Is Scouting right for you? Whether you’re just considering joining, or are already well into your Scouting career, seeing if you have these 9 traits can help you understand if you have what it takes to become a successful scout!
What makes a good scout? I’ve met hundreds of scouts in my life, and have noticed some patterns among those who were consistently able to stand out. These scouts were capable, confident, and respected. They could do every requirement with ease and even helped teach these skills to others. When I think of success in Scouting, these types of people immediately come to mind.
While I may not know you, reader, If you have even a few of the traits that I’ve listed here, that’s a sure sign that you’ll likely excel in Scouting. Even if you’re missing most of them though, don’t be discouraged. All of these qualities can be learned! Honestly, most of these probably won’t come naturally. However, if you put in the time to embody these traits, you’ll become a fantastic scout and probably have a lot more fun along the way!
With that being said, here’s the first sign that you might make a good scout.
1. You Take Responsibility
When you say you’re going to do something, there’s no doubt that it’ll get done. You take responsibility for your tasks, and you do them well. The ability to take responsibility for your own success is the first sign that you’ll go far in Scouting. If this doesn’t sound like you, don’t worry. It didn’t sound like me when I was first starting, either.
The best way to become more responsible is through small steps. Even if you’re in a position like quartermaster or scribe, if you’re taking responsibility, you’ll try to do that job to the best of your abilities. Eventually, you’ll be using that same skill set when acting as your troop’s senior patrol leader!
The most important quality of a responsible person is that they always keep their word. This may sound simple, but this trait is severely lacking in today’s world. If you’re the kind of person who always tries to keep their word, you’re on the right path. This quality alone can determine if someone will make a good scout.
2. You Aren’t Afraid To Be Yourself
It’s always better to be yourself than to attempt to be someone you think others will want you to be. The fact is, almost all successful people stick out. Even geniuses are considered crazy before finally succeeding. By not being afraid to be your genuine self, you’ll gain the respect of your fellow scouts and become much more authentic along the way.
When I was younger, I made the mistake of thinking that everyone had to like me. I would say things I thought people would want to hear, instead of expressing what I really felt. The day I stopped doing that, I found that people actually liked me more, and respected that I wasn’t afraid of being genuine! If you’re the kind of person who is able to face the fear of being themselves, there’s a solid chance that you’ll make a great scout.
In Scouting, there is a lot of peer pressure. The only way to rise above that is to set your own pace. This means letting others change to fit you, and not trying to cater to their wishes. If you’re real, the other scouts will be drawn to you, causing the friendship you make to have all the more meaning.
3. You Take Care Of Others
Do you genuinely care about your fellow scouts? If one of them came to you with a serious problem, would you be willing to drop everything that you’re doing to help them? If you said yes to either of these, you’re not only a good person, you also have the makings to be a great scout!
A scout is helpful; a scout is kind. By taking care of others, not only are you fulfilling the Scout Law, you’re also showing one of the best qualities of humanity. If you do have a habit of taking care of others, know that this will come back around. We get what we give, so know that when you’re in need, others will take care of you.
In Scouting, this means helping to carry another scout’s supplies if they’re struggling, or sharing food with a friend in need. Even if there’s no clear reward at the moment, the people who you help will remember. So always try to do more and never miss a chance to take care of others.
4. You’re Willing To Work
When bringing to mind someone you respect, what are the first things you think of? If you’re like me, you probably think of what they’ve accomplished and done for others. To get to that point, they must have been willing to work hard. In Scouting, the hardest workers are the most successful. If you’re always willing to do at least a little bit more than everyone else, I guarantee that it will be worth it.
When I started Scouting, I would always try to get by doing the least amount of work. I thought that being lazy would save me time and energy. Around when I got the First Class though, I started trying to do more for my troop. What I found when I started working harder was that others were willing to do more to help me!
The amount of effort you’ll save when doing less work, versus doing a little more, is small when compared to the benefits that you’ll find from working harder than others. Not only will you earn people’s respect, they’ll also be willing to do more for you. If you ever want to become a leader or someone people look up to within your troop, be willing to put in the work.
5. You’re Always Looking For Ways To Improve
I’ve found the most successful people, in all aspects of life, are the ones who are always looking for ways to improve. Change is never easy, and this quality does not come naturally to most. However, if you can become the type of person who is always seeking growth, Scouting, as well as life, will become like a game for you.
Imagine you’re always leveling up. Challenges that were insurmountable to you, will later only be minor disturbances if you’re constantly growing and improving. Whether you’ve just joining Scouting, or have almost reached Eagle, taking on a growth mindset will ensure that you’re on the best path to success.
