Several months ago, I wrote an article about the power of a group and my feelings have not changed on the subject.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to see the demise of the Boy Scouts of America due to political correctness.

We are all aware of the recent changes, and the huge drop anticipated in BSA membership. We need to build up new troops to take up the slack. I, for one, realized that BSA national, has made new rules, but always seemed to leave a door open to free choice for individual units.

I think you as individuals can reach out to groups in your towns or cities and talk to them about Scout sponsorship. I’m talking about the Elks, Kiwanis, Lions, American Legion, Town councils, and any group who chooses to help young men grow positively instead of turning to drugs and/or gangs. Then you can all help in recruiting kids.

On the bright side, when tutoring in youth detention, I made gang members write poetry…and they did it, and liked doing it. Peer pressure is strong, so you have to offer something better. I think the BSA works because it offers hope. Given a place to meet, and leaders, kids in jeans and t-shirts can learn many manly things, before becoming full fledged Scouts. Win them and turn them. Take away the “geek factor” for just awhile.

Also, I strongly believe in church sponsorship. I have lived many places, and they all had some sort of community church group. The church leaders need to be approached to find out if they have enough boys of cub and/or Scouting age to form a unit. The bigger churches can open their doors to boys in the smaller churches. It builds good fellowship.  Many churches will be leery because the BSA, because of the recent changes, but many are more liberal. Instead of casting stones, if church leaders work together, great things might happen.

I am tired of assuming that BSA is close to extinction. I am reaching out to all of you to hear your ideas of how we can all fight to save a wonderful tradition. I believe the BSA can thrive with the proper attitude, honesty, and the power of a group. Please add your comments below. 

Joyce Olesen
is a grandmother, mother, and daughter of Scouters. She love kids, camping, country music and sport cars. Her Dad was a Scout leader in Chicago in the early 1920’s and having only daughters did not bolster his Scouting hopes. As his "Scout" she was tying regulation knots by the time she was 7.

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