Latest Posts

8 ways Scouting is like ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Good triumphs over evil, family matters most and all the best action happens outside.

That describes the Scouting movement. It also describes Star Wars: The Force Awakens — a little movie that I hear is doing pretty well at the box office.

Steven Toole, a district marketing chairman in the Washington, D.C.-based National Capital Area Council, came up with eight ways Star Wars parallels Scouting. He shared it with me and agreed to let me post it here.

It’s a great read, and it could make for a fun, thought-provoking Scoutmaster’s Minute or Cubmaster’s Minute.

Oh, and it’s completely spoiler-free.

Let’s head to that galaxy far, far away and check it out!

Star Wars and Scouting: A Parallel Universe?

By Steven Toole

As Scouters, it’s difficult to watch the latest Star Wars movie without seeing obvious parallels to Scouting. Here are a few:

TFA1

1. There’s a choice between good and evil.

Scouting helps show youth the clear path to the light side and how to avoid the dark side. The force is strong for both sides — negative peer pressure is a strong force of the dark side. Faith, self-esteem, personal achievement and goal-setting can be even more powerful forces on the light side.

TFA2

2. Family values matter.

While Darth Vader may not have been the model father (clearly young Anakin was never a Cub Scout), the latest film shows the importance of family.

TFA3

3. The best stuff is outside. 

You’ll notice that nearly all of the scenes of the “good” characters take place outside, while nearly every scene of “evil” characters takes place inside. ‘Nuff said.

TFA4

4. Dream big.

Scouting is about dreaming big, following your dreams, setting goals and believing in yourself — no matter where you come from.

TFA5

5. Explore and seek adventure.

Plenty of adventure in each episode of Star Wars. The characters don’t fear taking risks and accepting challenges to achieve a higher goal. Neither do Scouts.

TFA6

6. Do your duty to country.

The Resistance fighters in The Force Awakens seem to parallel our founding fathers, who were willing to risk everything to uphold democracy and stand up to oppression and our God-given rights.

TFA7

7. STEM rocks.

Plenty of science, technology, engineering and math throughout. The Resistance uses a highly scientific approach to combat the evil First Order.

TFA8

8. Greatness comes from within.

The main character discovers an untapped inner strength. Once this character finds that strength, it’s channeled to fight evil. The dark side, on the other hand, seeks greatness by taking away from others.

Whether or not you get out to see the new Star Wars movie, these themes are obvious. With the film breaking all kinds of box office records, it’s clear that Scouting values reflect the most important values of the American public.


Photo via this awesome collection of Star Wars Pinewood Derby cars on the Boys’ Life site.

23 Comments on 8 ways Scouting is like ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

  1. Another way Scouting is like “Star Wars”…

    The first two parts are mainly male-driven (the prequels and the original trilogy for Star Wars; and Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts for Scouting)… and it’s not until the third chapter that a girl can take the lead (The Force Awakens and Venturing). 😉

    • Prequel Trilogy = Cub Scouts
      Both have a young boys racing (either pod-racing or Pinewood Derby racing). There’s a padawan training along side a master (a Jedi Knight or Akela). And there is silly, goofy fun (Jar-Jar in Star Wars and plenty in Cub Scout skits and songs). Qui-gon and Obi-wan are like Akela.

      Original Trilogy = Boy Scouts
      Classic, original, and time-tested fun and adventure. A young boy striving for greatness (either to become an Eagle Scout or a Jedi Knight). Obi-Wan and Yoda are like Scoutmasters to Luke.

      Sequel Trilogy = Venturing
      Lots of fun and adventure… and girls can take a leading part. It’s new and exciting; it builds on what came before but stands on its own. Han and Chewie are like Advisors to Rey.

      • And that would make Webelos = Star Wars: Rebels (bridging the gap between Cubs and Boy Scouts and between the prequels and A New Hope).

        And Varsity Scouts = The Holiday Special (overlapping with the original trilogy / Boy Scouts time-span and mostly overlooked and ignored).

        😉

        • BTW, the engineers that designed the x-wing fighters, the dune sailers, the ground speeders and all the droids are Explorers.

      • Bryan Wendell // January 7, 2016 at 2:03 pm // Reply

        Nicely put, Matt and Kyp!

  2. How come Scouting portrays duty to country with a man flying a killing machine, yet condemns waterguns as violent and un scout like?

