Last week I had the great pleasure of spending some time with the Denver Area Council of Boy Scouts.
I grew up with brothers, so I can hold my own among the boys. Scouting was a way of life for me and my family. I have attended every ceremony and merit badge awards that the scouts offer and, along with my brothers, worked on that long-term goal of watching (and often participating in) the requirements that allowed both of my brothers to achieve the great distinction of Eagle Scout. In fact, my family joked that I am an honorary Eagle Scout, which makes me very proud.
So, you can imagine, meeting with this organization today really caused me to reflect on those years. It reminded me how our lives are so significantly shaped by our experiences. No real revelation there, but a powerful reminder of our ability to influence today’s young people.
I think about the lessons scouting offered me and my brothers. We learned the value of patience and persistence. We learned how to problem-solve and how to fail and then try again. We learned about having high expectations and were competitive to achieve those expectations, while at the same time learning how to work together and to collaborate on a shared goal. These are life skills. Lessons that apply to life and to business – skills we all use today.
This meeting with the Boy Scouts of America was a perfect follow-on to the event I attended in Washington, D.C. the week before with the U.S. Chamber: Enterprising States 2012. That event highlighted the work of various states and examined what makes each state an attractive place to do business. Colorado, according to the report, ranks high in the high-tech industry and STEM jobs, in entrepreneurial activity, in median family income and in educational attainment.
It also highlighted Denver and Pittsburgh as recovering faster in terms of job growth than 49 other regions in the country. The U.S. Chamber was asking both regions to what we attribute our success, and our answers were very similar: We both collaborate and work very well together as a region. So, teaching our kids something about teamwork and collaboration can pay in very real ways for communities later.
As a matter of fact, our success in overcoming most of the challenges we face today won’t be because we found a silver bullet, but the success will likely be because we are a state filled with innovative and energetic people. We persevere and problem-solve together, and we teach our kids the same values to ensure we never lose that competitive edge.