Over the Independence Day holiday, Chicago Sun-Times Columnist Neil Steinberg did the same thing as thousands (maybe millions) of other Americans in cities and towns all across the nation – he went to a Fourth of July parade.
What he saw at that parade was also something many other Americans saw – young men and young women, all wearing the same uniform and all participating in the same Scouts BSA program, marching together to express their duty to country.
And as for any controversy as a result of boys and girls carrying flags together in the same parade, Steinberg had this to say:
“No gasps. The crowd reacted … not at all, as far as I could tell.”
“Some embrace ideas whose time has come. And some resist with all their might,” he said. “Until change occurs, as change must, and most people … shrug and move on.”
After the experience at the parade, Steinberg took a moment to share his thoughts in his column. It’s worth checking out the entire piece for his unique take. In addition to offering his commentary, he connected with BSA Director of Communications Effie Delimarkos to get an update on Scouts BSA and the growth of girls in that program.
“It’s going really well,” Delimarkos shared with Steinberg. “We have 20,000 girls registered since the program started in February.”
She added that there are now more than 2,500 all-female troops.
As Steinberg dove deeper into why BSA had sought to add girls, Delimarkos talked about the BSA program curriculum.
“We realized the content itself is universal,” Delimarkos told Steinberg. “We don’t fully tell the kids, but there are lessons sandwiched between the fun and camping and Pinewood Derby. Lessons that build resilience and character. The Scout Law, ‘A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful.’ These kind of things are not specific to boys.”
Addressing any perceived controversy, Delimarkos had this to say:
“What we heard, from parents and grandparents, was they have a totally different opinion when it’s their daughter or granddaughter. They realize we’re not necessarily taking something and changing it, but taking what many people have done and loved and making it available to the next generation. Once they see it through those eyes, some of the skepticism melts away.”
photo credit: Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun-Times