When I see a headline like this: “The importance of the Boy Scouts in America” – I can’t help but stop and give that article a read – in this case, a column that ran recently in the Niagara Gazette.
Okay, as Chief Scout Executive, I’m admittedly biased. Yes, this column says a lot of great things about our organization and yes, it was written by an Eagle Scout.
But, at the same time, it makes some significant points about what our boys need today. This paragraph, in particular, illustrates those needs:
There’s a lot missing in boy’s lives nowadays: Their outdoor pursuits have taken a back seat to new-fangled electronics, they don’t share the same bond with their real-world communities that they do with their trivial Internet communities, their schools have totally lost sight of civic education, and they struggle to find continuity in broken homes which, sadly, have become too commonplace.
There is a lot of truth in those observations, whether you support Scouting or not. The writer also goes on to reflect on how parents need all the help they can get to support their boys’ growth in environments of broken homes or broken communities:
Many mothers and fathers struggle to help their son find his voice, his calling, in any number of pursuits, be it sports, band or other extracurricular activities. Quite often these families find themselves with a void, unable to satisfy their desire to better their sons. Scouting is the one-stop source – the complete package – that can alleviate that stress. It combines the best of everything else into an all-encompassing program, one guaranteed to keep a boy’s attention and interest and one destined to make him a better man.
For today’s busy parents, it’s a convenient option for those who feel spread thin: It’s one meeting a week, one campout a month, and one week-long trip a year. That small investment of a family’s time can create a lifetime of memories and, more importantly, a lifetime of success.
There are many obstacles in the paths of America’s youth these days, and we all need to pull together to help them overcome those obstacles. Whether it’s Scouting or other youth-serving organizations, boys need mentoring, guidance, and a set of values to live by and learn from. They need that foundation to grow into great leaders and supporters of their communities.
Do you agree with this writer? Is his assessment of the challenges our young people confront each day on-target? What is your perspective and how do you work with young people to support their development? If you’re a parent, does Scouting help make the most of the little time you have?