My father was a Boy Scout. Myself and my older and younger brothers were in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. My son was in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.
Scouting provided nothing but great experiences, adventures, life skills, and character development for each of us. I would recommend trying the program to any youth and their parents, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, financial means, or mental and physical capabilities.
Is scouting a great fit for everyone? No. Have there been factual stories of abuse in scouting? Yes. Unfortunately there have been factual stories of abuse in every group in every society. But if you take the time to review the public data in detail, youth have been abused in scouting on a “much” smaller percentage than they have at home, in their neighborhood, at school, in sports groups, and on and on. One reason that people have been abused throughout history is because there are abusers in every walk of life. Scouting has always put the highest priority on youth safety, and I trust that it will continue to do so. I can say that I never would have enrolled my own son in scouts if my experience as a youth scout had been negative. And my father would not have enrolled me and my brothers if his experience as a youth scout had been negative.
After to the U.S. education system I would say that there is no other youth development entity that is as good as scouting.
For the record I’m also a fan of Girl Scouts. That program is fantastic for many girls. But there are girls who want some experiences that many Girl Scouts troops don’t provide, who have found the new Scouts BSA program to be more to their liking.
Submitted by: Stuart Thomas of WAKE FOREST