Loyalty to the Movement

scoutmastershipI have been in discussions lately.. yeah still talking about “The issue”.. the good news is simply this.  All of the discussions that I have been engaged in as of late are about where we go from here.  Moving on.
The “Gay” thing really has become a secondary issue.  What has become the primary topic is what we want Scouting to look like in the near and far future.  Most Scout leaders that I have talked with, emailed back and forth to, and bounced ideas via Twitter want to get back to basics.  I totally agree.
What this new spark has done for me is to look at what Scouting is really all about and why we do it.  It has brought back memories of when I was a boy and the great times that I had as a Scout.  It has asked me to look at how I work as a Scoutmaster and the example that I set for the boys of my Troop.
I am satisfied about how I am a Scoutmaster, but as with most things in life, I can do better.  To do better I need to get back to basics.  I need to teach, coach, train, and be a mentor to our Scouts in the tradition of what the Scouting Movement promotes and why it has had a lasting impact on not just the United States, but the world.
I think we fall short in the US in that we are not good historians.  We don’t look to the past to see what got us here.  We fail to look to the founders of the movement both here at home and of course Baden Powell as he founded Scouting with an idea and a promise.
Once again, I have been diving into Aides to Scoutmastership.  If you have not downloaded a copy or got a hard copy.. stop reading now.. open up another window and download your copy.. read it.
… OK.. you are back…  Great stuff in there, right?
Last night after the troop meeting a group of parents and I talked in the parking lot.. yeah.. you know, the meeting after the meeting.  They wanted to assure me that they are in it for the long haul.  That they believe in Scouting and they believe in how we offer the program in our troop.  We talked about religion and it’s role in Scouting and what responsibility, if any, we have as troop leaders when it comes to religion.  We don’t really have a role, other than being a good example.  What I wanted to share with the parents was my loyalty to the program, to the troop, and to Scouting.
When I got home, I pulled out my copy of Aides to Scoutmastership and started to dig in.  I wanted to see what BP had to say about our roles.  And I got hung up on this section:

Loyalty to the Movement
Let the Scoutmaster remember that in addition to his duty to his boys he has a duty also to the Movement as a whole. Our aim in making boys into good citizens is partly for the benefit of the country, that it may have a virile trusty race of citizens whose amity and sense of “playing the game” will keep it united internally and at peace with its neighbors abroad.  Charged with the duty of teaching self-abnegation and discipline by their own practice of it, Scoutmasters must necessarily be above petty personal feeling, and must be large-minded enough to subject their own personal views to the higher policy of the whole. Theirs is to teach their boys to “play the game,” each in his place like bricks in a wall, by doing the same themselves. Each has his allotted sphere of work, and the better he
devotes himself to that, the better his Scouts will respond to his training. Then it is only by looking to the higher aims of the Movement, or to the effects of measures ten years hence that one can see details of to-day in their proper proportion. Where a man cannot conscientiously take the line required, his one manly course is to put it straight to his Commissioner or to Headquarters, and if we cannot meet his views, then to leave the work. He goes into it in the first place with his eyes open, and it is scarcely fair if afterwards, because he finds the details do not suit him, he complains that it is the fault of the Executive.
Fortunately, in our Movement, by decentralization and giving a free hand to the local authorities, we avoid much of the red tape which has been the cause of irritation and complaint in so many other organizations.
We are also fortunate in having a body of Scoutmasters who are large-minded in their outlook and in their loyalty to the Movement as a whole.

It took a bit to digest that, remembering the time and place in which BP wrote the Aides to Scoutmastership.  Like I said in a post last week… the more things change, the more they stay the same.  You see, the world was a crazy place then.. and you know, with the exception of cool phones and the internet.. it’s still a crazy place.
When we demonstrate loyalty to the boys in our Troops, no matter what we personally think, we teach them valuable lessons in citizenship.  It is no secret that our country is divided politically.  The Boy Scouts of America prohibits us from participating in political or social activism in our role as Scoutmaster. We can not march in parades, use our position in Scouting to support a candidate or cause.  We can however remain loyal to the process and teach that to our Scouts.  Above all if we believe in Scouting we remain loyal to it.
It is because of generations of Scout leaders that came before us that got us through the rough spot in Scouting during the 70’s.  It got us through World Wars and many issues “of the day”.  Scouting did not change.
Anyway, I don’t want to get into a rant here.  I just think that we need to get back to basics.  Aides to Scoutmastership is one way that we can learn about what got us here.
Now that you have a copy, lets get into it and get back to the basics of the Scouting movement.
Have a Great Scouting Day!


  1. Basic’s! That’s a start; I think looking at “Integrity, Values and Ethic’s” are the base line start issues. Any “Leader” that lacks “Integrity, the Scout Values, Oath, Ethic’s and Character” needs to pack his/her Ruck Sack and go down a different Trail. That applies at all levels. The examples set by our Government, Military and our Society in General is waning. Leaders that are not willing to enforce and or set the Standards need to consider “Hiking the Hike” or simply get off the Trail!


