At its core, scouting offers a dual education in civics and self-reliance. Scouting is where I learned the importance of voting, conservation and civil rights. I also learned to pitch a tent, tie knots, purify water, climb a cliff and perform CPR. It’s this combo of values and skills, and the overarching idea that they go hand in hand, that makes scouting so valuable.
I’m grateful to the Boy Scouts. But while my adult leaders were teaching me how to tie a bowline hitch, adult leaders in other troops were preying on boys like me. Maybe it’s not about a few bad apples; maybe I was just lucky.
I won’t take the same risk with my children. Fortunately, I don’t have to. My wife and I recently enrolled them in the Baden-Powell Service Association. We love it. They get outdoors, go camping, learn about their community.
It’s progressive — coed, secular — and maybe not for everyone.