Saturday, May 15, 2010

Boy Scouts

Apologies for the long hiatus, but in between a publication, conferences, and finishing my thesis, I was sorely pressed for time. Activity on the blog will not subside over summer (I've got all school year for that), but will consist of my long-anticipated ongoing feature on contemporary music. Before that begins, I'd like to take this opportunity to talk on a more personal subject. As some of you might know, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.

Whatever my personal disagreements with some of their policies, as an Eagle Scout, I was able to participate in numerous activities that I otherwise would not have been able to, and have experiences that have shaped me for the rest of my life. Outside of the character development, which is obviously important, the leadership opportunities were invaluable. Having to take charge, get things done, meet deadlines, and deal with conflict at an early age were all things that I believed helped me, but more than that, I think that the type of organization that can give young people the chance to be in those positions deserves to be around at least another 100 years. Too often, people shy away from giving youth real opportunities to lead, to be out front, and to make mistakes. However, such opportunities are crucial to developing people who can be leaders later in life.

On that note, it takes a certain kind of crazy to trust a 15 year old with anything, and I'd like to thank all of those who took that chance. The best way I know to repay them is to return the favor, which brings me to the point of this post. As part of acknowledging my debt to both my leaders and the organization, I'm filling out an application to be a merit badge counselor. For those unfamiliar with merit badges, the BSA has a great site here that explains the program, what a counselor is, etc. There are a wide variety of merit badges, and although I am only qualified for one (nuclear science music), many of you might be able to help out in additional ways.

If I have boys, I'll certainly encourage them to do scouts. Until then, this is a great way for me to start paying back a group that gave me so much, and a fantastic chance for people who have never been involved in scouting to help an organization that certainly deserves it!