Jump to content

Compare Scouting vs Sports ?

Recommended Posts

Okay, the previous thread implies a danger in kid's sports not inherent in Scouting. This led me to think about the pros and cons of each... Please add as things occur to you...



PRO: +get to work with like minded folks.

+ posssibly learn fair play, abiding by rules, ideals of good citizenship.

+learn new skills and abilities (make a big list of MBs and rank requirements and such)

+ get to camp and hike in the outdoors, fresh air (coff, coff, campfire smoke)

+ wear neato uniform (alright, opinion here)

+ attitude of public toward Scouting is generally positive?


CON: - Cost of uniform and equipment can be prohibitive.

- Adult leaders may not be the best all the time.

- Other kids/adults may not view your choice of activity as worthy (or they may be jealous). "peer preasure".

- Time constraints.

- possibly fall off cliffs, poison ivy, chillblains, blisters, sunstroke, possible child abuse (rare), various scrapes and bruises, get lost and be billed for rescue by helicopter...




PRO: + physical exercise and skill gained.

+ chance of big money with the pros. (ha ha ha)

+ comraderee (?) with your buds, joy of victory.

+ neato uniform.

+ learn fairplay, abiding by rules.

+ learn to accept dissapointment.

+ leadership, cooperation, obedience practiced.

+ working toward a group goal.



- Cost of uniform and equipment can be prohibitive.

- injury is very possible.

- not abiding by rules is sometimes promoted over the other thing.

- dissapointment is very possible. Not everyone wins. The agony of defeat.(maybe this is a pro?)

- Time constraints.

- the possibility that mom/dad are the ones that want Jr. to play when he'd rather not (see Scouting, too). Stress resulting.



Just off the top of my uncombed head... Can you add?(This message has been edited by SSScout)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 105
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Since all our soccer players were scouts, we tried similar ideas like this and the answer is yes, they did take charge because to not do so would be to loose. It was very much like sandlot sports. 

Getting an email or call from the principal about how your son was articulate and communicated with eye contact in a meeting with them is priceless.

OK, I'll speak up for sports here. I don't like when we try and pit disciplines against each other. I think the benefits of scouts vs. sports depends in many ways on the parents and what they want for

I found it interesting you listed "Adult leaders may not be the best all the time" as a CON of scouting but not sports.


Son has played club travel sports for last 5 years. Paid coaches, multiple practices a week, games each weekend within 3hr drive. Players at this level are regularly scouted for college teams in preference over "just" high school players.


The coaches are very knowledgeable about the technical aspects of the game, its rules, and various techniques. Not always the best motivator, speaker, or ethical person.


Leadership training was something left off the list. Scouts not only provides the opportunity to lead, but has training programs and materials that is age appropriate to teach leadership as well as try it out. Not just for the team captain but for all members of the team. Sports does not teach leadership, it teaches how to play sports. Team captains are not taught leadership, they are either elected or naturally have the basics.


While my son is not a team captain, the captains come to my son asking how to lead the team. Maybe parts of YLT did reach his brain after all.


Exposure to a broader view of the world would be a PRO for scouting. Scouts regularly travel around their home state and wider in search of adventure and learning opportunities. National high adventure bases, National Jamborees, and even local camping trips take the boys out of their normal neighborhood and show them samples of the world they would not have otherwise visited. Usually scouts not only drive by the site but get out and tour through it, forcing them to become involved.


Sports occasionally travels at the lower levels. Even the so called travel teams simply travel to the playing field/arena. Little time is usually available to tour the local sites, history, or adventure of the area. I can tell you about way too many sports fields and the nearest eatery but not much else for those trips.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You talked about the big bucks you could earn if you turn pro (yuk, yuk).. More likely would be that learning leadership skills in scouting will help you when you get into the working world, and that will improve your earning potential.. There may even be big bucks..


For sports you forgot all the popularity and the girls that want to date you.. Although I think there was a recent post that said the boy scout uniform was considered sexy... Nah... I think more girls still go for the jocks of their school..

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep sports are costly. Oldest takes karate. "Class A" uniform was $80, 2 t-shirts for "Class B" was $40, monthly fee is $80,and his first belt test, which actually covers White and Yellow is $100 ( yep they called the uniforms Class A and B, and yes they get tested for white, although they already gave it to him). That doesn't include tourneys or seminars. And I was informed that as he gets higher blets, he will need to go to seminars.


but the positives are that he is gaining self confidence, making friends, and... recruiting for the pack!

