‘Friendly competition’ in Scouting brings brother and sister closer together

Alex and Charlotte at Machu Picchu
Alex holds Boys' Life magazine, while Charlotte displays a license plate with both troop numbers: Alex's Troop 361 and her Troop 114.

They’re in separate troops, but make no mistake: Charlotte and Alex Beatson are on this Scouting journey together.

They’ve worked on merit badges together, were inducted into the Order of the Arrow at the same time, and have even attended some of the same camporees and service projects.

“It is full of friendly competition,” says Charlotte, a 15-year-old Star Scout from Troop 114G. “This drives us to work our hardest and enjoy all we can learn.”

Alex, a 12-year-old Life Scout from Troop 361, agrees.

“It’s been fun to work on some merit badges together,” he says. “It’s been cool to see my sister finally get to do and be recognized for the things I have been doing in Scouting for years.”

Families like the Beatsons out of Littleton, Colo., illustrate why the BSA made the move to welcome girls into Scouting at all levels. Families want incredible experiences for their kids. And that’s exactly what Charlotte and Alex’s dad, Anselm, has seen so far.

“The principles and values of Scouting transcend all gender and social barriers,” he says. “It has been rewarding to watch both my son and my daughter develop the same sense of social responsibility and community involvement working off of the same equal platform and foundation.”

I wanted to know more about Charlotte and Alex’s Scouting journey so far, so I caught up with the Denver Area Council Scouts to learn more.

The Beatson family
The Beatson family

‘It started by chance’

Alex joined Scouting in first grade, thanks, in part, to luck.

It just so happened that Anselm saw a Cub Scout recruiting table at his son’s school. Intrigued, the dad asked a few questions and signed his son up. Anselm liked Scouting’s values, and Alex liked that he’d get to “camp, hike and just be outside.” As often happens, it wasn’t long before Anselm was asked to serve as a pack volunteer.

“The fun and challenges have only grown over time,” Anselm says.

Charlotte, who is three years older than Alex, was on the sidelines throughout her brother’s Cub Scout journey. But she was hardly a spectator.

She built her own Pinewood Derby car, toured the fire station and helped her little brother with fundraising projects.

“Together, we sold a lot of popcorn,” Charlotte says.

Soon after Alex joined what was then called Boy Scouts, Charlotte learned that girls would be invited to join the newly named program Scouts BSA.

“I got very excited and immediately recruited a few high school friends — some of whom also had brothers in Boy Scouts,” she says. “On Feb. 1, the very first day girls could join BSA, I helped found my own troop.”

Charlotte and Alex after their induction into the Order of the Arrow
Charlotte and Alex after their induction into the Order of the Arrow

Unrivaled experiences

Alex and Charlotte’s 2019 was packed with Scouting adventures.

In May, Charlotte was elected senior patrol leader of Troop 114G.

“I was surprised about how much leadership I was given,” she says. “The young Scouts really looked up to me. It makes me proud to be someone they look up to.”

In June, Charlotte earned the First Class rank and attended National Youth Leadership Training, or NYLT.

In August, Charlotte and Alex took a family backpacking trip to hike Machu Picchu. (That’s the awesome picture at the top of this post.)

In September, they had the rare thrill of being siblings inducted into the Order of the Arrow at the same time.

And in November, they each completed their 21st merit badge, fulfilling a key requirement on the journey to the Eagle Scout rank, the highest honor in Scouts BSA.

“My favorite was Camping [merit badge],” Charlotte says. “I really love going on campouts. I have the opportunity to learn, lead and gain experience. I have so much fun singing campfire songs and hanging out with my new friends.”

Charlotte teaches Webelos Scouts how to tie a knot
Charlotte teaches her fellow Scouts how to tie a knot.

About that magazine

When I saw what Alex was holding in that Machu Picchu photo — a copy of Boys’ Life magazine — I had to ask both Scouts what they liked about the official youth magazine of Scouting.

Charlotte says she likes “that it highlights regular Scouts doing extraordinary things. I love reading about people who have learned from Scouting and used it to help others.”

Alex’s answer was more succinct but just as excellent: “I like to read about other Scouts doing fun stuff.”

Charlotte is interviewed by Denver's CBS affiliate.
Charlotte is interviewed by Denver’s CBS affiliate.
The 2019 Denver Area Council Camporee
The 2019 Denver Area Council Camporee
About Bryan Wendell 2946 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.