Did you join your Boy Scout troop with dreams of learning awesome survival skills, making friends, and earning your Eagle rank but, somewhere along the way, you began to lose motivation? Don’t worry, almost every scout experiences feeling unmotivated and ‘stuck’ at some point in their Scouting career. That’s right, what you’re feeling is common, and it can be overcome!
How do I find the motivation to stay in Scouting? Often, scouts begin to lose interest in Scouting once they take on a new sport, get busier, or enter into high school. To regain motivation, the scout should decide for themselves why earning Eagle is a worthwhile goal, strive to finish a new requirement each week, and find a troop buddy to hold themselves accountable.
In this article, I’ll be giving you 6 actionable tips to revive your motivation for Scouting! The first 3 tips will be best for younger scouts, and the last 3 will be best for older scouts. However, since different things work for different people, I’d recommend trying out whatever tip sounds best for you!
Also, as an Eagle Scout myself, I totally get how difficult Scouting can feel — especially when you’ve got school, extracurriculars, and personal things to handle, all at the same time.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s 100% alright to let your parents & Scoutmaster know that you need a break, and step away from Scouting for a while. Prioritizing your mental health and happiness is an important skill to learn for the “real world!”
If you’re just feeling a bit unmotivated though, and need some inspiration to move forward in Scouting, this article is for you! I’d really encourage you to choose one or two of your favorite tips, and put them into action, ASAP. Once they start working for you, send me an email and let me know which ones you tried. Now, without further ado, let’s get into it! 🙂
Tips For Younger Scouts:
1. Understand Your “Why” Behind Earning Eagle
Attending meetings and completing requirements isn’t very exciting for most scouts, which is why, over time, it’s easy to lose interest in Scouting. However, once a scout has a clear reason to earn their Eagle rank, they’ll be so filled with motivation that practically nothing can stop them! To earn Eagle, you’ll need to find a “why” behind doing Scouting.
Your “why” is the purpose, cause, or belief that’ll drive you to success — even if you feel like giving up.The term “why” was coined by Simon Sinek (Find Your WHY)
In almost every case, the scouts who stay involved with their troops and get the most out of Scouting all share one goal: to become Eagle Scouts. However, their “whys” are often very different. Here are 7 “whys” that inspire scouts to stay motivated and involved in their troops:
- Earning Eagle can give scouts a huge edge in their college applications, and put them in a great position to succeed after graduation.
- Plus, there are tons of great scholarship opportunities for Eagle Scouts!
- Once you’ve reached Scouting’s highest rank, you’ll be able to give back to your troop! Your Scoutmasters and senior scouts put so much effort into training you that it’d be great if you could pay it forward.
- Almost nowhere else will a young person be able to build their leadership skills as much as they will in Scouting. Take advantage of this opportunity and commit to making the most of it!
- “Eagle Scout” can be listed on your resume for years, and can even help you to land your dream job (it definitely helped me!).
- If you decide to join the military, being an Eagle Scout will allow you to enlist at a significantly higher rank and pay grade than your peers.
- Most importantly, earning Eagle can help you to believe in yourself and become a capable person — A person who’s able to persevere and overcome life’s most difficult challenges!
Do any of these “whys” resonate with you? If so, write your “why” down right now (in your own words) and stick it somewhere that you’ll look at each day. Read it before every troop meeting and say it aloud to yourself if you ever feel like giving up. As German philosopher, Nietzsche once said, “He who has a why can bear almost any how.”
2. Progress is Fun – Start Ranking Up!
Another common reason why scouts lose motivation is because of a lack of progress. If you’re stuck at the same rank for years, of course the idea of earning your Eagle will seem overwhelming. Fortunately, if this is the case for you, there’s a simple solution: Start moving forward!
That’s right, commit to a few months of hard work, and I guarantee that your whole outlook on Scouting will change! If you’re a Tenderfoot right now, imagine where you could be in 3 months… Almost at First-class, I’d bet! So, if you find yourself losing motivation, I challenge you to try your best for a little while. You might see everything change! 😉
How to Easily Start Ranking Up:
- Before each meeting, set aside 2 or 3 requirements that you plan to complete. Make sure you know your info well.
- Before your meeting begins, talk with a Scoutmaster and tell them you want to demonstrate the requirement for them. Complete it then, or schedule time later in the meeting to finish it up.
- Repeat that each week for 3 months, and you’ll be much much further in Scouting (Also, you’ll probably feel really accomplished!).
3. Get an Accountabilibuddy to Work With
Journeys are always easier when you have a friend right there alongside you. The same is true for Scouting journeys! By having a troop buddy to work on requirements and advance with, you’ll have a much more fun time on your adventures to Eagle. Plus, if one of you loses motivation, the other will be right there to pick you back up!
