What You Can Learn From the Boy Scouts

Philmont Scout Ranch sits at the southeastern tip of the Rocky Mountains, 137,000 acres of rugged wilderness in northeastern New Mexico.

More than 950,000 Boy Scouts and adult leaders from around the country have found their way to Philmont since it opened in 1939 to take part in high adventure outings that include backpacking, rock climbing and horseback riding.

And Philmont is just one small slice of the overall membership of Boy Scouts of America (BSA), which has approximately 2.7 million youths and 1 million adults. An estimated 110 million people have been members since BSA was founded a little more than 100 years ago. In short, no organization has taught more individuals how to have fun safely in the outdoors than the Boy Scouts.

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Many of those lessons are just as valuable for recreational hikers or family campers.

A great many lessons fall under the broad category covered by the simple two-word Scout motto: "Be Prepared." Here are some lessons from the Boy Scouts that are universal to everyone enjoying the outdoors.

Know Before You Go

Education is a huge part of the BSA mission. Some key components:

Learn about the area you will be going to, and understand the potential dangers from plants and animals. Whether it's bear-proofing your campsite, treating exposure to poison oak, or avoiding rattlesnake bites, learning some simple lessons before you go can prevent much larger problems once you're there.

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About the Author

Chuck Scott is a freelance editor and writer with 30 years of experience in sports journalism. He is also an avid backpacker and camper.

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