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Tags: dei | bsa | mormon

Don't Let Scouting Diversity Push Overshadow Its Mission

boy scouts and scouting united states

Boy Scouts Mission Statement, John D. Murchison Scouting Center in Dallas, Texas - in Eagle Plaza, outside the John D. Murchison Scouting Center. An undated photo. (David Pillow/

Jacob Lane By Tuesday, 28 May 2024 01:50 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Scouting defined my childhood.

For 12 years, from Tiger Scout to Eagle Scout, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) remained an integral part of my life.

Campouts, pinewood derbies, fishing, archery, wood carving, selling popcorn --- you name it, I did it. And loved it.

But as I watch the organization today, now rebranded as Scouting America, I find myself barely recognizing it.

This club, pivotal in shaping not only me but also millions of other men, seems to have strayed far from the values that once guided it.

This ill-fated metamorphosis didn’t happen overnight, as the organization’s leadership has been out of touch with scouting’s rank and file for decades.

After spending millions to defend their right to set leadership standards, going so far as the Supreme Court in 2000, BSA reversed course just a few years later by permitting gay leaders.

Regardless of one’s stance on BSA’s past moral leadership requirements, it’s counterproductive for a cash-strapped non-profit to spend millions defending a policy, only to abandon it shortly thereafter.

This is especially true after the objections of some of the organization’s largest supporters, including the Mormon Church.

The Mormon Church would ultimately sever its association with BSA in 2020, eliminating around 30% of all BSA troops.

For an organization already struggling to sustain its troops, it might as well have been a death blow as other large religious groups like the Southern Baptist Convention followed suit.

Then came the forced introduction of DEI initiatives into BSA, with Eagle Scouts now required to earn a merit badge that explores "important topics around diversity, equity, and inclusion."

But the influence of DEI runs much deeper than a simple merit badge.

At the last National Jamboree hosted in 2023, a significant portion of the event was dedicated to celebrating "diversity," including a tent featuring "bowls of rainbow bracelets and pronoun stickers."

I think I speak for most former scouts when I say that we have no issue honoring the diversity of participants within BSA.

Our issue is when such measures are deliberately used to overshadow the organization’s longstanding core mission.

BSA’s mission, including fostering responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance, seems to be purposely diluted by identity politics.

Enter the decision to allow young women into BSA’s ranks.

Quite frankly, such a measure should surprise no one.

With DEI policies reigning supreme, this decision was a natural next step.

But at a time when the character and spiritual development of boys and young men are being overlooked or flat-out ignored, these groups are now left without one of the last remaining organizations dedicated to their advancement.

Not to mention it looks like a desperate attempt on behalf of BSA to improve their financials by expanding their membership pool.

Add to all of this the now-infamous sex abuse scandal, which impacted tens of thousands of scouts. The scandal was poorly addressed by BSA’s then-leadership, who seemed more concerned about their self-preservation than uncovering the truth.

BSA has enjoyed a long and rich legacy in our country, dating back to 1910.

Gerald Ford, Neil Armstrong, Sam Walton, Bill Bradley, and Rick Perry were all Eagle Scouts. So are millions more who made their mark in business, science, politics, athletics, and as entertainers.

With the recent rebranding, Scouting America counts over 1 million youths in their ranks, including 176,000 women. The organization is not going to cease existing anytime soon, so any talk of its immediate demise is premature.

But 1 million members is a far cry from its peak of 4 million in 1973.

With the inclusion of young girls and women, which doubled the number of potential scouts overnight, that number should concern the organization’s current leadership.

Instead of adding members thanks to greater "inclusivity," more are choosing to leave scouting, especially as Christian alternatives have emerged and become more popular.

No matter what becomes of the new Scouting America, I will always reflect fondly on my many years in scouting.

Being a scout provided me with a lifetime of great memories and friends I wouldn’t have had it not been a part of my life.

Through scouting, I gained leadership skills that I use to this day.

Becoming an Eagle Scout remains one of the proudest accomplishments of my life, and believe it or not, it helped me get a job or two throughout my career.

Nothing can take those things away.

Unfortunately, for generations of young men to come, they will not have the same opportunities to experience the traditional scouting values that shaped the lives of so many.

This isn’t just their loss; it’s America’s.

And that’s the truth — Scout’s honor.

Jacob Lane is a Republican strategist and school choice activist. He has worked for GOP campaigns at the federal, state and local levels, as well as with various PACs and nonprofits. Read Jacob Lane's Reports — More Here.

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For 12 years, the BSA remained an integral part of my life. I gained leadership skills. Becoming an Eagle Scout remains one of the proudest accomplishments of my life. For generations of young men to come, they will not have the same opportunities to experience traditional scouting values.
dei, bsa, mormon
Tuesday, 28 May 2024 01:50 PM
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