  3. On a related note, how is “The Force” like that Scouting staple: duct tape.

    They both have a dark side and a light side and hold the universe together.

  4. Modern Scouter // January 8, 2016 at 10:52 am // Reply

    But Wait – girls can’t be Boy Scouts

    • Scouter Steve // January 8, 2016 at 1:48 pm // Reply

      Correct but under BSA there are three co-ed divisions: Venturing, Varsity and Sea Scouts. So while girls can’t be “boy scouts” per se, they can be active youth members of the Boy Scouts of America’s three other divisions which are co-ed.

      • Sarcastic Scout // January 8, 2016 at 4:21 pm // Reply

        yes but only if they are 14 or older and completed 8th grade, not exactly inclusive.

        I understand the boys in American under the age of 14 cannot control themselves and are not as mature and responsible as their European counterparts so unlike the rest of the WOSM BSA does not allowed girls until they are 14.

        • Scouter Steve // January 8, 2016 at 5:22 pm //

          Please see the original post I responded to.

        • Mr Cubmaster // January 9, 2016 at 4:19 pm //

          But girls can join the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts can’t join the Girl Scouts, hmmm, but yet lets skewer BSA for not letting girls in until 14. Maybe Boy Scouts of America is a better program than Girl Scouts

        • Actually, Mr Cubmaster, the Girls Scouts of the USA do not have any gender test or requirement to join. A boy who culturally identifies as a “girl” can join the Girl Scouts.

          See the GSUSA FAQs: http://www.girlscouts.org/en/faq/faq/social-issues.html#a5

      • Varsity is not co-ed.

  5. Whenever I facilitate a class on Communication MB, I use Darth Vader as an example of an excellent speechmaker. Vader states his Purpose to Luke “Together we can Bring Order to the Galaxy”; then provides the Details “The Force is with you; I am your Father”; and concludes with his Call to Action “Come with me – it is the only way. It is your Destiny!” Puts writing a speech into simple terms that Scouts can remember and use to write their own 5 minute speech

  6. And remember that 1) Lucas no longer has any creative control over the SW Universe 2) He “sold his kids to the white slavers” (ref: Charlie Rose interview) ( it is now a Disney property) 3) If the only way to fight evil is to kill everyone, we have other problems. 4) Family values? Are Han and Leia married? Everyone of any worth in this movie seems to be a saloon keeper or a privateer of some kind or some sort of rough guy with a good heart…Where are the bus drivers and okra farmers? At least Anakin had a hard working single mom…

    ***My candidate for Scout Movie of the Year is THE MARTIAN: camping out, being prepared, saving lives, family values, Loyalty (we will get him back), STEM (absolutely!), Cheerful (things could be worse), Thrifty (make do with what you have), Pioneering, Brave (well, yeah!), even Reverent…
    Moral: What you KNOW can save your life. STAY IN SCHOOL!!! PAY ATTENTION AT THE CPR CLASS!!!

    • >>Family values? Are Han and Leia married?<>At least Anakin had a hard working single mom<<
      His mother was a slave!

  7. Scouter Steve // January 9, 2016 at 8:02 am // Reply

    Wow, I wrote this blog post as a FUN way to think about scouting and to tie the program we all believe so dearly in. And as a way to relate something as wildly popular as Star Wars to the scouting program. I was hoping the comments would contain other positive similarities that I overlooked, but I see so much negative feedback here instead. People, please look at the category of this post, it’s tagged under “FUN”. If your idea of fun is to tear apart the content and provide negative commentary, please find a different blog to air your gripes.

    • Completely agree. It’s just fun. We are using Star Wars as our Blue & Gold theme. Darth Vader is on our patch. Why? Not because we want our boys to become someone who kills off his enemies without conscious or because he’s annoyed, but because he’s cool – he’s got a mask… and a cape… and makes that cool breathing noise… and every time he walks into a room he gets the cool music. NOTHING MORE! Seek the good… this is just for fun. Keyboard commandos are everywhere… even in Scouting.

  8. Both, Scouting and Star Wars, involve popcorn sales.

    • Oh, so true! And howcum the New Republic’s main Space Fighter Base looks like a surplus equipment depot? After 30 years, Ida thunk they would have made some progress there….

  9. The main characters grow in their capabilities as they go on adventures, overcome challenges, learn to trust themselves, and benefit from mentors.

  10. I’m going to feature this on our Pack’s blog page. Thanks!

Join the conversation