Observe a community or classroom anywhere in the world and you will conclude that boys instinctively form groups, adopt uniforms, establish standards, develop a credo and create initiatory challenges. While most educational systems battle these instincts scouting gives them a means of positive expression. Boys yearn to belong, to gain acceptance and approval outside the confines of their family. Their imperfect search for guidance and understanding is often met with suspicion and misapprehension. In adolescence they try on lots of attitudes and poses paradoxically seeking approval from the adult world in their very rebellion against it. It can be a tough time for everybody.
We all more or less hammered our way through adolescence in whatever way we could. Some had it easier than others. There were some people who made the process more difficult for us and some who helped. That’s part of the reason that I am a Scoutmaster – I’d like to help. I like to go camping, I like to teach, and I like to cook over a fire.
Scouting, for all the protestations otherwise, is not an ideology. It is a movement with a program that recognizes how to channel the unstable energies and excesses of adolescence. When scouting doesn’t work as it should it is usually adults who have made a real mess of things; it is almost never the fault of boys.
Our volunteers in Scouting are a cross-section of American culture. We represent the a full spectrum of socioeconomic, religious and political views but Scouting possesses a great potential to be inclusive, resilient and to to bring people together.
After beginning in Great Britain in 1907 the movement spread around the world. In 1910 Scouting arrived in United States. The Boy Scouts of America has had an illustrious, if sometimes troubled, history. We have yet to realize the full potential of Scouting for inclusion but change comes slowly.
Scouting is different from any other youth program and getting it right requires dedication and study. Scouting shares the paradoxical combination of simplicity and complexity found in a round of golf or a game of baseball. The basics take a few minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. This blog is an ongoing effort to do just that.