This past weekend, I was at my local Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch registering my car at my new address. This meant getting new plates. In Indiana, you have the option of getting a standard plate or getting a premium plate that is sponsored by a particular university or organization that operates in the state. I decided that rather than opt to get a standard plate, I would support an organization this time around. I knew that there were really only two plates of this kind that I would be interested in getting, the Purdue University (my alma mater) plate and the Boy Scouts plate.
After some brief internal debate, I decided to support the Boy Scouts of America with my vehicle. I was a boy scout beginning in fifth grade and continuing all the way until I was a sophomore in high school. I passionately latched onto the organization during that time, and was able to earn my Eagle Scout award as a 14 year old; just three years after I had joined. There is really only one reason why I chose the Boy Scout license plate over the Purdue one; I value my Eagle Scout award more than I value my college degree.
When I began working on my Eagle Scout award, I had never led an entire group of people, never had slept under the stars, never had climbed mountains, or never built a fire without using matches. Through scouting I had the opportunity to do all these things with excellence. It was during that time where I gained most of my self-confidence, my commitment to hard work, and my passion for exploration.
Although college was testing at times, much of what I learned was a rehash of past life lessons (aside from the intellectual gains made). Furthermore, I suspect that the standards we hold college students to has diminished over time. The heightened project collaboration and the distractions created by digital technology, have considerably eroded the challenges colleges were once known for. Nowadays we educate people to become creative expressionists and appreciative of fluffy opinions and luxuries instead of training them to be autonomous critical thinkers and problem solvers. Scouting on the other hand, teaches our youth to rely on themselves to accomplish great things.
I don’t want to come across as bashing collegiate studies too much, because I genuinely believe that an educated populace is the only hope we have at fixing many of our society’s problems. I will just say that I think scouting can do more and does more for an individual than a college education.