Being part of the Boy Scouts has been a way of life for my family and me. My father was a Boy Scout when he was a young man, but his troop and involvement was lost when his Scout Master was drafted during World War II and there were no other men to take up the position.
My father never pressured me to join the Scouts, but he was pleased when I joined Flagstaff’s Troop 31 at the age of 11 and eventually become an Eagle Scout. I also married into a scouting family; my wife’s father was a Scout Master and her brothers were Eagle Scouts – all in Troop 31. I guess it goes without saying Troop 31 is like family.
For me, the Boy Scouts wasn’t about earning badges or patches, or gaining recognition for completing training or ranks; it was about the opportunity to be outside. I welcomed every chance to backpack, camp or ski – whatever allowed me to be outside kept my interest. I developed a passion for the outdoors. And when not outside, I was learning leadership skills and how to be an active citizen in a community, nation and world. I also took a real liking to first aid and emergency preparedness, which fueled my desire to learn more and ultimately become a physician.
Now, as a father of three boys, ages 11, eight and four, I want to give them the same outstanding opportunities I enjoyed growing up as a Boy Scout in Flagstaff. In 2011, when my eldest son was old enough to join the Scouts, I volunteered to be a Cub Scout Den Leader. Today, my wife, Amy, and I are both Scout leaders and two of our three sons are in Scouts. (The youngest thinks he is an official member because he gets to tag along on activities.)
I am often asked why I am so involved with the Boy Scouts of America? Why this organization and not another? For me, the reasons are simple and numerous, but primarily, we are involved with scouting because: 1) It’s a family tradition. The boys and men in our family are proud members of this organization; 2) I get to pay back and pay forward all the things I learned and loved as a Scout; and 3) Studies have shown what I already know to be true: Scouting works.
The Values of Americans, a research study conducted by Harris Interactive, surveyed more than 1,500 men, including those who had participated in scouting and those who had not. The report showed:
- Men who were Scouts say scouting had a positive influence on their lives and on society.
- Scouting positively influenced character development, self-confidence, interpersonal skills and family relationships.
- Scouting had a positive effect on school and positively influenced career development and advancement as an adult.
- Scouting improves reading, science, engineering, physical fitness and emergency preparedness skills. Scouts report earning higher grades than non-Scouts.
- Scouts tend to engage in more extracurricular activities such as fine arts, hobbies and school clubs than non-Scouts.
- Men who were Scouts are more likely to earn higher incomes and achieve higher levels of education than men who were never Scouts.
- Scouts are more likely to volunteer to be a leader and take part in community service.
The reasons to be part of this life-changing, life-molding national organization are numerous; however, scouting is not for everyone. That’s why there are dozens of national, regional and community organizations. What matters is finding an organization that brings value and joy to your life and the lives of your children. Whether it is scouting, sports, mission trips or other groups and hobbies, do something to positively impact your life and your community.
By Michael Fredrick, D.O.
Michael Fredrick, D.O., a board-certified anesthesiologist with Forest Country Anesthesia since 2001, cares for obstetric, pediatric and surgical patients who are in need any level of anesthesia or sedation – from local anesthetic to regional anesthesia such as a spinal or epidural to full or general sedation. Dr. Fredrick was born at Flagstaff Medical Center and grew up in Flagstaff. He earned his bachelor’s degree at NAU. After attending medical school and obtaining post-graduate training in anesthesia, he returned to Flagstaff. In addition to his role as a physician, he serves the community in several ways, including Cub Master with the Cub Scout program in the Boy Scouts of America, church coordinator for Crown Financial Ministries, stewardship chairman for Trinity Heights United Methodist Church, and member of the Executive Advisory Council of Flagstaff Community Christian School.
Forest Country Anesthesia providers perform more than 16,000 anesthetic procedures each year in all areas of anesthesiology, including cardiovascular, neurosurgery, obstetrics, orthopedics and pediatrics, across five facilities in Northern Arizona. To learn more about Dr. Fredrick and Forest Country Anesthesia, visit ForestCountryAnesthesia.com or call 928-773-2505.