By Michelle Carpenter
Oct 23, 2016

How does Scouting help young men gain life skills?

Why does Scouting matter? How does Scouting help a young man gain life skills? We asked these questions and more to our Scouting leaders and members of the community. Watch the video below to hear them tell us their experiences on how Scouting helps boys gain life skills as leaders, achievers and sons of God.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert began by telling a story about his first 50-mile hike as a Scout. He explained how long and impossible it seemed.  He talked about how Scouting helped him gain life skills:

“The opportunity to be a leader in my pack as a Cub Scout and in my troop as a Boy Scout, and my involvement in exploring all those opportunities have helped me develop my own skills to be the best that I can possibly be.”

He said those in Utah, including himself, have been elevated by participating in Scouts.

Cindy Gagon, Cubmaster and mom of five Eagle Scouts, felt Scouting helped her married sons become better husbands and fathers. She explained how important it was in their lives:

“I see so many skills that they learned from their father when he was their Scoutmaster or from other people in our Scouting unit who took the time to just be with them and be kind to them and let them know they had a place to fit in.” she said, explaining how Scouting helped them.

She indicated that now it’s their turn to teach these skills–kindness, consideration, acceptance, and tolerance–to their children.

Brad Harris, author of Trails and Testimony, believes boys can gain life skills in Scouting when they might not gain those skills otherwise. When he was young, he was terrified of public speaking. But, he wanted the merit badge, so he gave several talks at church and patrol meetings.

“I learned to overcome the fear. Now, essentially my career is talking,” he said. “So, the little initial opportunities for my career happened in Scouting.”

He sees his own sons gain those life skills in Scouting. They come home from camp, and he feels they are different. Scouting, he says, prepares them to serve as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Ryan Wood, a former Scoutmaster, loves required merit badges. He said each badge teaches different life skills like personal finance. He told a story about how earning a badge helped him while he was in Scouting:

“I just got my Swimming Merit Badge, and we were at Scout camp. A young man started to drown,” he said. “Because I had just gotten my Swimming Merit Badge and learned some of those skills you need, I was able to help him.”

He ended by saying that a boy can learn life skills when he heads to the mountains without technology:

“It actually allows us to have quiet periods where the spirit can talk to us,” he said. “In my opinion, this is one of the most critical life skills a young man can learn to have and to recognize in his life: that is to hear the spirit and follow it.”

This is the fifth installment in a series of six videos produced with special thanks to Eagle Scout, Harrison Webber and Web-5 Productions for the Utah National Parks Council, BSA. Each video will focus on one of the Six Pillars of Being Prepared: Testimony, Service, Mission Preparation, Confidence, Life Skills and Integrity.

Michelle Carpenter


Author: Michelle Carpenter | Marketing Associate, Utah National Parks Council.

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One thought on “How does Scouting help young men gain life skills?

  1. AvatarRay Christensen

    Thanks for capturing and sharing these life growing experiences that Scouting offers. Your article highlights the “character and life-skills development experience or game” we call Scouting.


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