Scouting without a Compass

Scouting without a Compass

By Tori Black

For many years my husband and I were volunteers with Boy Scouts of America. We served in packs, troops, crews and districts in a variety of positions. We helped youth develop virtues embodied in the Scout oath, law and motto as they worked on goals, performed service, and planned and participated in challenging outdoor adventures – whitewater rafting in Colorado, canoeing in Virginia, snorkeling in the Gulf of Mexico, and, our highlight event, trekking through the backcountry at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. It was a busy and often exhausting time for us, but immensely rewarding at the same time. So it was with real sorrow that we learned of the latest in a series of disappointing choices made by Boy Scouts of America. BSA is just one more victim in the war on the family.

The founder of the Scouting movement, Robert Baden-Powell once said, “In assisting his ‘neighbour’ every day to the best of his ability, and keeping truth, honesty, and kindness perpetually before him, the Boy Scout, with as little formality as possible, is pleasing God.”

Today, let us remember the good that Baden-Powell did for the many millions of young men who participated in and embraced the mission of the Scouting movement by helping our neighbors and keeping truth, honesty and kindness perpetually before us and our families.

Author, center back, at Philmont Scout Ranch with Venturing Crew 701

“Be Prepared.”
The advertising for the Scouting event is powerful and enticing. The photos and videos show
young people from all over the world at breathtaking locations sharing outdoor adventures
together with these words: “ The theme, Unlock a New World… invites you to unlock new
adventures, new cultures, and new friendships” as Scouting brings “together the world’s young
people to promote peace and mutual understanding and to develop leadership and life skills.”
What parent wouldn’t want to provide his or her child such an experience? And since Scouting is
always mindful of keeping its young charges safe and protected, you can rest assured knowing
your son’s (and, now, daughter’s) every need will be provided for. Maybe a little too much…

A new Guide to Safe Scouting?
When the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM) brings its Worldwide
Jamboree to the United States in 2019, it will be packing condoms for distribution to the
estimated 40,000 young men and women attending the 12 day event in West Virginia. Condom
distribution is nothing new at the Worldwide Jamboree. They were available in 2002 at the
jamboree held in Thailand, and the handbook from the 2011 jamboree made sure to inform the
Scouts about the laws regarding sexual intercourse in Sweden (illegal under the age of 15) and
where to obtain condoms (free at the Health Centers or for purchase at a local pharmacy). The
availability and distribution of condoms is now mandated for all host organizations of a
Worldwide Jamboree. Since Boy Scouts of America will be a cohost for the 2019 event, it is
responsible for providing condoms for scouts wanting to engage in sexual intercourse.

For years, BSA fought the good fight to keep the mission of Scouting focused on the unique
needs of boys with the aim of producing upstanding citizens and men with moral character. In
the 1970s there were approximately 6.5 million registered Scouts. Today there are only 2.3
million. That’s down from 2.8 million in 2012. In recent years, hoping to boost its ever-
dwindling numbers, BSA has given in to the demands of activists, thereby disaffecting Scouting
families and charter organizations, many of which are religious in nature.

An end to Baden-Powell’s dream
Over one hundred years ago, Robert Baden-Powell began the Scouting movement as a means of
instilling Christian character in boys and young men. Scouts were taught that they had a “duty to
God.” Part of that duty was to serve others and to be “physically strong, mentally awake, and
morally straight”. In choosing to host a Worldwide Scouting Jamboree, with its mandated
enabling of teen hook-ups, BSA has turned a deaf ear to those families that sought out Scouting
as a means of training their boys to be men with integrity and virtue who could resist an ever-
degraded culture.

While BSA and the Worldwide Organization of the Scouting Movement may have lost its way,
we cannot and will not. Remember, a Scout is brave and “…smiles and whistles under all
circumstances.”

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