Two Years of Scouting Should be Mandatory Before Graduating High School
PRO (4 arguments)
Scouting- a coed program (not specifically Boy and Girl Scouts of America) which focuses on the values of character growth and citizenship training
Mandatory - must complete before graduation but would be during school hours
Weighing Mechanism: Whichever side best prepares students, during high school and after graduation, to be good citizens and contribute to their communities should win this debate.
Scouting serves as a very educational environment where high schoolers can learn and improve upon skills they wouldn’t normally learn in class, like leadership, teamwork, community service and environmental awareness. As a result, high schoolers are more likely to pursue other leadership activities and stay actively involved in their communities after their scouting experience.
According to a major study conducted by Baylor University, people who were engaged in scouting were 87% more likely to belong to a civic organization and 76% more likely to have held a leadership position in their community. Additionally, 92% were more likely to be in an organization dedicated to protecting the environment. In another study conducted by Professor Sarah Barnett, Barnett surveyed 2,772 Girl Scouts in high school and asked them to rate how much an impact scouting has had on their leadership skills out of a scale of 10. Professor Barnett found in her study that the average Girl Scout said that scouting had a 8/10 impact on their leadership skills, meaning that scouting served as a very successful tool in teaching good leadership qualities. In addition, of men who were scouts in their youth, 83% said the values they learned in scouting impacted their life today. Half of those surveyed even claim that scouting helped them with their current career path. Clearly, scouting has both a positive impact on student’s high school career and future life.
Baylor University, Professor Sarah Barnett
While most students in high school are extremely stressed out, scouting can provide an outlet for relaxation. Most high school students just want an activity where they can forget about the five tests they have the next day, and scouting provides a solution. Scouting provides fun, community-based learning experiences that cannot be found in schools, and allows for students to truly forget their stresses and just focus on their environment and enjoying themselves. This reduction in stress and organization skills taught by scouting directly lead to increased grades.
According to a study conducted by Harris Interactive, “scouts are more likely than other boys who have never been Scouts to report they earn mostly A’s.” Furthermore, the study finds that more than 50% of all Boy Scouts found that scouting improved their performance in science, reading, and math. In the aforementioned study by Professor Sarah Barnett, Barnett also finds that involvement in scouting in high school can lead to better grades and academic performance, as a result of increased engagement. She finds that empirically, being involved in Girl Scouts was associated with a 12% higher GPA than girls who were not a part of Girl Scouts.
Harris Interactive, Professor Sarah Barnett
Scouting is an activity where individuals get to enjoy the outdoors and be close to nature. During the many trips and outings, scouts are taught valuable survival skills that can be useful in dangerous situations. For example, some of the skills that scouts learn are how to fish, how to hunt, how to construct a shelter, build a fire, and - most importantly - life-saving first aid techniques. In any situation, scouts feel prepared for whatever comes their way, whether they are stranded in a forest by themselves or are confronted with an injured friend who needs help.
In the tragic 2013 Los Angeles airport terminal shooting, one of the survivors was able to live because of his prior involvement with scouting. Brian Ludmer, a 29-year-old California teacher and former member of the Boy Scouts, was shot multiple times in the leg and was bleeding profusely. Remembering his First-Aid badge that he got in Boy Scouts, Ludmer created a makeshift tourniquet that he credits with saving his life. This skill of being able to think quickly in an intense situation and use the correct medical applications is something that is only taught in scouting. According to Superintendent of the Las Virgenes School District, Dan Stepenosky, “the majority of schools nowadays don’t teach a single lesson about first aid or on-the-spot medical treatments. This lack of basic medical knowledge could pose a serious threat when a student faces a dangerous situation.” Indeed, according to the Baylor University study, scouts lived up to the motto “Always Be Prepared” by being a whopping 124% more likely to have a survival kit in their homes.
Washington Post, Baylor University
The values instilled by scouting lead to personal growth and character development. Unlike academic classes that teach specific academic skills like algebra, grammar and historical facts, scouting instills values that go to the core of the scout’s identity. This means these skills and values last an entire lifetime and can affect the outcome of the scout’s life.
In a study on scouting by the Templeton Foundation, they found that of those who were scouts, compared to those who were not, 81% were more likely to say they achieved a spiritual goal in the last year; 64% were more likely to say they achieved a personal goal in the last year and 49% were more likely to say they achieved a financial goal in the last year.