I think scouting prepares boys to be a big fish in a very small pond. It doesn't take the next step of teaching boys to swim in the big pond.
Most of my scouts are afraid to swim in the big pond. Their peers sense this. I don't think boys scouts can lead their class mates if they are intimidated by them.
I am not sure what you mean by "big pond." Can you give some examples of other youth organizations that give their members a chance to swim in a "big pond", and maybe become a big(ger) fish in a big(ger) pond? In Scouting, would you consider a patrol leader whose patrols wins the competition at a district camporee to be swimming in a "big pond"? What about Jamboree? Is that a big pond? What about OA? What about an OA Lodge Chief? National OA Chief? What about a council Venturing President? Regional Venturing President? National Venturing President? Or other officer at these levels? These are all youth positions, and admittedly there aren't very many of them, but the opportunity is there. (We had one kid on what our council calls the Youth Executive Committee, and one member of our associated Venture Crew was (I believe) an officer at the Regional level. I also know a guy who, in the 60's, was a national OA officer as a youth.) What about NYLT staff? What about NAYLE staff? Big fish in a big pond?
I suppose an analogy would be a star athlete on a high school sports team that wins a state championship or is named to all-state in their sport, but there aren't many of those spots either. Robotics has a national organization, and the kids can do great things and win international championships and awards (as a team) and individual scholarships and other good things, and they can be captain or president or whatever of their team, but as far as I know every leadership position at every higher level is held by an adult. Unlike Scouting.
We also have had kids in our troop go on to Harvard, top engineering schools, great liberal arts colleges, the military, police training academies, etc. etc. and they seem to do pretty well in those "big ponds". Their previous education, extracurricular activities obviously had important roles in their development, but I like to think Scouting helped them along as well.
Edited by NJCubScouter, Yesterday, 09:18 PM.