THE Boy Scout organization has been in the Philippines since the onset of the 20th century. By the numbers, BSP has the second most number of members just behind the United States, the founding country. For the past decades, membership count was not active as the time of its introduction. It must be strengthened today to counter the negative effects of social media and misguided friendship of the youth.
Boy Scout as an organization develops two of the most fundamental recipes of success; basic survival skills and character building. Without these two, adolescents can easily be distracted by the negative influence of social media.
Scouting is like joining the seminary only it is secular so members are not confined in buildings for their formation and religion is not directly the basis for morals. The formation comes from the various activities and trainings of the club, from their sincere obedience to their scout masters, and from their heartfelt internalization of the scout oath and law. Scoutmasters and adult scouts teach the young members basic military drills, basic indoor and outdoor skills for them to learn independence. With this skills, they could be of service to their fellows anytime.
I am a member of BSP and our recent trainings on the basics of Adult Scouting opened me to the overall facets of the organization. Thanks to the prolific and energetic scouting advocate, Maam Brenda M. Cariño, the principal of BCNHS, in intensifying the scouting program.
Scouts who truthfully live the ideals of scouting will certainly succeed in their endeavor for a meaningful life. Adult scouts teach members to dress and talk smart and the proper way of behaving for them to embody a civilized, educated, responsible, and respectable person.
Scouting does not end in membership. Each scout after accomplishing sets of activities advances to a rank. For instance, scouts can attain the outdoorsman rank then they can move up to venturer, and finally, the eagle rank. Scoutmasters determine the progression of ranks. They will evaluate the members if they are fit to advance by looking to their accomplishments particularly if they completed the required activities and trainings they need to undergo.
Once they pass evaluations, scout masters give merit badges to the members as a sign of their advancement. This ranking system motivates the members to go through these activities. The higher rank they have, the more opportunities they have in joining other activities. The school or regional body can send them to a national or international gathering that is usually held outside the province or even in other countries.
Children and adolescents often hesitate to join clubs/organizations thinking that it is just a waste of time and that they are boring.
Scouting is a fun-filled experience. They will conduct activities inside and outside the school. They will have social activities. They go out for trekking and camping to familiarize outdoor skills. Scoutmasters will conduct training on etiquettes such as the proper manner of eating, the proper way of introducing people, and many others. They will learn the value of respect and discipline.
One problem of today’s generation is their lack of respect and honesty.
Scouting endeavors to inculcate these values. An unknown scout testifies to this character when his act of honesty was documented.
“Unknown Scout who performed an impressive act of honesty. July 20, 1950. Dear Miss Vivian Parlade, I saw this letter on the road. I picked it up and found that it must have been dropped and lost unknowingly by the owner. Since your address is on the envelop, I am respectfully returning it with the money, fifty dollars, untouched. I am a Boy Scout and I feel good that I am doing this. I am not after any reward nor compensation. That is why I am not giving you my name nor my address, only my initials. I hope you are happy.”
Character building usually happens in the younger years and it is solidified in their entry to adolescence. They will surely encounter multiple fronts of influences but the developments they gain through these scouting years are difficult to eradicate. Boy Scout of the Philippines is an organization that reiterates the significance of character and skill building to succeed in life.
There are many BSP members that are well known today. One was former President Ferdinand Marcos. He received Philippine Legion of Honor during his administration.
He issued Presidential Decree 460 restructuring the BSP: Marcos became the Chief Scout. He received the Mount Makiling Award (1973) and Tanglawng Kabataan Award (1977) from the Kapatirang Scout ng Pilipinas.
Also, another member was Fidel Ramos, alumnus of US Military Academy at West Point (1950). He was the founder of Special Forces, AFP and became its Chief of Staff. He was a recipient of Philippine Legion of Honor, president, Republic of the Philippines, Chief Scout, BSP and recipient of Bronze Wolf in 1993. Other known personalities are Carlos P. Romulo, Jejomar Binay, and Robeto Pagdanganan.
The government recognizes BSP as a school organization that’s why every public school has it. Teachers and parents are encouraged to convince their children to join the club. BSP aims to develop honest, smart, principled, and disciplined citizens and we can help by recruiting our children to join. When we look at the country today, we will understand how badly we need true scouts.