Should I Stay In Scouting? Guidance From An Eagle Scout


“Is it really worth it to stay in Scouting?” is a question that almost every scout asks themselves at some point or another. And, honestly, the answer to this question could differ depending on who you are. In this article, my goal is to help you weigh the pros and cons of continuing Scouting!

In the not-so-distant past when I was a scout in Troop 147, and later on as an older scout in Troop 135, I found myself asking this question too. With academics, sports, relationships, and everything else I was juggling in my life, I began to also wonder whether staying in Scouting was worth it.

Personally, I did stay in Scouting and can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! However, I know that your experience is unique, and that leaving Scouting could be the right call for some people.

Below are some questions and exercises to help you decide whether continuing Scouting is right for you. Since this is such a big decision, take your time. Also, if you know someone else thinking about leaving Scouting, I’d encourage you to share this article with them!

Whether you’re a new scout, you’ve been in your troop for a few years, or you’re a rank or two away from reaching Eagle, there are a few important questions to consider before quitting Scouting altogether:

  1. Why exactly do I want to leave Scouting? What will I gain from quitting? What will I lose?
  2. If I don’t quit, can things possibly improve in the foreseeable future? What can I do to make that happen now?
  3. What has Scouting already given me? How will continuing my Scouting journey help me to grow?

Take your time to ask yourself these questions — I’ll wait! I’d recommend even writing down your answers and coming back to them at a later time so you can judge whether you feel the same way. This exercise will help in your decision to leave Scouting, stay, or the secret option: to make things better! 🙂

Deciding Whether To Stay In Scouting: Find Your Pros And Cons

Now that you’ve identified the problem(s) causing you to want to leave your troop, it’s time to figure out what exactly to do! I’d suggest making a pros and cons list to get all of your positive and negative concerns out of your head and on paper. Here’s an example list:

Scouting Pros

  • I’ve learned tons of useful info that will help me to survive in extreme circumstances and support others.
  • Once I become an Eagle Scout, I’ll have an easier time with job applications, leadership roles, and getting college acceptances.
  • Scouting is one of the few places where I can get so much hands-on leadership experience.
  • I’ve made some good friends in my troop, and want to keep having fun with them.
  • I don’t want all of the hard work that my family and I put into Scouting to be wasted.

Scouting Cons

  • Scouting is taking up too much time. With school and other activities, I’m just way overloaded.
  • I’m not having an easy time advancing in rank and all of my friends are passing me by, which is frustrating.
  • I don’t feel heard or respected within my troop.
  • Most of my troop’s activities are repetitive, so it feels like I haven’t been learning much or growing lately.
  • Some of my Scoutmasters of fellow scouts aren’t very helpful and, occasionally, it feels like they talk down to me.

Your pros and cons list will probably look a lot different, but feel free to borrow some of my points if they apply to you. Once you have a few good points on either side of your list, here comes the fun part: seeing what you can do to make things better!

  1. For each point on the “pros” side of your list, I want you to rate how cool or valuable the benefit is.
    • For instance, being able to feel confident and help others in emergencies is, for me, a 9! Now, you rank your pros.
  2. For each point on the “cons” side of your list, rate how bad of a problem that Scouting drawback is.
    • For example, being overworked and too busy to enjoy your life is a real problem! I’d rank it as a 7.5.
  3. Finally, on the “cons” side of your list, brainstorm 3 potential solutions for each problem (they could even be bad solutions — you’re brainstorming 😉 ).

Brainstorming solutions is such a powerful way to solve problems, but it can also sometimes be scary! Be sure not to shoot your own ideas down right away, and just try to think of as many options as possible. Having an open mind and believing everything is possible will help you to do anything!

If you haven’t already, I’d also suggest seriously having a heart-to-heart with your parents or a trusted adult to talk through your concerns about Scouting.

Someone older can surely give you some valuable insight, and maybe help you to improve things so you don’t need to quit! If you’re comfortable with it, you could even brainstorm possible solutions as a family so that you’re all involved and invested!

