain independence so that when I am older, I will be able to make better money management decisions.
Throughout the Scouting movement, each Section has a motto. These mottos have influenced me today, and are part of values that I carry close to my heart. For example, if I run into an unexpected situation I will be prepared because as I have been taught in Scouts, we should always “be prepared” for the unexpected. As I get older I am now getting closer to graduating high school which means that I need to start thinking about post secondary or other plans. Sometimes it can be very stressful because I never know how things will turn out. But I always remember the values I learned in Scouting; if I do my best, everything will be okay in the end. The Venturer motto alongside the Troop Section follow closely as “challenge” and “be prepared”.
What these mottos mean to me is that you should challenge yourself to be ambitious and strive for what you want. You should not hold yourself back because you are uncomfortable or afraid. Try and step out of your comfort zone and if something does not go as planned, be prepared to make changes that you can easily adapt to. Of course the motto that every Beaver Scout goes by is “sharing, sharing, sharing.” In Beavers, we learned that as a part of the community, each one of us has a role to play. That we should give back to the community in any way we can. For example, participating in a shoreline clean up or raising money for a local charity. As I get older, I realize how important these mottos are to me, and how they are values I live by every day.
After reflecting on my last twelve years in Scouting, I have realized that the program has had a huge impact on my life, and on who I am today. Without this program I would have grown up a completely different person. Scouting has allowed me to gain independence and understand the importance of responsibility. I have made connections that are still strong today and developed skills that have carried me through high school.