In the outdoors, youth have opportunities to acquire skills that make them more self-reliant. They can explore canoe paths and hiking trails and complete challenges they first thought were beyond their ability. Attributes of good character become part of a youth as he or she learns to cooperate to meet outdoor challenges that may include extreme weather, difficult trails and portages, and dealing with nature’s unexpected circumstances.
Learning by doing is a hallmark of outdoor education. Unit meetings offer information and knowledge used on outdoor adventures. A leader may describe and demonstrate a Scouting skill at a meeting, but the way Scouts truly learn an outdoor skill is to do it themselves on a unit outing.
Scouting uses the patrol method to teach skills and values. Scouts elect their own patrol leader, and they learn quickly that by working together and sharing duties, the patrol can accomplish far more than any of its members could do alone. The patrol succeeds when every member of the patrol succeeds, and Scouts learn that good teamwork is the key to success.
Health and wellness is part of the outdoor experience. As Scouts hike, paddle, climb, bike, or ride, their muscles become toned and their aerobic capacity increases. When they work as a patrol to plan menus for their outings, they learn to purchase cost-effective ingredients to prepare flavorful and nutritious meals.
Service to others and good citizenship is learned through such outdoor activities as conservation projects, collecting food, building trails and shelters, and conducting community service projects that promote healthy living. Through helping other people, Scouts learn to appreciate how they can share themselves and their blessings to those in need. By giving service to benefit others, Scouts gain a sense of personal satisfaction.