OPINION: Scout’s honor goes beyond campfire

Arnav Damodhar | Staff Writer

Arnav

I wouldn’t be the same person today if I hadn’t picked up a flyer during lunch in third grade.

Our school had a couple of people to talk about Cub Scouts. Clueless about what it was, I went to the stage to pick up a flyer and eagerly brought it home to show my parents. My parents then took me to the meetings. That room was filled with over 100 kids all joyous and dressed sharply in uniform. They were all excited. They were excited to go on their first campout, have their first campfire, sell their first popcorn and build their first pinewood derby. Overwhelmed by the joy that surrounded the room, I joined the program. I advanced through the ranks, went on campouts and canoe trips, and soon I found myself crossing over to Boy Scouts.

Boy Scouts was a different than what I was used to. It was youth led. I was put into a patrol group with other boys my age. We thought that we could handle anything at ten years old. And with the same mentality, we went on our first campout.

That morning, we prepared our breakfast: pancakes and sausage. We sprayed the pan with oil and poured the pancake batter. We thought it would be a good idea to go kick the soccer ball around for a couple minutes. A couple minutes then turned into ten minutes. When we got back, the food had caught on fire. Two older Scouts helped us put out the fire and showed us how to properly cook our meal. That wasn’t the only time that we crashed and burned.

But as time progressed, I advanced through the ranks and learned how to be self-sufficient. I took on leadership roles by leading my patrol and eventually, the entire troop. Over the years, I went on numerous outings ranging from going to North Carolina to visit the U.S.S Yorktown to going on a two-week high adventure outing in Alaska.

But the skills that I learned wasn’t restricted to the church gym at Scout meetings or on outings – they evolved.

It taught me to be more independent and expand my boundaries. I could reach out to people if I needed help. I learned the importance of effective communication when I led groups. It taught me how to be confident in everyday life.  And most importantly, it taught me to serve others. Not only through community service but also through leadership. Ultimately, Scouting works because it’s focused on something more than just campouts. It is organization grounded in serving others.

Even today, eight years later, I think back to how I have grown as a person.

That flyer in the lunchroom cafeteria is what made that possible.

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