While I was a Brownie for a year or two in elementary school, it wasn’t my path to a love of the outdoors. I didn’t realize what an incredible impact Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts can have on kids until later in life. In my 20s, when I was dating my husband, I had a chance to attend quite a few Boy Scout ceremonies to cheer on his younger brother, Chad, who would eventually go on to achieve Eagle Scout. Over the years, I learned a lot about what was involved, from wilderness trips and fundraisers to the earning of patches of all colors, shapes and sizes. Most of all, I was impressed with how the program exposed kids to all kinds of experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have had.
That’s why I was so excited to see that Take Me Fishing has introduced a Scout Patch Program. The three patches introduced are the Passport Patch (which requires Cub Scouts and Scouts aged 6 to 11 to complete a six-step program that teaches them how to be knowledgeable, safe and confident when fishing and boating), the First Catch Patch (which requires Cub Scouts and Scouts aged 6 to 11 to organize a fishing trip using the resources on TakeMeFishing.org) and the Mentor Patch (which requires Scouts aged 12 to 17 to organize a fishing trip for newcomers to the sport)
Studies have shown that 90 percent of adult outdoor enthusiasts were introduced to nature-based activities between the ages of five and 18. That’s certainly true for me. The boating, waterskiing, hiking and camping that I did with my family and at summer camp when I was growing up is what got me hooked. And it’s what gets me so excited to share them with my son.
If our industry wants a bright future, we need more of these types of initiatives. In fact, I suggest boat dealers and marinas contact their local Scout troops to find out how they can be a part of this program or Scouting activities in general. If you can get these kids and their families hooked on boating this year, your business – and the industry at large – will reap the rewards for many years to come. For more information, visit TakeMeFishing.org/Scouts.