I am glad to see the BSA Home Office finally getting their PR straightened out on this membership mess.
Scouting Magazine‘s Bryan on Scouting blog today published a well-written defense of the national Key 3′s fiasco. No matter how you feel about the content, at least they’re communicating.
I do disagree with the premise that this is a “family discussion”. Call it what it is—outside agitators for political correctness. The “family” settled this matter last year when National Council recommitted to existing membership standards.
Why would our leaders reopen this wound? I believe this quote from National Commissioner Tico Perez is insightful:
The Key 3 has “one singular purpose in mind: to grow Scouting,” Perez explained. “To take Scouting to as many boys and girls as we can in America…
It’s all about the numbers. That is the root threat to our organization, much much more important than this smokescreen of membership.
We all know Packs and Troops that look great on paper. They recharter dozens and dozens of Scouts and Scouters. They have fun at their meetings, but they don’t ask much of anybody. Its not too hard to earn ranks, but not too many boys learn very much. They are popular, but they don’t accomplish much. That’s not to say we shouldn’t have fun, but at some point we’re compromising the quality of the program in the quest for numbers.
Growth for the sake of growth is no solution for Scouting. We can not sacrifice our principles for popularity.