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Recent Comments

Re: “Scouting: Fighting for relevance

Couple of corrections:

1. Scouting does serve the Muslim Community. There is a "mosque" tent here at the Jamboree, have offered regular prayers and a service today as there was for virtually every faith. There were services on Friday and Saturday for boys and adults of Jewish and other faiths that worship other days besides Friday. Scouting members must acknowledge a Higher Power - we pledge Duty To God first. There is only one Oath and one law with 12 points and the 12th point is Reverent. Scouting does not tell anyone how to worship or which church to attend. All are here and almost all have a national group that helps plan for and be sensitive to the needs of each faith.

2. Boy Scouting does have female members. There are women serving at almost every level - volunteer and professional - including Scoutmaster. Young women (14+) are members of Venturing Crews or Sea Scout Ships. They serve on staff at our National Jamborees, National High Adventure Bases and in local council camps across the USA. Below 14 - they are not members.

3. The BSA - like every other organization in the WORLD - isn't for everyone. Find what works and be happy. To those excluded because they don't membership requirements - there are other organizations that are, I'm certain, ready to welcome a person who has the courage of conviction.

Posted by AREagle on 08/01/2010 at 10:54 AM

Re: “Scouting: Fighting for relevance

Scouting is still relevant. We teach life skills and that boys can be successful without having to be a star athlete or star student or star anything. I know no where else where boys are taught leadership, patriotism, flag etiquette, outdoor living, time and money management, conservation, life saving, canoeing / sailing / rowing, and a host of other hobbies / skills / avocations and potential vocations -in what is a fairly important period of their lives - than Scouting. I'm sure there are such organizations. Perhaps these are now all taught in our schools. But... I think not. And if some are, I think the learners don't have as much fun doing it as in Scouting.

Scouting is not for everyone and there is not one single perfect organization. There are organizations that serve many needs. Find one, get involved and be happy. Or not. You could stand on the sideline and complain. I'd rather go camping or help a scout figure out a complex problem or share a cup of coffee with another leader around a campfire. I might be the only adult male that they see in a positive light. Someone needs to show boys what men look like and how they should behave. If that's not for you - fine by me. Your loss.

I'm writing this from the Jamboree. I gave 3 weeks of vacation and paid to be here to make the experience a positive one for the boys. Because about 10,000 of us did the same, we provided a great chance to reinforce positive behaviors. Tonight and earlier this week we heard from men and met men that credit scouting for their success. Secretary of Defense Gates, Medal of Honor Recipients, Astronauts and even Mike Row from the Dirty Jobs show. Not bad company.

There are, have been and, unfortunately, will likely be leaders and other adults that take advantage of their position and hurt kids. Scouting continues to work on ways of keeping people out of the organization that don't belong. Youth protection training and background checks of all adults are now mandatory. When other tools are found to work - I'm sure they will be employed.

The decline in membership is likely due to many factors - those described by others in previous posts. The other factor is that kids have many, many more choices - even in smaller towns like Hope where I did my Scouting and earned my Eagle. You may be interested to know that there is growth in membership in Central AR and the areas around it. The dramatic decline is certainly present but not everywhere.

Scouting is not perfect. It's good and does good things. If it's not your thing, that's ok. Go ahead and pick on us and complain. We promise to be courteous, kind and cheerful. Many of us are pretty good at it.

Posted by AREagle on 08/01/2010 at 12:29 AM


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