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Be prepared: this week, the Scouts are having a birthday! In honor of the one hundredth anniversary of the Scouting Movement, Boy and Girl Scouts the world over recited the Scout Oath at sunrise on August 1st, marking the strength and success of an organization started a century ago this month.
In August of 1907, Robert Baden-Powell, a British Army officer, created his landmark scouting program, which would later grow to include 28 million Scouts in 155 countries worldwide. Inspired by his military experience, where the soldiers who were self-reliant, resourceful, and responsible succeeded far beyond the call of duty, Baden-Powell decided to introduce these skills to British boys, and the movement soon spread like an expertly kindled wildfire.
Whether your children are seasoned Scouts or not, Scouting's centenary is the perfect opportunity to celebrate its basic principles. Creating confident, responsible, and principled individuals is Scouting's mission – and a parent's goal too! Here are some suggestions to give your child's life skills a boost:
Self-reliance.When kids feel competent, their self-confidence will make a major leap. Teach your child practical skills that will last them a lifetime, such as how to kindle a fire, change a tire, or pitch a tent on their own. These life skills could come in handy anytime, anywhere, whether it's on a mountaintop or in your backyard.
Character. Encourage your child to go out of their way to help others. Need ideas? How about mowing Mrs. Henderson's lawn or helping with her groceries? A little help goes a long way.
Dexterity.While waving a Wii may improve your child's motor skills, go back in time for some old-fashioned finger-work. Show your child how to whittle a piece of wood or stitch a holey shirt, and teach them practical skills while practicing their hand-eye coordination.
Camaraderie.Have a sleep-over to facilitate friendships. A fun activity to get kids closer is to tape a piece of paper on each child's back, and have each child write something that they like about the others on that their pages. Then, each child gets a list of anonymous compliments from their best buddies.
Responsibility. Sooner or later, kids need to take responsibility: for their actions, for their words, and especially for the environment. Teach your child to be responsible for the world around him by planting a tree, cleaning up litter, or going on a recycling rampage.
For more information on the history of Scouting, or to get involved, visit www.scout.org.
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