Please indulge me in one more Sound Off post, and I’ll get back to more fun & interesting fare…
Scoutmaster Jerry posted a provocative piece this week on his blog. In part, he says:
I submit for the sake of discussion that maybe Scouting is not for every boy. It may be that what Scouting offers is not what they want or need. It may be that the boy is not ready for the adventures that Scouting offer and well-intentioned parents do not really understand what Scouting is all about. It is also true that many Scout leaders do not know what Scouting is all about and therefore have promoted a program that misses the mark when it comes to achieving Scouting’s aims. This has led to young boys joining troops that quickly disappoint or fail to deliver on the expectations they and their parents had on the join night.
As I’ve tried to note previously, any values-based organization is, inherently, “not for everybody”. And that is OK. There are, as Jerry notes in his blog, plenty of after-school programs that provide entertainment & exercise. BSA doesn’t stand for “Baby Sitters of America”! Jerry continues:
Not everyone wants what Scouting offers. Numbers, while they drive much of what the professional Scouters track are not the program. A great program that stays the course will bring in the numbers of boys that seek adventure, values, and ideals that are the hallmark of the Scouting program. Numbers for the sake of numbers will be just that and we see this play out each year with amount of boys that leave our units. They don’t want to play the game with a purpose and we should not make them.
We can not be all things to all people without sacrificing our core values.
Now I don’t want to misrepresent Scoutmaster Jerry’s views on membership. I know from Twitter that he favors changing the membership policy, along with a few other Scouters whom I respect yet respectfully disagree. I believe the BSA’s membership policy is all about character and how people choose to live their lives.
The BSA is an organization for people who choose to live their lives with character.
That is the larger question far beyond the immediate issue of membership standards. That is the larger question that inspires the passion of people on both sides of the immediate issue. That is the much more difficult question of maintaining BSA’s core values in a world of situational ethics and moral relativism that doesn’t much care for values any more.
- The Boy Scouts of America’s ‘family discussion’ on our membership policy (scoutingmagazine.org)