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is just no comparison! The real chances of earning large in sports are slim to none for most. Scouting, on the other hand, can pay off in decent bucks right now! Many of our older Scouts earn their HA money by doing home handyman type jobs. They've gotten to that point by working on all the home repair mb, salesmanship, public speaking, personal management and so on.

More importantly, training in Scouting generally gives them the ability to act calmly and confidently in most emergencies. In sports the general case would be a frightened group of boys yelling for the coach. If coach is the one injured...?

One CON left out of the sports column: a lot of team vans, buses, planes seem to be involved in fatal crashes

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, what the heck....


SCOUTS: PRO: +get to work with like minded folks.


I consider this a CON. Few people get to spend their life working with "Like minded folks." So if that is all you are used to, then you are at a disadvantage. You need to learn diversity in today's society.




It's a total wash between my one son's sports as it is my other son's Scouting. Scouting may in fact be a little more...and I would expect it to be much more so if big trips come into play.




There's good and bad in each... I'm certain of it. The good in each understand the limitations of the kids and knows how and when to apply the brakes. For example, there are skills that I can safely teach a 14-15 year old baseball player that I won't even consider teaching a 10 year-old player. In any group, a bad adult leader is a dangerous one.




Injuries happen with any activity...me falling up the stairs for example! It would be an interesting exercise in statistics to see the number of injuries per participant in both Scouting and each of the major sports (baseball, basketball, football, soccer). I would think that soccer is most likely the highest percentage of any of the sports and Scouting. I am more concerned with "injuries of stupidity", (see falling off cliff and trying to stand on a soccer ball)




For most sports (except basketball) that's a positive for both. If you have severe allergies and/or asthma, the woods is not the place to be for some. (BTDT)


SPORTS: PRO: Frequency of activity.


Most sports are 2-3 times per week for typical youth rec programs (school programs and club teams are obviously more). Most physical activities in Scouting in my area is no more than one or two weekends per month. I do not condone club sports (at all)...especially year-round...the body have to have recovery periods.




Parental pressure. Here...here. But in 10 years of coaching, I've had only one kid that was obviously pressured to play (a specific position)....or more specifically excel (see club sports).


Feel free to flame away.


Link to post
Share on other sites


Actually that was a very good post, no flaming from me.


While I do not have stats on accidents in sports vs. scouting, the sport that has more injuries than any other is actually cheerleading. Yep cheerleaders suffer more injuries, and more serious ones at that, than any other sport. Sorry I can not cite the article, but it came out within the past 3 years, and is in one of the professional medical journals. Was doing a lit search on sports medicine and concussions for a phsyician, and that article attracted my attention since I was a cheerleader Sr. year in HS and in college.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The only critique I have of Engineer 61 is his first item:


SCOUTS: PRO: +get to work with like minded folks.


I consider this a CON. Few people get to spend their life working with "Like minded folks." So if that is all you are used to, then you are at a disadvantage. You need to learn diversity in today's society.



Like-minded doesn't mean that the people aren't diverse, just that they like the same things (and I would argue that sports is an example of getting to work with like minded folks in the same way).


For example, the boys in my son's troop are like-minded, for the most part. However, we have a fairly severely autistic scout, an Asian-descent scout with hemophilia, various religious denominations, etc. There is diversity there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Differences -- you guys figure out what's a pro and what's a con:


Scouting is much more standardized program. Sure, there are weak units and weak leaders, but if you move cross-country and walk into a new pack, their Bear program is going to be pretty much like the one you left (keep in mind that most of us are so close to the program we could probably spot the differences much better than the average bear.) Sports, other than the rules of the game, vary wildly depending on the coaches. I would be comfortable dropping my sons off at any troop meeting anywhere. I can't say that about sports teams.


Scouting has much broader appeal. All sorts of boys can find a niche in Scouting. In Scouting a boy is not limited by physical ability or skill. Thoroughly midocre Scout can and do stick with Scouting until they 18 just because they're having fun. Sports are much more qualitative even to just be on the team. You're going to have to be pretty good to play on even rec teams at 16 or 17. My son tried out for his middle school football team along with 110 other kids. Only 17 made the team. Everyone makes the team in Scouts.


The teaching of values is much more overt in Scouting, more directly taught and taught better. Values are a by product of most sports. Values -- honesty, fairness, sportsmanship -- tend to be revealed by sports, not honed.


Certain sports -- golf, tennis, etc. -- can become life-long interests, while Scouting, per se, ends at 18. Yeah, I know most of us are still involved way past 18, but not in the same way -- you know what I mean.


