Where are the Boy Scouts?

A campfire left untended set off a brush fire in the Laddins Rock park area yesterday. That doesn’t sound malicious and was probably caused by some adventurous, but ignorant kids. We learned this stuff as Boy Scouts, back in the day, but membership in that group, at least here in Greenwich, has dwindled. In the 60’s, Troop II in Riverside had more than 100 boys and Old Greenwich perhaps as many? (Plus a spin-off troop – 34? – since disbanded). But in the late 80s and 90’s, when my own son John was a member of Troop II, I think membership was down in the low 20s. There are lots of reasons for that decline – organized sports teams being, I think, a primary cause, but it’s still a shame. Learning how to camp, how to treat the woods with respect and even, God forbid, to honor the Scout Code are not bad things at all. I can’t say I always honored that code as a teenager but at least I knew I was doing wrong – guilt can be a wonderful tool for curbing bad behavior – just ask a Catholic!


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6 responses to “Where are the Boy Scouts?

  1. Mr. Independent

    Sports are great. But the lessons I learned playing playing ball never touched those I learned in scouts. Decades, later, I do not think a day goes by where I am not using the myriad of cooking, creative jury rigging, personal discipline and leadership skills I learned in scouts.

  2. Anonymous

    as a very active boy scout — actually an eagle scout — i would have been a big promoter of the org to my kids, but about the time they were of the right age, the boy scout national org decided to withhold the eagle scout award from an atheist or agnostic. that did it for me.

  3. Mr. Independent

    To Anonymous: I think the “belief in God” rule was always in place. But I think it is very much like the “Don’t ask don’t tell” rule on sexuality. In order to have the Eagle badge withheld, a scout would have to make a militant point of bringing up their disbelief.

    • I did not earn Eagle Scout status but my for my (few) friends who did, a belief in God was not an issue. If the Scouts made it a litmus test in later years, shame on them.

  4. Both my husband and I were scouts in the late 50s; we not only expected our children to be scouts (one Boy, one Girl), but to love it as much as we did. They hated it. I regret to this day letting them drop out. I feel I did them a disservice, but they complained that not one of their friends joined scouting so I caved. Bad. I didn’t do much better forcing them to stay at piano lessons either. 😦