  2. Made comments this time and some be for… I must be on the “No Comment List”…as mine never see print… I do see where they are “held for moderation?” But never “Posted”??????


  3. Awesome post Jerry, once again you remind us of the roots of Scouting and why we all joined in the first place – well done!


  4. Unfortunately, this issue at its core is social and it is political. It is one of the sharp values of the culture wars of the US. The culture wars are struggles to change the values of the American people, and to get them to accept behaviors that had previously been unacceptable. My father, who got his Eagle in 1945, is stunned that we are even having this debate. His generation back then would never have even thought to put a resolution like this on the table.

    But the forces of change, or “change agents”, are battling to overturn our past attitudes sexual expression, drugs, religion, family relationships, and absolute values. It really is a battle for the mind and heart of the country. Twenty years ago the BSA took a stand for a value they saw as pretty important. At that time they said “homosexual conduct is not consistent with the values of Scouting”. Now they say, “never mind.”

    As for marching in parades, I saw this: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/06/03/188308263/boy-scouts-march-in-uniform-at-utah-gay-pride-parade


  5. I’ve attempted to “Post a Comment” several times on this Blog, but must be on the “No Comment//Fly List”?

    A few thoughts:

    Without “Character, Integrity, Standards and Values” as a Leader you both have no credence in your position and essentially will not evolve as a respected leader. Therefore, no valid followers!

    Simply writing or proliferate about leadership traits is one thing; living them is quite another.

    As we witness daily in our contemporary lives; the “Lack of these Traits” in (Government, The Military, Schools and in general our daily Social and Professional contacts) the search for real Leadership is becoming a full time effort and possibly a loosing battle. What is the expectation that “Scout Leadership be any different”?

    The difference simply stated; The BSA Future is on the line.
    The Values taught in the BSA programs are not something that we see fostered or perpetuated in our Schools, our Government or Society in General. Therefore, the BSA seems to have been “Burdened” with one of the only viable Societal Youth Leadership Programs available for Americas Youth” anymore. Where in our contemporary Society does one hear the “Values” cited in the Scout Law; where in our daily lives are there acceptable standards expounded; where in our daily lives is there an expectation that these values be a part of our daily routine?

    If we want to make a difference, if we truly want to participate in the development of our youth, then the “Core Leadership Values of Character, Integrity and Viable Standards”, must evolve as “Living these Traits”. Simply writing about them will make them so. Raising Three Fingers and from rote, professing the Oath may not be enough… Living them by example demonstrates “Leadership”.

    The concept as I understand it; belonging to the BSA Leadership Corps dictates that the “Scout Oath, Law and Training Standards” be adhered to and provided for all members; Leaders and Scouts.

    … are these very standards expected to be a part of the “BSA Leadership Lifestyle”. There is no binding or legal requirement to live Scout Leadership Traits; therefore, it becomes a “Choice of Adherence” on the part of each leader. The crux of that statement is “Choice”… “Character and Living with Leadership Traits and Values” is basic to the expectation of becoming a Leader in the BSA…a commitment to be; trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent is the “Scouters Life Style”. It means a personal acceptance and a willingness to live and hike the scouters trail. If one is not willing to accept the principles and standards of scouting, then the program is not for you. If your not willing to “Lead by Example” then the program is not for you; and if you compromise your “Integrity” at any level, the program is not for you. Personal Integrity equates to Personal Identification to this writer. Everyone knows leadership values once compromised, renders a leader ineffectual. Teaching the Honored Values of Scouting to youth, means you must have in your “Ruck Sack of Leadership Traits” the same and consistent standards enacted daily in your lives. If you cut corners, lessen standards, expectations or violate the Scout Law… you’ve wandered off the Scouting Grid.

    Of course there are always options and alternatives: One can always consider your dedicating volunteer time to local, state or federal Politics. I’m just sayin!


    1. As far as I see it the policy and the policy change are clear. Live the Oath and Law. What is there to debate about on this issue. Those that choose to not follow this simple policy should leave Scouting.
      I think that what everyone needs to understand is that Scouting and the movement of Scouting have been around for 103 years in America and has weathered storms and debate. Nothing in the original values of Scouting are changing.
      What I read out of the new policy is simple.
      You want to join … fine.. join.
      You join us… we don’t join you.
      Love it or leave it.
      In so far as politics.. Nah.. I’d rather teach character than fight it. I’m just sayin’
      I have faith in Scouting.. I have no faith in politics or politicians.
      Thanks for the comment… oh and by the way.. No you are not on the “No fly list”… yet. hahaha
      Love ya Dad!


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