My teenage years were some of the best years in my life thus far. What made those awkward years bearable was my involvement in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The camaraderie I found was a safe-harbor and, as I reflect on those years, invaluable.
They taught me more than how to camp and cook. The BSA taught me life-long vocational skills including those related to project management, leadership, teaching, team building and public speaking. My fellow scouts and I learned to work together towards a common goal. Not just to practice skill sets but accomplish particular projects that were not only fun but tested our metal and perseverance.
Because the twelfth point of the Scout Law is Reverent, Troop 1100 (my Troop), which was chartered to my parish, always ensured we fulfilled our obligations to God and man. In a special way, it fostered my faith and assisted me in understanding how the Catholic-Christian ethos translates into a virtuous personal and professional ethic. Through the guidance of my Scoutmaster and his assistants, in April of 1989, I was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout and shortly after the St. Thomas More Award, the highest BSA scouting award in the Diocese of Arlington.
Now, my fond memories (and that of a number of my fellow Eagle Scouts) and the integrity of an organization that I have proudly stood by is in jeopardy. All because the BSA seems to be succumbing to the cultural confusion that is threating the very core of the Boy Scouts meaning, it has lost sight of what it means to be a boy per se.
On April 23, 2013, Mr. Anthony Esolen published in the Whitherson Institute Public Discourse journal one of the best pieces on this issue. The article entitled “A Boy’s Life with Unisex Scouts” was not only civil but replete with clarity, logic and sound percision. The article is a must read!
Granted, the scouts are not perfect and taught me my own share of bad habits but, all things being equal, BSA knew what it took to form a boy into a man. There are future generations that could benefit from the guidence and core values that Sir Baden Powell wanted to instill into the boys that he met. Hopefully they will get the chance if BSA headquarters will stay the course.
At the end of the day there are those who will say, “Everything they needed to learn they learned in Kindergarden.” Me, I learned it in the Boy Scouts of America.