Whether you’re a Cub Scout, BSA Scout, or a supportive Scouting parent, I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that balancing Scouting with your studies isn’t always easy! Still, while juggling the two can be a challenge, it’s definitely doable. Plus, the benefits of following through and excelling at both are more than worth it!
P.S. This article is a guest post collaboration between Eagle Scouts, Michael M and Cole🙂
In this article, I’m going to break down some tried-and-true ways to balance Scouting and school. But before that, let’s take a quick look at the importance of each. This will help remind you of why it’s important to do your best in both of these crucial areas, as they’ll surely set you up for success in the long later in life. Ready? Let’s do this!
How To Balance Scouting And School
Why Participate in Scouting?
First, it’s time to talk about what Scouting brings to the table! As you make your way up the ranks, you learn the importance of time management, commitment, and much more. Scouting also builds your confidence, values, and character. The longer you stay in Scouting, the stronger you’ll grow as a person!
There are also many concrete benefits of Scouting. Once you reach the rank of Eagle Scout, a whole lot of doors will open for you! College admissions boards and even employers often favor Eagle Scouts because this accomplishment shows you can work hard and accomplish big things.
Don’t believe it? Here’s a short video (0:59) from an astronaut, sharing their own experience to drive the point home!
Of course, the respect that Eagle Scouts enjoy is well-deserved! Here are just a few of the strengths that make these Scouts so respectable in the eyes of others:
- Dedicated to community and service
- Experienced with leadership
- Self-driven to learn and advance
I’m sure you can imagine just how enticing the qualities of Scouting are to admissions boards and employers! A track record of community service suggests that an applicant will commit themselves to the same mindset on campus or in the workplace. Experience as a leader indicates great potential for success in more senior positions. And the list just keeps on going!
The Importance of School for Scouts
The lessons you learn in school will last you a lifetime — and not just the lessons you learn in the classroom! Some of the most important insights you’ll pick up in school are the social ones. You’ll have lots of time with your peers to learn the nuances of communication and form long-lasting friendships.
And that’s not all! Your education will boost and maintain your confidence. Confidence frees you from stress, brightens your outlook on life, and helps you keep going when times are tough. Here’s a little video (2:28) that breaks down all the benefits of being confident!
Some may think that confidence is the same as arrogance. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth! Arrogance is what happens when high self-esteem turns into an unhealthy sense of superiority. In contrast, healthy confidence allows you to support others as well as yourself. This is what you’ll gain once you start achieving success in school!
Now that we’ve gone over the benefits of Scouts and school, we’ll take a look at seven tips to help you balance the two! From planning properly to managing stress, there are so many hacks to make this combo work. Ready? Let’s jump into our first tip!
7 Tips To Balance Scouting and School
Scouting-School Tip 1: Use Time Management Strategies
I’m sure you’re familiar with the idea of using a planner! Writing down upcoming events helps you stay on track. By having a visual representation of your personal schedule, you’ll have an easier time remembering what’s coming up. You also won’t be as likely to double-book yourself! 😉
Of course, using a planner isn’t the only way to manage your time — you can also use your smartphone! From calendars to reminders to alarms, there’s almost no limit to the time management tools these devices offer. However, if you end up scrolling for an hour each time you pick up your phone, you might be better off using a paper calendar instead!
Scouting-School Tip 2: Take Breaks Regularly
This second tip may be hard to wrap your head around at first. You might expect taking breaks to decrease work efficiency! However, it’s just the opposite. Not only will frequent breaks boost your productivity, but they’ll even help manage your stress level.
While we’re on the subject, the Pomodoro technique is a great way to schedule your breaks. Basically, you work for 25 minutes, followed by a five-minute break. Then, you just rinse and repeat! After four of these cycles, you take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. Check out this video (5:47) for more details!
Scouting-School Tip 3: Keep Your End Goals in Mind
It’s important to visualize what you hope to achieve by participating in Scouting and school. This habit of focusing on goals will help you stick with your commitments. When you find yourself feeling stressed or unmotivated, take a step back and remember what you’re working towards!
Not sure what to visualize? Just think about the benefits I mentioned earlier and how they apply to you! Think about what got you involved with Scouts in the first place. Figure out what most excites you about school! The answers you come up with are what’s most important to you, so remember them when the going gets tough.
