Scouting change not for the better
As a Eagle Scout since 1983, and an Order of the Arrow member, I would like to say something about the “new changes” that have taken place within the BSA.
First, let me state that in 1974 I got involved in Scouting as a Cub Scout and spent six years as a Boy Scout with Troop 11, sponsored by Avalon United Methodist Church in Albany. I am now currently an Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 222, Central Georgia Council.
As a youth, I had the influence of two men who exemplified exactly what the Scout Oath and Scout Law (at that time) represented: James Forsyth and Paige Bradford. Both of these men were not Scouts as youths.
Both are deceased now, but what they taught me and what I learned from them I will always remember for the rest of my days.
To their families, I would like to say “thank you” for the sacrifices (birthdays, anniversaries, quality time with their families) that they had to make to let them be with us boys to influence and guide us. I will forever be in your debt.
I remember years back, on numerous weekend campouts around the campfire, Mr. Forsyth and Mr. Bradford telling us boys about a time would come when we as Scouts would have to stand our ground and “do the right thing” — within the Scouting movement. Wasn’t quite sure what they meant by that then, but its crystal clear now. (I thought, “Gee, we got a Scout Oath and Law that we all must follow in order to be Scouts ... and there’s gonna be a problem with this inside the BSA? It’ll never happen.)
They talked of people in high places and positions within Scouting that would try and change things to benefit their own personal agendas — and it was beginning to start within the local council level. I saw this with my own eyes.
It is all so crystal clear now. The Scout Oath and Law have not changed. Scouting (scouting mindset) has changed — and not for the better. We have lost our moral compass.
I will always remember my old Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster saying to us boys, “When you lead boys as a Boy Scout leader, those boys will always be watching what you do and say in and out of uniform. You are the example. You are Scouting”
Our boys are watching us.
RHETT H. THOMPSON
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rhett H. Thompson is assistant scoutmaster Troop 222, Central Georgia Council.