ScoutingNovember - December 2002

Letters Letters

'Anger' article was insightful

I found the article "Behind the Mask of Teenage Anger" in the September issue to be insightful...

Scouting is, in many respects, an idealized version of life...[but] because it deals with boys, it is usually less than ideal. I enjoyed reading about [real] problems and realistic methods of solving them. Too often, it seems, in promoting Scouting, we gloss over problems or...when we do address them, we may be seen as being negative.

Scouting, in my view, was created for boys who face problems every day and are seeking positive, meaningful solutions as they search for their identity. This article provided that means...[and it] reinforces the argument that we can all do something within our means toward this end.

John McCauley
Ann Arbor, Mich.

Congressman applauds Scouting

(Editor's note: The following letter was originally sent to the Baltimore Area Council, BSA.)

While I was growing up in Baltimore City, I served as a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout. The idea of belonging to the Scouts was important to me, and this experience changed my life.

I will always remember my troop and our den mother at Leadenhall Baptist Church in South Baltimore, meeting on Saturdays at 5 o'clock, reading the Scout handbook and learning how to tie knots. I was proud to be a part of something positive. And the uniform—how proud I was to wear the Scout uniform!

Times have changed since I was a child, but children still need basically the same things to develop to their full potential. Belonging to the Scouts brings structure to a young man's life, something that is vital to his development.

It is my sincere hope that more parents and their children will consider Scouting as a necessary part of their world. Scouting brings a multitude of benefits, both short-term and over time, to both Scouts and our community.

I applaud the Baltimore Area Council [of the] Boy Scouts of America for all that you are doing for our youth and for Baltimore. Best wishes for continued success!

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.)
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.

Magazines can help spread the word

I am longtime registered Scouter, and I have received Boy's Life or Scouting magazine for years. After reading them, I couldn't bring myself to just throw them away, so I ended up with closets and desk drawers full of magazines.

Finally, an idea struck. I now take the magazines, both newer and less-recent issues, cut off the address labels, and leave them where people are likely to find and read them. Or I give them to co-workers.

I can't think of a better way, at no additional cost, to spread the good word about Scouting.

Don Goard
Foresthill, Calif.

Remembering a special Scout

I served as a pallbearer for Mark today. Just a dozen years ago, Mark shuffled into Troop 149 with a significant physical handicap. Like most boys, he brought a multitude of blessings to us. The interaction between Mark and the other boys was wonderful. He freely gave of his substance and of his efforts. Other Scouts helped and encouraged him to advance.

The Tenderfoot 30-day fitness requirement provides a positive example. As each boy completed his 500-yard run/walk, he would catch up with Mark and encourage him on. Sometime during the last week of the requirement, Mark actually got both feet off the ground at one time and sailed in the standing long jump for over 16 inches, to the cheers of all present.

The Boy Scouts of America instructs children to accept, encourage, and support their peers, even though they might be different.

Mark may have shuffled as he walked, but he soared in the Scouting movement.

H. L. (Hal) Bartke
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 149
Bridgton, Me.

'The highest values'

During my son's senior year in high school, counselors asked parents to complete a "brag" sheet for college recommendation information. It addressed questions like: What do you consider your child's outstanding accomplishments and personality traits? What sets your child apart from other students? What can your child contribute in college? What five adjectives would you use to describe your child?

Thinking of adjectives and attributes for our Eagle Scout son, Mike, was easy. He was obviously trustworthy and obedient. He was brave through a family move and loyal to newfound friends. He is helpful with his younger sister and kind to other Scouts. He is courteous to customers where he works and thrifty with his earnings. He is known for his cheerful humor on the trail and is friendly to all. He is clean in every way and reverent in his beliefs.

I did not purposely set out to use the Scout Law as a point of reference in completing the "brag" sheet. However, being active in Scouting for more than 22 years, I believe the Law represents the highest values anyone can have... [And] as I completed the form, I realized that I naturally referred to the 12 points to describe Mike [because] I believe in my heart that he is living the Scout Law.

Bill G. Stewart
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 999
The Woodlands, Tex.

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