• 32°

A milestone of service

Amidst all of the worries about youth in American society, especially boys, there is one organization that has dedicated itself for 100 years to improving and molding the character of boys and sending them into the world as productive, engaged citizens.

Scouting is widely known for the lessons its participants learn about the outdoors — things like camping, cooking, knots and the like. Those skills teach boys about self-reliance and preparation, about teamwork and self-worth. But Scouting is also about teaching boys the importance of being responsive to the needs of their fellow man.

Last year, according to statistics provided by the Boy Scouts of America, those participating in the program reported participating in 35.2 million hours of service projects.

In their Good Turn for America program, Scouts have collected and distributed food, cleaned and beautified their neighborhoods, served food at shelters and participated in conservation projects.

Locally in the last couple of years, boys working toward their Eagle Scout badges have rebuilt a dock at Lake Drummond in the Dismal Swamp, and they’ve helped paint and renovate facilities for area nonprofit organizations. Even outside of Eagle Scout projects, area Boy Scouts work to help improve their community.

Such projects teach boys about values — the value of community, the value of volunteerism, the intrinsic value of all people.

Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has always been in the business of values. And the decline of values is at the heart of problems with America’s youth.

The Boy Scouts’ organization should be commended for its focus on values. And as they set out on their second century of service, Boy Scouts deserve the support of the community they so unselfishly serve. The boys who go into the program will one day be the men who shape that community.