Is Change Good for the Boy Scouts?

By | July 28, 2021

[July 28, 2021]  There is an unwritten, rarely spoken-about guide to the Boy Scouts.  Anything that detracts from developing boys to make them better men needs to be jettisoned by the wayside.  So what is it about the current changes in the Boy Scouts that do not meet those criteria?

Mark Pulliam, a retired lawyer and writer, makes a good argument in a recent article that the Boy Scouts have “wandered far off course and lost sight of Lord Baden-Powell’s mission …” 1  Success can be measured in many ways. Still, the Boy Scouts of America measure it in terms of membership.  More scouts mean more success.  It is a common fallacy to push membership when you have failed to jettison ancillary tasks and duties that are a distraction.

The Boy Scout Law is as simple as it is clear.  A scout is loyal, helpful, courteous, kind, … and reverent.  Those 10 “laws” that makeup what I call “core values” have remained the bedrock of scouting since its inception more than a century ago.2  Those so-called laws, or values, remain on the books of scouting but are more and more ignored.

Membership has risen and fallen with societal perceptions and population changes.  But rarely has it seen such a steep decline in the number of boys served.2  From a peak in 1972 at 6.5 million members to an estimated 1.12 million today.  These numbers are, indeed, grim.  It means fewer boys are being exposed to men who can show them a proper path to manhood; through example.

The problem faced by the Boy Scouts has been a fierce attack on its Scout Law.  In today’s “tolerant” society, increasingly secular views have come to the forefront.  Any attempt to exclude anyone from any position, organization, or place is now attacked, as anti-you name it.  Standards of behavior are to be shunned or discarded as relics of a bygone era.

“Many parents enrolled their children in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts because those programs represented old-fashioned, wholesome, traditional values …”

The leadership of the Boy Scouts of America has accepted a fait accompli that they lost the war on traditional – and successful, I might add – values that made Western civilization great.  Litigation by atheists and gays regarding the scout’s “exclusionary membership requirements” (upheld by the U.S. Supreme court in favor of the Boy Scouts) pushed scouting leadership to accept anyone into their ranks.

“Much of the attraction of the BSA is that it was seen as a respite from—or even an antidote to—the hostile forces in a culture many parents regarded as a negative influence on their children. “

The Boy Scouts are now “woke.” And parents realize it.  That is why many have turned to alternative youth organizations, primarily sponsored directly by various churches.  Other organizations face similar threats to their original founding values.  The Girl Scouts is an important example.

What will become of the Boy Scouts?  That is hard to say.  But its current leadership will not reject those social trends that prevent it from being the most successful program in the nation to help young boys mature into good men.  Scouting’s membership will continue to decline despite the Boy Scouts now accepting girls and those who reject religious teachings into their ranks.

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  1. https://lawliberty.org/an-elegy-for-the-boy-scouts/
  2. https://www.theleadermaker.com/core-values-boy-scouts-of-america/
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

19 thoughts on “Is Change Good for the Boy Scouts?

  1. Sadako Red

    Say what you want about the Boy Scouts, but they have saved uncountable boys from the slavery of low expectations.

    Reply
    1. Max Foster

      In this case, an end is near for the Boy Scouts unless they go back to the principles that made them who they are and what they can accomplish. Their values are proven to work but have adopted underhandedly other “diversity” “PC” “Woke” values, untested, and certainly not successful.

      Reply
      1. Bill Sanders, Jr.

        True, Max and thanks for getting to this point that I was hoping to make as well. Being woke won’t help the scouts. The real leadership is at the troop level, certainly not at the senior level.

        Reply
        1. Willie Strumburger

          Right Bill, the BSA leadership at the corporate office are the losers. I don’t care who they appoint as head of their org, if they don’t reverse course, they are doomed.

          Reply
  2. Shawn C. Stolarz

    Too many hands in the pot. The BSA leadership at its corporate level have made many strategic errors. It is difficult at the troop level to overcome the Wokeness at that level. Some have decided to just pack it in and call it all off. Scout Troops are closing down.

    Reply
    1. Scout for Life

      BSA I has failed our male youth. Period. No slicing it any other way. Even with good leadership in play, it would take years to recover from the downhill slide (morally). Numbers of scouts do matter. The more boys reached, the better.

      Reply
  3. Greg Heyman

    I was in the Boy Scouts and loved it as a boy. So was my son. We became successful because we learned about the Scout Law and how to put it into practice. We watched mature, successful men and copied them. We learned leadership, real leadership. We learned the value of the outdoors and how to entertain ourselves and our fellow scouts. We succeeded. Today we are teaching failed values, proven not to work.

    Reply
    1. Tom Bushmaster

      Greg, I guess that is why you are not “woke.” Whatever that means.

      Reply
      1. Dearth Crass

        Yep, I’m not either or my family. But I’m more aware of what’s going on than the average “woke” leftist dreaming his way thru life.

        Reply
    2. Gil Johnson

      That is right, we are teaching failure and that when you fail, you just blame it on someone else. Maybe just blame it on you being oppressed by someone else. Now, that will do it. 😊

      Reply
      1. Tracey Brockman

        Good points, guys! Boys are boys, and men are men. Today, if you are a boy and self-identify as a girl, you can still be in the Boy Scouts. I would argue, you should be to straighten your ass out.

        Reply
        1. Rev. Michael Cain

          Good to see you back on Scotty. I hope you’ve been well. All good hear. But this article disturbs me, as it does others from what I’m reading. Sad.

          Reply
  4. Stacey Borden

    Great article, thank you Gen. Satterfield for bringing a bit of sanity to the Boy Scout debate.

    Reply
    1. Keep it Going

      That’s why I’m a regular reader. I don’t comment much because I don’t think I have any more to say.

      Reply

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