Monday, March 12, 2012

The Impact of Scouting

A couple of years ago, I was privileged to help the Boy Scouts celebrate their 100 year anniversary. I often reflected on the positive impact that they served for boys around our country. Integrity is the word that comes to mind when I think about BSA. These young men are being shaped into great future leaders and fathers. I am a mother to an Eagle Scout and I am very proud of his accomplishments. I believe that Boy Scouts has given him tools to take on the world with vigor. This is a lot to be said since he has autism. He feels included and supported in the Scouting organization. That's not a common thread with all of the boys in our country that may not be served by BSA.
Girl Scouts are celebrating their 100 year anniversary this year. In fact, today is the 100 year birthday of starting of the first troop by Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts. This organization has been able to provide young girls with courage, character and confidence. Traits of a great leader. I am a Gold Award Scout - equal to the Eagle Scout. I know that some hard core Boy Scouts scoff at that - but I have been involved with both sides therefore, I know of what I speak.
Girl Scouts has a large variety of girls that it must serve. When the nay sayers step up and speak their rhetoric, it almost points out this very large group. Some girls are frilly, don't camp, don't like to be rugged but are very good leaders and active in their community. Some are rough and tough and can't wait to dig into the out of doors to celebrate their ruggedness. Some are quiet, some are outgoing. This includes the leaders that lead the troops. It is a fact that Girl Scouts probably don't camp as much as boys. However, I believe that is is easier for a dad to step away from the household for the weekend than is it for mom. Moms usually have to still manage the other kids in the house. Quite frankly, some dads wouldn't even dream of helping with the "women's work". Some of my leader friends cling to the thought of a hotel room while I can't wait to rough it a bit. The hard edges and the soft edges of girls all must be represented in one organization. As a troop leader, I must encourage all of these categories of girls. It's not easy.
When all is boiled down, the one big thing remains. Scouting is here to serve our young people and our adults in our country. Sometimes, these two organizations are the only way a kid feels included or someone even cares. The hugs I receive from kids are priceless. They really make me feel good when they are so excited to be around me. It works both ways.
Instead of tearing down either organization, BSA or GSUSA, let's support two groups that have stood the test of time. Many marriages don't last to 50 years and many organizations don't last to 100 years. Both groups are ever evolving, along with the youth of their groups. Leadership and confidence are what we need for our future. I tip my hat to two of these organizations that do that.

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