By K.P. Sander
On Sun., Feb. 8, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will celebrate their 105th anniversary as one of the largest youth organizations in the United States.
With membership nearing 2.7 million youth and more than one million adult volunteers, the BSA was previously ranked the twelfth-largest non-profit group in the country, with total revenues of $665.9 million.
According to Wikipedia, the goals driving the BSA revolve around training youth to be responsible citizens, of good character, who are self-reliant. These young men – aged anywhere from 7 to 21 – participate in diverse educational programs, outdoor activities, and much more.
Headquartered in Irving, Texas, the BSA has more than 105,000 units throughout the U.S. You probably know some cub or boy scouts in your own city. The units are led by volunteers that are appointed by the BSA chartering organization, or local organizations such as churches, clubs, civic associations and educational programs implementing the scouting program within communities.
While the BSA’s influence has been both lauded and criticized for unfair practices – at times resulting in litigation – their objectives (known as “Aims of Scouting”) are touted as pure: moral character development; citizenship training; and the development of physical, mental, and emotional fitness. These Aims are defined through informal education and activities at regular meetings and members are identified within their own dens, packs and communities under the mentorship of adult leaders.
“Scouting” is characterized through specific codes, and perhaps at some point in your life you have held up three fingers and promised, “Scout’s Honor.”
Scout Oath: “On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
Scout Law: “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
Outdoor Code: “As an American, I will do my best to be clean in my outdoor manner, to be careful with fire, to be considerate in the outdoors, and to be conservation minded.”