By David Harakal

Parenting Through the Ranks

Updated for June 1, 2024 program changes.

Unlock your child’s potential. Help your Scout make the most of their Scouting opportunities.

Discover sound advice, experiential learning and wisdom. Learn from my triumphs and failures as a parent and longtime Scout leader.

Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Scouts BSA, Trail Life, American Heritage Girls, Girl Scouts, and Girl Guides provide the world’s best youth leadership training. Other resources exist to understand these programs. I, however, focus on how to parent, providing compelling advice that syncs up with you child’s Scouting stage, to help you harness the myriad Scouting opportunities to help your child discover their unique gifts and talents.

You will learn how to help your Scout:

  • Make the most of their Scouting advancement
  • Conquer their fears
  • Find new interests or hobbies
  • Develop outdoor skills
  • Explore potential careers

Additionally, find sample conversations to engage with your child at every stage of their Scouting journey.

You are crucial to your child’s Scouting success.

Parenting Through the Ranks will help you improve your relationship with your child, preparing your family for positive and engaging teen years. With this book in hand, become a facilitator and confidant in your child’s Scouting journey. Mom and Dad, being prepared is the best first step. The reward will be clear!

Read Parenting Through the Ranks now and take the first step to unlocking your child’s potential.


David Harakal

I have held pack, troop, crew, district, and council leadership roles, developed unit and district parent training materials, and created and taught parenting programs outside of Scouting.

The council awarded me the BSA Silver Beaver and Vale la Pena awards, and I received three President’s Gold Volunteer Service Awards.

My wife and I have two grown, married children – one an Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow Vigil Honor member and the other a past Girl Scout and Venturing crew president. These are our two successful Scouts.


Somewhere between “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “Don’t Tell Me What To Do, Just Send Money,” parents may feel overwhelmed by the plethora of after-school options for their kids. In the event that they and their children find their way into Scouting, or some other values-based youth organization, David Harakal’s book is an essential primer in how to make the most of the opportunities provided by such organizations. David’s emphasis on the role of family in making the Scouting journey a success for the Scout, the family, and the community is exactly what every Scouting parent needs to know BEFORE the journey begins. And this book will continue to be a valuable reference throughout the entire journey. If you and your child are looking at Scouts, or even if you are already involved, this book is a must-read.

– Bill Bryson, Past President, Far East Council, BSA; OA Vigil Honor member; Silver Beaver and Asian-American Spirit of Scouting Award recipient; former Wood Badge and NYLT course director; currently serves on two council boards; Father of two Eagle Scouts.


No matter how well (or not) parenting was modelled for you, or how well you’ve parented up until now, “Parenting Through the Ranks” helps the reader grow in confidence, understanding, and parenting skills as they navigate life and the world of Scouting.

With caring candor, Mr. Harakal mentors, encourages, challenges, and inspires the reader to be the best parent they can be … Sure wish I’d had this helpful resource during my Scout-raising years!

– Ellie B., Camp Fire Girls, Cub Scout, and Scouts BSA leader; Eagle Scout mom

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?