The Truckee Community Center was buzzing Wednesday night when local Cub Scouts held their annual pinewood derby. The event is all for fun, parents said, but the process is about a whole lot more.
“People in the community keep saying that scouting is a moot point because everybody here goes camping anyway, but scouting is directive, it’s very comprehensive, said Truckee mom Jane Miller, whose fifth-grade son, Andrew, is a Cub Scout.
“My son gets to learn a lot of things that we might not have time to do at home, or that he can’t learn in school,” she said. “It’s good. It’s all good stuff.”
The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910 to help young people grow into responsible, well-rounded citizens, and for the most part the mission has been a success.
Scouts are given opportunities that other children might never get, such as canoeing trips into the Canadian wilderness, attending the National or World Boy Scout Jamborees, and meeting prominent community and political figures.
“We were in Wyoming this summer at a dude ranch, and there was a neighbor who was earning his badge for horsemanship. He came every day at 5:30 in the morning so he could learn to wrangle, and muck stalls and ride with customers,” Miller said. “He learned it all, and he didn’t have to pay for lessons. The scout was learning and helping, so it was reciprocal. It’s not about getting things for free, it’s about earning it.”
Scouting places great emphasis on survival and life skills, but community service also plays a large role, and it’s for this reason that many families get involved.
“It’s helped make [Kevin] a more responsible child over-all,” said Truckee mom Kadi Mohr, who’s son is also a Cub Scout. “He understands and has a better appreciation for helping out in the community and for being a part of the community.”
Cub Scouts, the preparatory grouping preceding Boy Scouts, is meant for elementary-aged children and teaches boys the basics of leadership, planning and follow-through. But Boy Scouts is where the real challenge begins.
The Boy Scouts is for boys in sixth to 12th grade. In order to progress through the ranks, scouts have to earn merit badges with varying degrees of leadership and skill requirements. The final level is Eagle, and only about 5 percent of all Boy Scouts are able to obtain the title, according to the organization.
Becoming an Eagle Scout isn’t just a matter of personal glory. It’s a title with meaning and universities, employers and the military know its value.
“When I interview firefighters, if I see that an applicant is an Eagle Scout, I know that this is someone who is going to see things through. It’s a huge deal to me, and I definitely look at them a little harder,” said Dean Levonian, Truckee’s CalFire captain.
“Being an Eagle Scout shows that someone at a young age was willing to put energy and time commitment into achieving something. Not too many kids in high school are willing to do that,” he said.
Boy Scouts of America recruitment fare
Saturday, March 31, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Truckee Community Center
Scouting information and activities will be available for potential scouts of all ages
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