[October 11, 2013] To discuss core values, the Boy Scouts of American (BSA) is a classic. The BSA is universally seen as an organization that instills moral character into young boys. The cause is noble and it has been successful beyond what people thought possible.
The BSA was inspired by and modeled on the Boy Scout Association, established by Baden-Powell in Britain in 1908. In the early 1900s, several youth organizations were active, and many became part of the BSA.
The training of young people in a citizenship, service, and leadership is part of its vision. It does this largely through providing fun and adventure for them.
The BSA mission statement is an example of simplicity and directness. It reads:
“The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.”1
Furthermore, the BSA lays out the “scout law” which identifies those values that they believe contributes to the moral character of a man. A scout is required to memorize it and lead a life of those values. It reads:
“A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.”
The scout is taught honesty, integrity, and moral values. They are also taught never to compromise their values for anyone and that there will be enormous stress to adhere to peer pressure. Scout leaders help boys to build character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.
Undoubtedly, scouting and the BSA have been overwhelmingly beneficial to boys and has historically made more contributions to developing youth than any other group. Sadly, their policy regarding gays has also made them a target for harassment.
Senior leadership means dealing with controversy and sometimes there are no easy choices. The BSA leadership’s choice to admit gays will determine the legacy of the BSA.
Whether we agree or not with them, the controversy itself shows how such a positive organization can be damaged. Ultimately many boy themselves will lose because fewer will be served.
I am fortunate to have been a Boy Scout and my son an Eagle Scout.
 Information for this blog is taken from the Boy Scouts of America website and can be found at www.scouting.org.
The Scout Oath:
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
The Boy Scouts of America is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.
In the future Scouting will continue to:
Offer young people responsible fun and adventure; instill in young people lifetime values and develop in them ethical character as expressed in the Scout Oath and Law; train young people in citizenship, service, and leadership; serve America’s communities and families with its quality, values-based program.