With both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts trending toward allowing girls to join, an alternative Christian organization that limits membership just to boys is clearly the beneficiary.
Trail Life USA is a Christ-centered, boy-focused character leadership and adventure organization for young men. What began in 2013 now boasts upwards of 27,000 members spread across 49 states.
“About half of our troops were formerly Boy Scout troops,” says Mark Hancock, CEO of Trail Life USA. “The awards that the boys earned in Boy Scouts are transferable over to Trail Life USA because a lot of them are the same skills such as camping, hiking, and outdoor skills.”
Be Prepared is the motto that millions of young men, including myself (proud Boy and Sea Scout), around the country learn and live by every year. For 107 years, the Boy Scouts of America have molded young men into leaders who have been at the forefront of business, medicine, politics, religion and a variety of other aspects of our society. When Boy Scouts was first created, it and its sister organizations were the premier youth organizations of the day and for the most part have remained so. As time has progressed, the BSA has had to deal with the challenge of competing for the attention of young men with inventions such as the T.V., the internet, computers, video games and a variety of other items and groups. This has resulted in the BSA struggling with membership for quite a while now.
Over the past 40 years, the BSA’s membership has been in a steady decline, with no sign of an end soon. In 2000, the BSA had 3.35 million total youth enrolled in all of its programs. As of 2013 that had fallen to 2.5 million youth and has continued to fall since then. Now, many organizations have had to deal with falling membership in the past but few as prominent as the BSA. The BSA has a program that is absolutely premier and has created some of the finest leaders the nation and the world have ever seen. Some famous former scouts include Neil Armstrong, Michael Bloomberg, President Gerald Ford, Robert Gates, Ross Perot, Donald Rumsfeld, Rex Tillerson, Mike Zinke, Rick Perry and many more.
Do the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America understand the first word of their organization’s name?
With its recent announcement that it will admit girls, the Boy Scouts organization has not simply shown a profound disregard for its admirable roots. It has further abandoned boys to a culture that values them less and less.
Dressed in the language of equality and fairness, the move by the Boy Scouts may seem harmless enough. But I believe it’s unhelpful at best and damaging at worst – to both boys and girls.
However much some may wish it were otherwise, the reality is that males and females are fundamentally different in many ways – physically, emotionally and in their relationships. Pretending otherwise in the name of progress or permissiveness might be culturally acceptable, but it does both sexes a disservice.
February 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Boy Scouts of America continues its “progressive,” pro-LGBT, secular transformation, announcing January 30 that it will now admit “transgender” members – i.e., girls who adopt a “gender identity” as males.
This latest pro-LGBT shift in the nation’s oldest boys organization comes after the BSA first allowed openly homosexual boys to become Scouts, in 2013, and then allowed adult homosexual men to become Scoutmasters, in 2015.
The Scouts’ descent into sex-and-gender political correctness is driving up interest in Trail Life USA, the leading Christian alternative to the BSA. The group’s CEO told LifeSiteNews that unlike the Scouts, Trail Life USA’s “timeless,” “Christ-centered” core values do not bend to liberal shifts in culture.
In a statement, the Boy Scouts said, “Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application. Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.”
I stumbled on this today looking for material to train our Webelos scouts for their Arrow of Light award. The present handbooks are simply awful — the Soviets wrote more inspiring manufacturing reports, translated into English than the soul-killing, mind-numbing awful that is the Boy Scout Handbook series today.
The Art of Manliness blog — one of our favorites! — took a close look at the Centennial edition of the BSA Handbook and compared it to the classic original. This portion was largely inspired by a 2013 Clairmont Institute essay by Kathleen Arnn.
What has been dropped or reduced in the modern handbook is telling. Gone is the section on chivalry, which traced the Boy Scouts’ heritage back through the pioneers and Pilgrims, and to the knights of the Middle Ages. While the 1911 handbook has a lengthy chapter on Patriotism and Citizenship (including a letter from Theodore Roosevelt on “Practical Citizenship”), which outlines the history of the United States, the meaning of the flag, and the purpose of various governmental bodies, the modern handbook has greatly shrunk the discussion of such things in both length and detail. The original is also generously peppered with references to great men in history for young boys to emulate, while the mention of such “heroes” is almost entirely absent from the one published in 2009 (being inspired by history isn’t much in fashion these days).
