Lessons in Life Skills

My grandfather was an Eagle Scout and latter a Navy Commander. My father was an Eagle Scout, and did a stint as a DE right after college and before I was born. As a youth they both guided me to be a better person. I joined Cub Scouts at 8yrs earned my AOL and moved on to Boy Scouts. As I entered my early teens when youth start to find their passions, I wasn’t into sports, or music, etc. so was a bit lost and felt like an outsider. That first summer as a Boy Scout, being in the woods, camping and cooking for ourselves opened up a whole new world to me. As I worked worked through ranks and merit badges I learned so much that is not available at school, and little of it anywhere else. I thrived in our little troop until the age of 15. The local army depot closed and both troop leadership and most of the scouts were gone. The troop struggled on for a few months then folded up. I’d reached Star and was one badge shy of Life. I was devastated, but those skills I learned as a scout helped me pick myself up and keep on going.

It wasn’t until I was in college and met “kids” from all over that I realized how much of an impact scouting had I me. In so many ways I stood out in maturity, focus, drive, and especially in moral compass; the Scout Law was ingrained into me. After college while working, my peers partied and spent their money whereas I saved and bought a house, fixed it up acted like an adult. At work I tried to contribute and improve where so many looked for what they could get and then moved on. I’ve worked for 3 employers in 35 years. I married at 28, adopted kids, and moved a couple times.

When my son was of age I took him to join Cub Scouts and ended up being a Den Leader, moved with him to Boy Scouts as an ASM. It was at that time that I’d gone full circle and it hit me, guiding and training the young scouts, so very many of the skills I was teaching I’d been using what felt like my whole life. I didn’t need the book, they were part of me. These are Life Skills and I was a better man for having learned them. My son went on to earn his Eagle and later did 5 years in the Navy; I was proud and knew his great-grandfather who never met him would have been too. He is now an entrepreneur using his scouting life skills every day. I pray the BSA is around for a 5th generation of the family. In the mean time I’m still an ASM, in both B and G troops, and am thankful for every boy and girl I get the opportunity to introduce to the joys of the outdoors and teach thems the skills to get them through a lifetime.

Submitted by: Scott Steesy of North Conway, NH