Over the past several months, I have been asked a question: “Are the Boy Scouts of America going to make it through the pending lawsuits and bankruptcy?”
Yes. I believe that the Boy Scouts will survive. I also believe that the Boy Scouts are doing the right thing. We are asking anyone and everyone that was ever abused in our program to step forward. We care deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting.
In today’s world, our program simply is not the same as it was decades ago. Our youth protection policies and mandates are the best of any youth organization in the world. We learned and adapted our policies to protect those that participate in our programs and activities.
It is imperative we “pull together” during these difficult times. Regardless of rank or position, we all wear the same uniform. We all believe that this program is valuable and significant for youth. We cannot change what a small group of volunteers did in our organization to exploit children, however abhorrent we find these actions. We can change how we act and respond today.
There are people today who feel that there is no place for civic organizations or youth education organizations outside of school. We know that this is a slippery slope. We see what this program does for youth, we recognized the value of strong adult role models.
And so, we are asking for your help. Now is not the time to cast stones at National Council, your council or your district. Now is not the time to berate a volunteer or unit. Now is not the time to argue the validity of training or fees.
Now is the time to be united. Now is the time to understand the value of a leader, a unit, your district, your council and the National Council. Now is the time to ask hard questions and seek real answers.
United, we are strong. Divided, we are fragile.
There are over 137 million alumni of Scouting. If you are volunteering or donating, you are making us stronger. You are, through your actions, a Scouting hero. The youth you serve may never say thank you personally, but they will forever be thankful for what you are doing.
I often reflect on my life and back when I was in Scouting. The leaders, parents and donors gave me some of the best lessons and experiences in my young life. I try every day to pay back even a fraction of the gift they gave me. It is one of the reasons I am prepared to stand and fight for all that you are doing.
Jory A. Dellinger
Deputy Scout Executive/COO