What’s left of the Boy Scouts of America (now operating as Scouts BSA) is on the brink of declaring bankruptcy, according to recent news reports. With estimated assets of more than $1 billion, Scouting’s problems go beyond the financial, deep into the problems with America’s civil culture today.
The U.S. Boy Scout movement reached its numerical height in 1969 with 6 million members, in a year with President Richard M. Nixon as honorary head of the Scouts and Eagle Scout astronaut Neil Armstrong stepping out on the moon.
Fast-forward ahead nearly 50 years: Scout membership has dropped toward 2 million. The impending departure of the Latter Day Saints troops this year will drop that total by one-fifth. Our local school district in conservative central Pennsylvania won’t allow promoting Scouting at school. In our college town, many in the woke local elite now despise Scouting as neo-Nazi and white nationalist, despite efforts to change the national movement to please progressives. My son’s local troop closed recently for lack of members, and so did others in the area.
The national organization faces large lawsuits due to alleged cases of sexual abuse as state legislatures change the statute of limitations on such cases. It also faces a lawsuit from the Girl Scouts for poaching on their membership by changing its name recently to Scouts BSA and recruiting girls.