Building a growth mindset doesn’t need to be a sudden and difficult change. Personally, I just try to get one percent better each day. This is done each evening by taking five minutes to assess what went well and what could use work. By keeping what’s working and changing what’s not, you’ll begin to see some amazing changes in a pretty short amount of time!
6. You’re Able To Commit
Scouting is a long-term activity, so commitment is key. There are no shortcuts, and the only way to reach the rank of Eagle is to put in the time, week after week until you finally succeed. That’s why the ability to commit is essential to finding success in Scouting. You’ll only make a great scout once you find yourself fully committed.
Although this is a difficult skill to build, know that you’ll not only be using it during your time as a scout. All success in life comes from completing things. No one cares about your half-finished merit badges or the degree that you almost earned. That’s why learning to commit to getting things done is so important.
If you’re not there yet, don’t worry. I have a lot of trouble with this one as well. This ScoutSmarts website is one of many projects, most of which I wasn’t able to stick with and complete. However, know that once you are able to commit and stick with something, all of your past failures will be irrelevant. Learn to commit, and you’ve learned the key to success in anything you attempt.
7. You Can Remain Cheerful Under Pressure
The Scout Law says a Scout is cheerful. I think most people miss the importance of the statement, but by being cheerful, you can better face and overcome challenges. Believe it or not, your mindset is a choice. By choosing to accept and face difficulties that might arise, you’ll be well equipped to succeed as a scout.
Sometimes, things may not go your way. I remember that during the night of my first campout there was a huge downpour. The morning afterward, I woke up with half my face and all of my belongings submerged in rainwater. I could’ve let that bad luck ruin my first ever camp, but I resolved to stay cheerful. Instead, I had a great time during that camp and made a ton of new friends!
If I’d let that one bad experience ruin my mood for the rest of that camp, not only would I have have had a terrible time, I’d have also missed out on all of the good things to come. If you’re able to remain cheerful under pressure, or in bad situations, you’re in a great position to get the most opportunities from Scouting!
8. You Want To Lead And Do More
If you’re eager to take on more responsibility and eventually become a leader, it’s likely that Scouting is the right fit for you. I’ve noticed that every great Scout is not content with just sliding by. Instead, they always try to do more and end up leading their troops to even greater heights. A drive to lead is a sure sign of success in Scouting.
When I finally earned the Eagle rank, I noticed that only about half of the scouts I joined with were still involved in Scouting. Overwhelmingly, it seemed as though the ones who quit had had no desire to become a leader, while the ones who stayed were always trying to take on more responsibility and lead others.
If this doesn’t sound like you right now, don’t worry. It takes time to become comfortable with the idea of leading others. However, if you keep the idea in mind that you’re currently preparing to lead your troop, you’ll be an awesome and successful scout in the meantime!
You can check out my post here for some more tips on how to become a great patrol leader.
9. You’re Humble
It’s easy to start getting a big head once you begin to see success. Don’t let this be you! If you’re the type of person who can remain humble even when succeeding, or while acting as a leader, you have the makings to be a great scout.
To me, it always seemed like the most accomplished people were also the most humble. They pointed out the successes of others and downplayed their own. As a scout, you should always strive to do good things and let other people speak for you. That’s why it’s so important, even if you are successful, to stay humble at all costs.
If you said yes to having each of the qualities I’ve listed so far, you’re in a great position! However, all of it will be for nothing unless you can remain humble. In any situation, even if you are the best, you should always remember where you started. By not letting your ego get in the way and always striving to help others, only then will you see a real benefit from the previous eight traits.
If a few of these points sound like you, there’s a high possibility that you’d make a great scout! If not, don’t worry. Everything here can be learned once you’re willing to put in the time and effort. In fact, while most of these qualities don’t come naturally, almost all great leaders have been able to build them over time. What’s stopping you?
While becoming a role model within your troop is a good reason to learn these traits, it is far from the most important reason. The goal of Scouting should be to prepare you to succeed later on in life. By learning these mindsets early on, you’ll be able to get ahead much more quickly, avoiding many problems along the way.
Today can be the beginning of a new path! Starting and struggling is the best way to learn and improve, so don’t let newness stop you from even trying. Whether it’s becoming a successful scout or learning to crush it in school, taking on these qualities can help you reach your goals much more reliably. By using these 9 points as a guide for growing, I guarantee that you’ll quickly begin to see results in your troop, home, and life!