When choosing your accountabilibuddy, I’d recommend looking for scouts you’re already friends with, who are around the same age and rank as you. Ideally, they’ll also be motivated to earn their Eagle, and fun to work on requirements with!
You’ll want to exchange phone numbers with your accountabilibuddy. Then, agree to check-in with each other before every meeting and campout so that you can finish the same requirements, together. By encouraging your accountabilibuddy and completing requirements with them, you’ll build a great friendship and have a lot of Scouting fun along the way!
If you’re motivated and ready to get a jump start on your Scouting journey, I’d highly suggest checking out my Eagle-required Merit Badge Difficulty Rankings. In it, I’ll even share with you the most effective order to take on each of these badges!
Now, it’s time to learn 3 more advanced tips (mainly for First-Class ranked scouts and above)!
Tips For Older Scouts:
4. Start a New, Interesting Merit Badge
Taking on new challenges is often a great way to rekindle lost motivation. By starting an interesting merit badge that you think you could become passionate about, you’ll be able to have a great discussion with your Scoutmaster, while getting even closer to earning Eagle!
If you’re stuck in a Scouting rut, give yourself permission to forget about advancement for a month or two, and just explore the different possibilities! Starting a merit badge, just for the sake of learning something new, is a great way to do this!
Even though Scouting is awesome for building outdoor skills, we often forget that there’s so much more to the program than that. Merit badges give us the opportunity to learn about science, art, business, history, the people around us, and more! Taking advantage of exciting badge opportunities is a great way to reset your mind and regain some motivation. 🙂
5. Take Your Leadership Skills to The Next Level
If Scouting ever starts to get stale, by shaking up your routines and learning new things, you can rebuild your excitement for earning Eagle! This isn’t only true for learning new skills with badges though — it also applies to leadership! Taking on new leadership responsibilities is one of the best ways I know of to boost your motivation for Scouting.
My Personal Leadership Story:
After becoming a Star Scout, my motivation vanished because there weren’t any more interesting rank requirements to complete. I’d learned the survival skills but was still a long way from reaching Eagle. For a while, I lost interest — I wasn’t sure what the point of Scouting was.
Luckily, it didn’t take long to find a new direction! My Scoutmasters noticed I was feeling unmotivated, and encouraged me to step up as a leader. Surprisingly, leadership is hard work! However, month after month I worked at it, and slowly regained the motivation to push my boundaries.
Before I knew it, I was having a blast teaching skills to the younger scouts and acting as a leader within my troop. Focusing on leadership is a great way for any scout to build valuable skills and get more involved in their troops!
If you’re feeling unmotivated like I was, I’d encourage you to speak with your SPL and ask if you could take on some additional responsibilities. Things like leading merit badge seminars or knot tying classes are great ways to test your leadership skills!
If you can’t start leading right away though, don’t give up hope! Attend an NYLT Camp or practice leading by example, and I promise the rest of your troop will begin to notice. Plus, you’ll have a ton of fun and regain your motivation along the way!
Once you’ve gotten some experience as a leader, I’d recommend checking out my article on How To Win An SPL Election for my 5 proven steps to becoming your troop’s next SPL!
6. Start an Eagle Project That Inspires You
Finally, if you’ve been involved in Scouting for years, but lack the energy to see things through, you might gain some extra motivation by choosing an inspiring Eagle project! Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “that sounds like a lot of work. How can doing my Eagle project end up making me more motivated?” Good question! Read on to find out…
By planning an Eagle project that helps a non-Scouting cause that’s close to your heart (such as your band, sports team, or church) you’ll even be able to include your friends from outside the troop in your efforts. Imagine what a hero you’ll be if you create a new shed for your team, or new stands for your entire orchestra. Your Eagle project is the perfect opportunity to do just that! 🙂
Plus, even if you aren’t too motivated afterward, CONGRATS! You just finished your Eagle project! Honestly, it’s a win-win situation.
If you aren’t sure what kind of Eagle project would be best, I’d recommend checking out my 99 Awesome Eagle Project Ideas to get your creative juices bubbling. Afterward, you can even follow my easy step-by-step guide for planning and running your Eagle project!
If you’ve made it to the end of this article, I can already tell that you have the potential to become a fine Eagle Scout! Keep on working hard, try out some of these tips, and I guarantee you’ll find the motivation to see your Scouting journey through to the end.
Plus, consistently putting in the work, even if you’re not motivated, is one of the most important keys to success in life. Practice that skill while you’re still young, and you’ll be an expert by the time you’re an adult!
Thanks for reading! I hope to see you here at ScoutSmarts again soon and, until next time, best of luck on your Scouting journey. 🙂