Now that you know the importance of solution brainstorming, I wanted to give you an example of how this might look! If your problem is that Scouting takes up too much time and you’re already feeling overwhelmed, here are a few possible solutions to consider:

  1. Speak honestly to your parents about only going to the most important/fun Scouting events for awhile because you’re feeling overwhelmed and not enjoying things as much.
  2. Invite some of your friends to join your troop so that you can hang out with them and participate in awesome Scouting events at the same time!
  3. Consider getting more organized and learning some helpful time-management skills so that you can do it all. Having an accountabilibuddy or Scouting coach to guide you will often do wonders!

While not all of these solutions will work for everyone, I’m sure you’ll come up with some that’ll work for you. Then – here’s the great part – you can try out your ideas! Taking on your problems and trying to make things better is always the bravest and best option. 🙂

By assessing how large the pros and cons are of continuing Scouting, you’ll have all the info you need to make your decision — or improve things! Before I end this article, I wanted to add a quick section below telling you my best tips for making the most out of Scouting.

How To Make The Most Out Of Scouting

It’s no secret that a lot of times, Scouting isn’t easy. Community service can be grueling work, merit badges are tough to earn, and earning Eagle can seem overwhelming to even the most prepared scout. But all of that is what makes the Scouting journey worthwhile!

By identifying the challenges you’re facing and then tackling them head-on, you’re training yourself to be the kind of person who’s able to do hard things. You become a problem solver. Trust that you CAN make things better, and take charge of your journey to Eagle! 😀

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one”

Bruce Lee

The same is true for real life. In life, you’re going to face obstacles. They’re inevitable. Whether it’s a difficult degree, a challenging job, or a strained relationship, there will surely come times when you’ll consider giving up. That’s definitely been the case for me.

And like with Scouting, the solution is simply to try. To try to be your best. To try to grow beyond your challenges and feel the joy of accomplishing difficult goals in the face of uncertainty. The way to make the most out of Scouting is to always be learning, growing, and pushing toward Eagle. How?…

How To Rank Up In Scouting (And Become An Eagle Scout)

If you want to become the kind of person who’s prepared to accomplish anything, I’d say there’s no better goal to chase than earning your Eagle Scout rank! The best tip I can tell you for making that happen is to do something, even if you can only do it poorly.

For more tips on ranking up, staying motivated, and making the best of your Scouting journey, I’d highly recommend checking out my article on the 6 Keys For Scouting Success. In it, I share my 6 best tips that you can start using today to take charge of your time as a scout!

By making a constant effort to reach your goals and taking things one step at a time, I promise you’ll grow, advance, and start having a fantastic time in Scouting again! In fact, it was only when I began stepping up as a leader in my troop that I really started to believe I’d reach Eagle. 🙂

If You Let It, Scouting Can Change Your Life For The Better!

Thanks for reading! I hope this article has helped you in your decision of whether or not to stay in Scouting. As an Eagle Scout myself, you might be surprised to hear that I considered giving up quite a few times throughout my Scouting journey:

“In my first year of Scouting, everything seemed so new and overwhelming. There were so many requirements standing between me and my goal of reaching Eagle that I didn’t even know where to begin. It was sometimes so frustrating that I’d wonder to myself, “do I really belong here?”

But, I found my reasons to continue — my fellow scouts whom I’d built close friendships with — and pushed forward.

Toward the middle of my Scouting journey, I was a teenager and occasionally felt that Scouting wasn’t right for me anymore. I was doing sports, friends wanted to hang out on the weekends, and school was getting tougher. I’d wonder to myself, is Scouting a good use of my time?

But, I was becoming a leader in my troop and loved learning about the outdoors. So I pushed forward.

The final year before I became an Eagle Scout was one of the most difficult. I completed my Eagle project, moved to Switzerland for school, and changed troops. Sometimes, I thought of how much easier it’d be if I just quit Scouting and moved on with my life. Thank god I stuck it out!

If you’d like to push for Eagle too, but don’t know where to begin, you’ve just found someone who can help! For motivated scouts and families, I offer personalized coaching to help gain clarity, get organized, learn better time management, and earn Eagle. 🙂

Whether or not coaching is right for you, I’m wishing you all the best for a bright future. Since you’ve taken the time to read this article and think critically about the decisions you’ll be making, I know you’ve got this! So, until next time, best of luck on your Scouting journey!

Cole

I'm constantly writing new content because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making our world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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