I have my philosophical differences with the Boy Scouts of America. In fact, I never encouraged my own boys to join a troop while they were growing up. But a story in my local paper has given me a new respect for some of what Boy Scouts teaches.
Mark Doose, a 19-year-old college student from Hinsdale, Illinois, was recently rescued after spending 48 hours lost in the Swiss Alps. With no working cell phone and no food, Doose made his way toward safety after becoming disoriented while skiing in heavy snowfall.
What saved him were the lessons he learned in Boy Scouts. He knew to use landmarks such as the pylons for chairlifts to head toward town. He also slept in a snow hut he made because he had learned the insulating properties of snow from his Clarendon Hills, Illinois, Scout troop. Eventually his calls for help were heard, and he was rescued by helicopter and escaped permanent injuries.
Perhaps the most important thing Boy Scouts taught Mark Doose was confidence and persistence. He says he never gave up because he was focused on using the problem-solving skills he had learned in Boy Scouts.
I would love for the Boy Scouts of America to make changes that would be more inclusive and also more transparent in order to protect the well-being of young boys. But I cannot deny the benefits of the survival and life skills acquired from membership in Boy Scouts.
(Photo and story details from The Chicago Tribune, Feb. 12, 2015)