The Boy Scouts is very important to me as a person. Indeed, it is very safe to say that, were it not for them, I would not be the person I am today. I truly believe that I am a better person because of it, and I try every day to live up to the ideals of the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan. Scouting taught me how to be a leader, how to work with others, how to be self-sufficient, and how to believe in myself. Through the Scouting program I have visited foreign countries, run several programs, had several mountaintop experiences, and made life-long friends.
Scouting means the world to me. I cannot imagine my life without it, and I cannot imagine this country, or even the world, without it. In Scouting I see my life's purpose--to help develop the youth of this country through the Scouting program. I want as many kids as possible to have the same great experiences I had, to learn how to grow to their full potential, and to learn how to be productive members of this great society. In short, I want to give back to Scouting all that it has given to me. "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required" (Luke 12:48b. Or, in the words of Harvard's Plummer Professor of Christian Morals Peter J. Gomes, "For freely have you received, now freely do you give.") I have received more than I deserve, and I will give all that I can.
In my insufficient attempts to give back to Scouting, I serve as President of Harvard Friends of Scouting, and a member of both the Cambridge District Committee and the Council Camping Committee of the Boston Minuteman Council. Over the summer I work at the Bert Adams Scout Reservation in Covington, Ga., where for the past two years I have worked on revising and significantly changing the First Year Camper (Rawhide) Program. Before that, I was a staff member for four years of the Atlanta Area Council's Junior Leader Training Conference (Green Bar). It seems that I always receive far more than I give, in terms of personal satisfaction. I also worry that I could be doing something more to help the program.
In this day and age, it seems that Scouting, or, at least, the Boy Scouts, has grown unpopular. Membership across the United States is in decline, and countless individuals and organizations fight to remove funding from the Scouting program. It seems odd to me that so many people would fight against an organization such as the Boy Scouts. Scouting provides its members, both youth and adults, a plan to lead a successful life. By following the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan, a person can always make a just and right decision. In short, it provides a person with a perfect moral compass. Those who wish to kill this organization clearly care more about their personal interests than in developing good, moral citizens of this country. I'm not sure if "America is returning to the values Scouting never left," but I am sure that Scouting never left America's core values. That's a lot more than what I can say for other groups.
I would like to, briefly, comment on the situation of Darryl Lambert, a 19 year old former Assistant Scoutmaster who was removed from his post for coming into conflict with the Declaration on Religious Principles (he is an athiest). Many people have written letters commending Lambert's honesty with himself and with the Boy Scouts. As honest as he may be with himself, I must disagree with the latter claim. In order to become an adult leader, Lambert was required to fill out an Adult Application. One of the statements on the form with which he had to agree was the Declaration of Religious Principle, part of which states that "no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God..." Lambert clearly disagrees, and yet he signed the application form indicating his agreement. He wasn't being very honest then, was he? I don't care if Lambert is an athiest, but I don't think he (or his supporters) should be able to claim honesty with the Boy Scouts when that clearly isn't the case.
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