Op-Ed: Scouting offers safe youth leadership development

  • Thursday, February 14, 2013

Parents and Guardians of America’s Youth,

As soon as possible, get your kids into Scouting and keep them there.
We write to reassure everyone that ongoing Youth Protection training in the Boy Scouts of America is mandatory for all adult volunteers and is a model of effective protection against sexual abuse and mistreatment by predators and abusers.  
Scouting’s “two-deep” adult leadership, modesty rules, prohibition against an adult being alone with a Scout not his child, and “full view” requirements for counseling help to make Scouting America’s safest youth leadership development organization and our country’s best.
The protection statistics defend that claim. In a 2012 study by Dr. Janet Warren, she stated, “…youth were safer in Scouting than in society at large.” (www.bsayouthprotection.org).
In May, the National BSA will again consider adjustments to rules in Scouting’s membership requirements, perhaps allowing those standards relating specifically to sexual orientation to align with those as determined by the Scout unit’s sponsoring (chartering) organization (e.g., a school PTA, church, synagogue, mosque or temple).
Drawing from their religious and moral conviction, many Scouts, Scouters, and Scouting alumni remain opposed to the change allowing gay and lesbian adults to serve as leaders if permitted by their chartering organizations.
Others may support the change individually while their chartering organization does not.
Regardless, with few exceptions — such as discussions related to health and welfare — one’s sexual orientation, sexual activity, or any talk of a sexual nature should remain out of our campfire circles, hiking trails, and unit meetings.   
As your Coastal Carolina Council “Key Three” leadership (one professional and two volunteers), we promise our community that going forward, as it has been for over 100 years, you will not find anywhere else in America an organization more dedicated to teaching and coaching youth leadership development than the Boy Scouts of America.  
That mission is worth working passionately to strengthen and to grow now more than ever.
Our council will continue to teach and preach the best Scouting has to offer America – preparing leaders for life, confident in their abilities to shoulder the mantel of responsibility, and dedicated to their God, as faith and spiritual revelation lead one to practice his duty to God.
Kindness and love expressed out of gratitude for the blessings we share from an Almighty God is a hallmark of the Scouting Movement.
Rest assured that the Coastal Carolina Council will preserve and promote Scouting to young men age 6 to 21 and young women age 13 to 21 throughout its nine counties from the Savannah River to Georgetown County and west to I-95.  
The 12 points of the Scout Law and the three main themes of the Scout Oath are timeless values which undergird a decent and productive civil society and derive themselves from sacred honor and a spirit of sacrificial service to others.
We ask you to join us in this quest and keep faith in Scouting.

Frederick J. Whittle
Council President

Alan Walters
Council Commissioner

Legare Clement
Council Scout Executive

Alan Walters is a resident of Pawleys Island.

Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.

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