The Boy Scouts of America has been in operation for the past 110 years, creating a household name for young boys across the country. But recently, they’ve faced a considerable setback to their reputation. The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy on February 18th, 2020 after more than 8,000 sexual abuse were charged against the organization. This action will presumably give the organization time to determine its next steps in dealing with the alleged charges.
In a recent article from the New York Times, contributor Clay Risen shared his view of the organization. Risen wrote an article titled, “Save Scouting. End the Boy Scouts,” in which he stated, “At its core, scouting offers a dual education in civics and self-reliance. It’s a combo of values and skills… [which] make[s] scouting so valuable.” Although he supports the idea of boys learning important life skills, he disagrees with the Boy Scouts Organization itself. Risen stated, “[The] Boy Scouts, though, is quite toxic. For scouting to survive, the Boy Scouts of America may have to go.” Concerned about the countless sexual abuse charges, Risen stated, “Too many bad apples raise unavoidable questions about the orchard they came from.”
Offering a different viewpoint, Lily Hughes, 11th grader at Bob Jones High School backs the Boy Scouts saying, “Although I’ve never personally been a Boy Scout, I am a strong supporter of the idea of giving young boys an outlet for all the raw energy they obtain throughout childhood,” adding, “Countless testimonies will let you know loud and clear just how wonderful this era was for many men today. Having a community of just dudes being dudes is a fantastic way for young men to learn and grow into fantastic adults with a bit of experience in knot tying!” Like Hughes, many people feel that scouting is great for boys to connect and build relationships with other boys while learning core morals and skills. Sam Pope, a 10th grade Eagle Scout agrees with this statement by saying, “I started scouting in first grade…It was a good influence because it taught me life skills including finance, diets, exercise, communication, etc.”
Historically, the Boy Scouts organization has been known for promoting good morals and making positive contributions to the lives of many young men, but failure to implement change could allow people with ill intentions to continue taking advantage of boys. In order for the Boy Scouts organization to continue, measures must be taken to protect innocent young men. For example, the Boy Scouts of America updated their youth protection training in 2018 and announced new policies to prevent child abuse in the organization. This is a step in the right direction and more action like this is needed to restore confidence in the organization.