By Maria Milligan
Apr 21, 2016

Scouting Builds Confidence

For the past two years, the Utah National Parks Council has focused on a series of tools that help Scouters better communicate with LDS leaders. These tools grew out of two surveys conducted by RED research and Rushford Lee that asked LDS leaders what outcomes they wanted from Scouting and why they thought Scouting mattered to their youth. The results from these surveys were distilled into six pillars (or outcomes) for LDS Scouting, including building a testimony, learning to serve others, preparing to go on a mission, building confidence, learning life skills, and gaining integrity by understanding our true nature as children of God.

Since adopting the six pillars as a focus and mission statement, the Council has written and solicited articles from volunteers and professionals alike about each of these pillars. Here at The Boy Scout, we have focused on one pillar each month and have published and shared articles accordingly. As we enter our third year of this initiative, we want to look back at the articles we’ve published and highlight the best content for each pillar.

April’s theme is Confidence: Be prepared by learning to do hard things. A young man will gain confidence, learn leadership skills and prepare for his future as a priesthood holder, missionary, husband, father, and valiant son of God. Here are the top five articles from The Boy Scout about how Scouting helps young men build confidence by facing and overcoming obstacles and learning they can do hard things:

Entrada FeatureTen Ways Camp Builds Confidence

Scouting’s laboratory for growth is the outdoors; we are a camping organization. When you stop to think about it, a year of Scouting at mutual activities is about 50 hours. If your unit camps regularly (BSA suggests 10 days and nights a year) you can add another 150 hours to a boy’s time in Scouting—time to learn, grow, explore, gain confidence, and try hard things (if you don’t think camping in the snow is hard, just try a night in a sleeping bag in the deep winter woods). There are many benefits from camp, but here are ten ways we build confidence in boys outdoors.

Favorite quote: “When men 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 boys who have never been Scouts.”

226-dean-cow-climbingConfidence from Scouting is the Courage to Press Forward Steadfastly

Lee Ferrin shares that some of the most rewarding moments in her Scouting career come when she sees a young man choose to believe in himself despite his fears and press forward. Two experiences from her time working at Philmont—once with a Scout who worried himself sick over facing the challenges of a rigorous backpacking trip and again when a flash flood threatened camp and campers alike—drove home her conviction that Scouting programs help young people build confidence.

Favorite quote: “We want a young man faced with unfamiliar food and discouraging results on his mission to remember that he was able to organize his patrol into a high-performance machine over the course of a few months, and that he can do so again, this time in a foreign language. We want young women, when faced with difficult school, career, or mission decisions, to recall that they were given the opportunity to lead their crew when on a long-distance backpacking trip, and that if a young woman were trusted to make course decisions in such unfamiliar terrain, she can also successfully navigate her future opportunities.”

Chandler Jeffcoat PhilmontWhy We Do Hard Things

Chandler Jeffcoat participated in the UNPC’s Philmont trek last year. He shares how preparing for and participating in this difficult backpacking trek taught him that he can overcome fatigue, frustration, self-doubt, and literal mountains. Chandler and the other Scouts who completed this trek learned lessons that will help them face challenges anywhere with more confidence in themselves and their abilities.

Favorite quote: “When you are preparing for this trek you learn where your limits are and that’s a really good thing. I prepared for two months beforehand. I would get up almost every morning around 5:30 and I would hike until 6:30. As time moved forward I would make it harder and harder. By the end of the two months, I was hiking with a full pack, able to hike a mile up a mountain.”

Maple Dell Pirate Ship LoganDeep Water and Tall Rocks—Logan’s Legacy

Another Scout proves that you don’t necessarily have to go all the way to Philmont to face challenges and change your life. Logan overcame his fears and gained confidence much closer to home—at our very own Camp Maple Dell. As a young Scout, Logan hesitated to jump in the lake and climb the wall. When he conquered his fears, Logan not only found a new sense of confidence in himself, but also a love of the outdoors that has inspired him to work on staff at camp.

Favorite quote: “Logan overcame his fear of swimming in that lake because he had the opportunity to be there, in the great outdoors, and was enticed by the exciting activities that Scouting provides.  If he had stayed at home that summer, he would have watched T.V., hung out with his friends, and probably gone to the sterile city pool where he could have seen right through the water to the bottom.”

3.HikersToKingsPeak-300x193Leaving Jerusalem, an Ultimate Adventure

Rondo Fehlberg 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 had to leave Jerusalem, these young men 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.

Favorite quote: “We explained that the Lord organized an amazing high adventure as he took Lehi and his family away from their comfortable life in Jerusalem—the Jerusalem of Jeremiah and the other prophets who had been giving such dire warnings about what was happening there. But the Lord knew what to do. So he took Lehi’s family away and prepared them through a 15-year preparation hike around the Arabian Peninsula. Then He took them on the real high adventure trip—it’s called the Book of Mormon.”

I already included this article in the list of best articles about testimony building, but because it is also a great example of learning to do hard things, I’m adding it as a sixth confidence article here:

scouts in the rain featureBuilding Testimonies by Doing Hard Things

Dave Pack shares his experience as a bishop taking priests and teachers on a high adventure trip that challenged the boys physically, mentally, and emotionally. One boy in particular was ready to give up after persistent rain made a 25-mile backpacking trip even more difficult. He stuck with it though, and the spiritual lessons he learned changed his life forever.

Favorite quote: “Learning to do hard things doesn’t just happen. Sometimes it requires more; in this case, we had the tender mercy of a rainstorm that tested our resolve to finish. For Jared, the change from that experience came immediately upon overcoming the seemingly insurmountable challenge. For each of these Scouts, however, the most important outcome came as a result of this and a series of such experiences. Because of the testimony and confidence they gained in their youth, every young man from that teacher and priests quorum that participated went on a mission and was married in the temple.”

I realized as I was writing this post that there far more great articles than these six. So here are ten more articles about Scouting and confidence that can help you shape your own youth programs:

Teaching Youth to Do Hard Things

Be Prepared by Doing Hard Things – Confidence

Theodore Roosevelt on Doing Hard Things

The Miracle Threads of Scouting

15 Hard Things to do for the Lord through ALPS

Pony Express 50/20 Hike Teaches Boys to Do Hard Things

Boy Scout Troop Completes 250 Mile Temple Trek, Gives $3300 Donation to LDS Charities

Perseverance and Scouting: Climbing Mt. Rainier

Just One More Step and I’m Through

The Philmont Trek, an Amazing Adventure

Maria Milligan


Author: Maria Milligan | Grant Writer, Utah National Parks Council, BSA.

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