Perhaps most striking is the different way in which the two guides address the idea of good character. The original didn’t shy away from strong admonitions like, “It is horrible to be a coward. It is weak to yield to fear and heroic to face danger without flinching,” and “The honor of a scout will not permit of anything but the highest and the best and the manliest. The honor of a scout is a sacred thing, and cannot be lightly set aside or trampled on.”
In contrast, the modern version frames its discussion of character in terms of its inoffensive modern equivalent: leadership and personal development. Instead of being couched in the absolute language of moral virtue, doing the right thing becomes a matter or “making the most of yourself” and “getting along with others.”
AOM’s contribution was to compare merit badges from 1910 to merit badges of 2010. As there are a number of badges that survived the century, this was a straight forward task. The results are a side by side set of graphics with the requirements of each.
what stands out for all the modern badges is how much longer and more involved the guidelines are today than they used to be. In the 1911 handbook, earning each badge involved the completion of a short list of one-sentence requirements. Modern badge requirements, on the other hand, run to as many as ten paragraph-long sections, the first of which is always a discussion of the need to discuss safety considerations with one’s leader. The gardening badge for example, requires the Scout to discuss with his counselor what hazards he might encounter if he happened to unfortunately plant his tomatoes near a beehive.
All old time Scouts see this. The result is that Scouting is perhaps more boring even than school, so the handbooks become expensive bricks, heeded mainly in the breech.
Camping is the activity for which the Boy Scouts are best known. In comparing the original camping merit badge to today’s, one can see how the hands-on requirements have been loosened; for example, Scouts formerly had to sleep out for 50 nights, know how to build a fire without matches, and construct a raft. On the flip side, the modern badge has decreased that requirement to 20 nights, and has greatly expanded the more mental requirements — making checklists, creating plans, and describing different camping guidelines and pieces of equipment.
Perhaps the most compelling contrast is found in the Inventions merit badge:
Yes, you read that correctly. Our boys were expected to invent something and patent it.
Arnn captured the cucking self-abnegation of BSA honchos since the Improved Scouting Program nearly destroyed it in the 1970s. Here is an extended quote:
Today, there is a different approach to leadership: “success begins with a vision—picturing yourself where you want to be.” And because anyone can have a vision, anyone can be a leader. “You are a collection of wonderful talents, ideas, and experiences,” the new handbook’s Leadership chapter begins. “What do you want your future to look like tomorrow?”
The old handbook spoke proudly of the chivalric tradition; the new apologizes for the antiquated example of the knights. It sandwiches a few cursory paragraphs on moral virtue between a lengthy discussion of drugs and alcohol and a section on sexual responsibility. Moral choices are reduced to healthy choices. Doing the courageous thing becomes equivalent to refusing a cigarette at a party.
Instead of an exciting chapter on Patriotism and Citizenship, the handbook now offers a perfunctory discussion, re-titled just “Citizenship.” In the new handbook Scouts are citizens of their country, but also of the world. There are the same detailed instructions for folding and flying the flag, but the accompanying history lesson has been shortened and stripped of its vividness. There are, by my count, four heroes in the book. They are the founders of Scouting: British founder Robert Baden Powell, the naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton, outdoorsman Daniel Carter Beard, and James E. West, who led the BSA through its first 30 years. Each gets a sentence and a picture. American heroes, so numerous and colorful in the original handbook, are almost absent. Washington and Lincoln are each mentioned one time. Here is their sentence: “We remember the sacrifices and achievements of Americans with federal holidays, including observances of the birthdays of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
BSA was and remains a hollow shell of its formerly unquestioned status as the premiere training ground for our sons. Pandering to POCs became its own priority, even to the neglect and insult their core audience. Membership is in free fall because BSA doesn’t want white boys. They don’t want patriots or Christian believers. They want your money and are willing to extract it from you by the extortion of your sons.
Enoch Heise’s post “How to Spot a Broken Chain of Command” should be required reading by all Scouters and fathers that give a damn about their sons’ upbringing. More than that, it shouild be required reading for all BSA employees and “leaders” — starting with district and council executives.
There are two ways that this chain can be broken. The first is by an absence of clearly defined leadership. Scouts become confused. They will get frustrated because they don’t know who is supposed to be calling the shots.
Do you know who runs Scouting in your area?
You should. Find out and retake command of your son’s scouting experience.