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Scouts instill traditional values

Boy Scouts from around the nation gathered at Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline County through Wednesday for a Jamboree to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Scouting in America. It was 10 days or so of fun and adventure for the boys, who spent their time learning new skills, making new friends and celebrating the positive values represented in the Scout’s 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.

A group of boys and their leaders from Western Tidewater, including several from Suffolk troops, made the trip to the Jamboree, and readers of the Suffolk News-Herald have had a chance to see some of the things they did while they were gone through photos and stories sent by Scout Cole Barclay and others. Clearly, the time that they spent playing games, examining military hardware and listening to uplifting music and speeches will be among their treasured childhood memories as they mature into adults.

At a deeper level, however, the experience will serve to solidify the promises they make when they recite the Scout oath and learn the 12 points of the Scout Law. Scouting is about answering the call of duty — first to God and country, then to family and neighbors and finally to self. Boy Scouts are taught to do their best to improve the world around them and to have the highest personal standards.

Such lessons have a special significance in a world where God is often ignored, where the meaning of patriotism is often skewed to the benefit of a particular political objective, where getting ahead at the cost of others is considered business as usual and where drugs and crime destroy the lives of teens and young adults in staggering numbers.

The values taught through Scouting are those that made this nation great. Pushing those values aside has led to the deterioration of American society. Suffolk citizens should be proud and hopeful in the knowledge that at least some of the youth of their city are still learning how to be true American patriots.