By Madison Austin
Aug 16, 2019

Back to School – How Scouting Can Help Your Child Transition to the Classroom

Whether your child is going to school for the first time, or going back at the start of the new year, every parent can relate to the first-day jitters their kids can experience. However, sometimes that case of jitters can turn into serious anxiety for many children. A new school year brings about a lot of change and a whole world of unknowns. This can be daunting for even the most confident children. Although those worries will probably dissipate after the first week or so, programs like Scouting can make the transition easier for your child and you!

Scouting builds confident youth

Be prepared by learning to do hard things.

In Scouting, youth will gain confidence, learn leadership skills, and prepare for their future. When the first day of school rolls around, they will have had many confidence-building experiences that will give them the bravery they need during that transition back to school.

Camp Scofield Director Lee Ferrin shares that some of the most rewarding moments in her Scouting career come when she sees a young person choose to believe in their-self, despite their fears, and press forward.

When [youth] look back at their time in Scouting, they say that Scouting built their confidence; that they gained the courage to overcome problems and adversity throughout their lives. Most Scouts, especially those with five or more years tenure in Scouting programs, rate themselves as having excellent self-confidence. In fact, Scouts rate their self-confidence significantly higher than do [youth] who have never been Scouts.

Read our top 5 articles about how Scouting builds confidence for more!

Scouting provides significant away-from-home experiences

For many kids, going to school is their first significant experience away from home. The first day of school is intimidating enough, but if it is a child’s first away-from-home experience, feelings of anxiety and insecurity are more likely to occur.

This doesn’t have to be the case, however! The BSA provides safe and significant away-from-home experiences through Summer and Day Camp. By providing experiences outside of the home for age-appropriate lengths of time, children can gain the confidence and independence they need to excel at school.

According to a survey given by the American Camping Association, 70% of parents reported that their child gained self-confidence while away at camp.

Additionally, being away from family gives kids the opportunity to solve problems on their own. And there will definitely be problems! They will get in fights with friends, fall down, make wrong choices… all of the above. But they will solve all of these problems on their own and be better because of it.

Scouting fosters socialization with new and old friends

Being away from home has its adjustments, but separation from family, school, and social expectations lets kids relax and make friends easily. This is a lifetime skill that fosters confidence. When a child is on their own they can build their own connections.

The friendships kids make outside of school can be important for many reasons:

1) Connecting with peers, especially for shy students, can be daunting. When kids learn how to connect with others while in a casual setting outside of school, it becomes that much easier once they enter the classroom.

2) Often, local friends made in Scouting are friends that attend your same school! It can be a huge confidence boost to enter a new year of school knowing you already have friends there.

3) Scouting offers frequent positive recognition and develops leadership skills, helping children gain confidence and empathy while working with their peers.

Scouting teaches time-management with visual schedules and goal setting

Visual schedules can be powerful for kids. It shows them what to expect and look forward to at school.

In Scouting, creating a schedule is often the first activity of the year. This helps youth commit to their scheduled meetings and activities and encourages them to create a long-term a plan for completing requirements and obtaining awards. Setting goals and working towards them helps youth understand why sticking to a schedule pays off.

As Scouts get older, they are increasingly more involved in creating the troop’s calendar for the upcoming weeks, and even the whole year. Being able to create a calendar like this gives your child a visual timetable of what lays ahead. This enables them to prepare in advance, instead of having to rush right before a deadline.

At the beginning of the school year, encourage your child to put this to practice outside of Scouting by making a visual calendar for each day. Your child will know exactly what to expect and can go forward with more confidence and security.

Scouts learn how to do hard things

Scouts show what they are made of as they rise to the challenges presented to them in the High Ropes course at the Summit Becthel Scout Reservation. (BSA Photo By: Shane Noem)

Rondo Fehlberg, a previous President of the Utah National Parks Council, shares how combining high adventure activities with spiritual lessons from the scriptures helped his Scouts learn to do hard things and have personal experiences with scriptural accounts. “Just like Lehi and his family, of the Book of Mormon, had to leave Jerusalem, these youth had to leave their comfortable homes and familiar routines to focus on personal growth and face challenges that humbled them and left them more susceptible to spiritual promptings,” he says.

When youth participate in Scouting, they are constantly being prompted to be the best version of themselves. When participating in scary, challenging, or difficult experiences, youth begin to understand their own strength and resilience and are able to overcome these obstacles.

When starting a new school year, our kids will be faced with many difficulties. They will have to overcome challenges like confusing material, friendship trouble, peer pressure, and so much more. Scouting sets them up to successfully maneuver these situations and learn when to seek help from trusted adults. And even though this transition may be scary, if they are prepared, they will be better because of it!

From the Utah National Parks Council, we wish you and your family good luck as you begin this new school year!

Author: Madison Austin | Marketing Specialist, Utah National Parks Council 

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