My fellow Scouters and Scouting Supporters,
As I enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with two children, I found myself reflecting on the unprecedented events that have transpired since early March. Suffice to say, it has been a time of challenge, uncertainty, and hardship for everyone.
Yet, throughout, I have found optimism, hope, and am repeatedly reminded of how much we have to be grateful for.
I was asked by a friend last week about the future of Scouting.
“Amidst all of the issues facing the Boy Scouts of America,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be easier to leave your job and do something different?”
“Certainly you have the skillset and abilities to do many things,” he continued. “Why do you stand and continue to argue the merits of Scouting?”
I thought about what he said for several days. To be honest, I have had several sleepless nights as I worry about the future and what to do next. Ultimately, I took a deep breath, raised my head, and settled on what I will tell him the next time I see him.
I am shocked and horrified that youth in our program were ever harmed. As has been said many, many times – even one case of abuse is too many. I subscribe to that. I believe it with all of my heart and, ultimately, I take responsibility as a professional in the organization for our past. But that’s what it is, the past. Our processes and procedures help ensure that Scouting today is one of the safest places for our youth to learn and grow.
Some of you know that Scouting was a huge part of my childhood. If it wasn’t for my Scout Leaders, my appreciation of the outdoors, my skills in teamwork, service, and leadership would not have developed. At least, not as early in my life.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude for the volunteers that surrounded my experiences, many of whom did not have children in the program at the time yet still took it upon themselves to help others.
Many young people aren’t on the starting five of the basketball team or in all of the advanced placement classes. Kids need caring adults to help them along the trail, to nurture the spirit of adventure and wonder. I hate to think of a world where those opportunities don’t exist.
This holiday season, my pledge is this: I will continue to fight, to take the bullets, and to weather the storm, so long as there are young people that need our organization.
I hope that many of you will join me. But even if I stand alone – I will stand for everything good in the Boy Scouts of America.
Indeed, I have many things to be grateful for, and every day that I get to represent the youth of our great state (our next generation of leaders) is one of the most significant to me.
I give you MY thanks for all you do to make Scouting possible. Stay safe, stay healthy, and God Bless,
Yours in Scouting,
Deputy Scout Executive