Cole’s best tips for this topic are in the article on Scouting Advancement Keys! Be sure to check it out to learn super-helpful strategies and mindsets to consistently make progress towards Eagle and get the most out of your time in Scouting!
Scouting-School Tip 4: Manage Your Stress
If you’re aiming to make your workload more manageable, then you can’t overlook the negative impacts of stress. The more stressed you are, the less likely you’ll see your commitments through to the end. And that’s not even going into the many harms that stress can do to the body and mind!
Now, let’s go into a couple of natural stress remedies. First off, deep breathing is a very effective way to relieve stress. The way it relaxes your mind and body is surprisingly simple: it gives your nervous system a signal to calm down.
Interested in giving deep breathing a try? There are lots of different breathing techniques out there, each with their own steps to follow and benefits to offer:
Meditation is another great method for stress reduction. It may seem a bit more daunting than deep breathing, but it’s absolutely worth looking into! Both of these methods are widely used, and there are tons of people who swear by them.
Scouting-School Tip 5: Keep Others in the Loop
By keeping people in your life up to date on your activities, you can ask for their advice on how best to manage your workload. You’d be surprised just how many ways there are to make Scouting and school more manageable. Don’t hesitate to turn to those you’re close with for support!
The most obvious people to rely on in times like these are parents or guardians. Still, there are lots of others in your life you can count on too! Older siblings are likely to have some tips on managing schoolwork, and senior Scouts in your troop can give you advice as well 🙂
Scouting-School Tip 6: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Others for Help
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the last one, but it deserves its own place on the list! This one is more about the difficulty of the work itself. When classwork starts to go over your head, your teacher is the best person to talk to! They want to help you learn, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
Here are some examples of ways to ask for help from your teacher. Notice how they’re all pretty specific, rather than just “I don’t get it”! Questions and statements that closely fit your unique situation will be simpler for a teacher to act on:
- “Today’s lesson made sense to me up until the part on mitochondria.”
- “How can I better memorize historical dates for the final exam?”
- “Can you help me understand the difference between constants and variables?”
When you have difficulty with a subject or activity in Scouting, it might help to talk to your Scoutmaster. As the leader of your troop and someone who has your best interests at heart, they’re often in a good position to help you out. If your question isn’t in their area of expertise, they can point you to someone else who can better lend you a hand!
Here are a few things you can say to your Scoutmaster when Scouting difficulties come up. Notice how they’re pretty specific, just like the school-related ones from earlier:
- “I’m having trouble with learning lashings, especially the Floor Lashing.”
- “Planning treks for the Backpacking merit badge is harder than I expected.”
- “I really want the Cooking merit badge, but meal planning isn’t my strong suit.”
Scouting-School Tip 7: Take Advantage of the Summer Lull
Summer break is the perfect time to concentrate on Scouting! With school temporarily out of the foreground, rank advancement and earning badges can take center stage. I’d recommend you take full advantage of this opportunity! It only comes around once a year, and it’s a chance unlike any other.
Also, be sure to make the most of Scout summer camp! This is an excellent opportunity to work on merit badges that would be much more difficult to earn at home. These camps provide knowledgeable counselors to guide you through the badge requirements. Just make sure to take care of your prerequisites before you head off to camp! 😀
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make the combo of Scouting and school more manageable! With the right strategy for each, you make it that much easier to take them both on at the same time. Also, keep in mind that the methods in this article aren’t the only ones you have available! You can get plenty more ideas from family, friends, and peers.
Scouting and school have tons of great benefits to offer, so you have a lot to gain from sticking with each until the end! From better job opportunities to increased confidence, there’s almost no end to the perks you can get out of each. I hope this article taught you a bunch, and thanks for reading 🙂
Next up, be sure to check out any of the following articles if they catch your interest:
- 99 Epic BSA Activities: Scouts Share Their Favorite Troop Adventures
- The FASTEST Way To Reach Eagle Scout: A 2-Year Timeline
- The Importance of Scouting (And Its Relevance Today)
- The Advantages And Value Of Earning Your Eagle Scout Rank
- Leadership in Scouting: A Scout’s Ultimate Guide
That’s all for now! Thanks for dropping by ScoutSmarts. Until next time, we’re wishing you all the best on your epic Scouting journey!