Most sports teach hard work -- really hard, physical work -- and discipline better and in a more focused way than Scouting. Yeah, we teach personal fitness, but when was the last time you saw a Scout tie lashings until he puked? I think that was the biggest lesson I learned from 8 years of playing football: that I really can push myself to the point of absolute and utter physical exhaustion and it won't kill me.


I don't think there is any question the injury rate is a plus for Scouts and negative for sports. In 10 years, I can remember three trips to the ER for Scouts: one concussion, one for stitches and two x-rays (both negative). So far THIS YEAR my son's football team has had two broken arms, one broken thumb, one dislocated shoulder, two concussions (one serious), and one kid who totally destroyed his knee (he's waiting for tibia fracture to heal before he can have surgery for mutiple-ligament reconstruction.)




Link to post
Share on other sites

SCOUTING +: More diversity, by far. I don't get da "like minded folks" thing. In sports you're going to quickly be segregated onto a team with people of the same interest and very similar levels of ability. In Scouting, you're going to be in a patrol with kids with very different interests and levels of ability.


SCOUTING +: Teaches life long pursuits. Yeh can hike until yeh drop. Most kids won't play competitive sports past high school, especially team sports that require organization like football or baseball.


SCOUTING +: Learn a much broader range of skills that can translate into future careers or hobbies. Learn how to combine and use knowledge from different areas, work with groups of people, organize, budget, evaluate. Make better contacts with community.


SCOUTING +: Safety is much, much, much better than almost all youth sports programs.


SCOUTING +: Leastways around here, way cheaper than most of da youth sports programs. Ever seen what hockey costs for one season in da northern states? :p


SCOUTING +: Not so many screaming, misbehaving adults on da sidelines. Less competitive nature of activities doesn't draw out da same negative behaviors as for sports.


SCOUTING +: Somewhat better or more overt teaching of values, though scouters themselves aren't always da best examples.


SCOUTING +: Much better opportunities to learn judgment and leadership, and in more complex, challenging environments.


NEUTRAL: Scoutin' offers year-round opportunities. Makes for more growth, deeper friendships. Also makes for more of a commitment.


NEUTRAL: Competitive vs. Collaborative. Scouting is definitely more the latter. Probably more useful for a lad in the long run, but there's merit to competition, too.


SPORTS+: Develop better fitness. Scouting just can't do this in one meeting a week.


SPORTS+: Learn one thing (how to play goalie, etc.) really well. Parents see faster "progress" because of more time spent on just one thing.


SPORTS+: Yeh have professional coaches (paid by school or paid by association), so yeh have coaches who have more time to give and possibly have a longer-term commitment to the program. Practices are more frequent, coach might be more experienced.


SPORTS+: Much better marketing and youth "sex appeal", especially in regional sports. Perceived as "cooler" both by youth and younger adults.


SPORTS+: Much easier for parents to live vicariously through their kid, cheer for him, be part of his victories and defeats. Scoutin' is largely invisible unless yeh choose to be an ASM, and even then yeh can't cheer and shout most of da time.


SPORTS+: Less time commitment expected of da parents, often. More of a regular baby-sitting service where yeh aren't expected to do too much more than pay or fundraise. Event only takes half of a Saturday, not da whole weekend.





Link to post
Share on other sites

A comparison:


SCOUTING: Creativity and self-directed learning and leadership are paramount. Scouts learn at their own pace (except when pushed by helicopter 'rents) and largely decide what they want to work on. Scouts are in control of the schedule and trip planning, with patrol make-up largely chosen by the patrol members themselves. Adults take a background role of advising and mentoring.


SPORTS: Generally speaking, boys are joining teams whose members are chosen by adults, competing in games whose rules are written by adults, practicing skills selected by adults and playing matches on a schedule planned by adults. Coaches call the plays and organize the practices.

Link to post
Share on other sites

SCOUTING: + Everyone can earn First Class, with or without help. And help will be there.

SPORTS: - Not everyone will "make the team".


SCOUTS: -/+ Outdoorsy program is not for everyone, but there are other ways to be a Scout.


Sports: - You either play, or you don't. Team manager? Score keeper? Not the same thing.


"I was an Eagle Scout" "I was a Bob Warner Football player" Compare?


Granted, "Remember the Titans" is a good story, but the virtue/value of the coach was the source of the boy's growth, NOT the football sport.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Lets not forget FUN. Both provide opportunity for those with that particular interest. The best learning will come when a lad is in the activity that he is passionate about. Whether it be scouting, sports, music, theater, motocross, or something else. Lad participates at a level to become good at it. The better he gets, the more he wants to participate. He is willing to share, and will help teach and mentor younger participants.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...