Slow & Steady
By: Mike Walton (blackeagle)
Posted On: 2019-04-02
BSA graphic used under Fair Usage policies
February 8 - is the birthday of the incorporation of the Boy Scouts of America. The organization was founded before 1910, but on the morning of 8 February, the organization was incorporated in New York City.
With many questioning our reason for being -- and for being as open and inclusive as we have become in the last six years -- I thought it was good to give you a small example of how Scouting's values have become America's values. There used to be a bumper sticker stating that -- I think that the BSA should bring it back, update and use it again.
The story of the race between the turtle and the rabbit comes to my mind first. Of course, the slow turtle could not possibly beat the quick rabbit in a race. But really?
"Slow and steady, keeping to task" is what we all remembered from this story...
The same goes for Scouting. There has been a lot of complaints about the pace of bringing girls in our Cub Scouting program (last summer) and the Scouts BSA program (which started a week ago or so). "Too slow," said many. "Didn't have a lot of time to figure this all out?" said others. There are still a few folks who are living back in the turtle's grandpappy's day, insisting that "girls need to be in girls stuff...and boys need to be in boys stuff... it's too much "PC" (political correctness) going on today, and the BSA bought into it."
So will girls REALLY get something out of being a part of the Boy Scouts of America, now that they have an equal chance to be a part of it? I think so. It is too early to know figures -- folks at the BSA estimates that they won't have membership figures for another week, which is about right for a "startup program" to get numbers. Girls have not been beating our doors down, just like Gay and bisexual males did not bust the locks at our local offices wanting in. But like the girls, they were given the option, and many did take advantage of the BSA's openness.
"Aw shucks, " the BSA simply said, "It's in our DNA. It's who we are -- or we try our best to be. Those twelve words and the three parts of our "stuff we say to ourselves each week" aren't just for memorization...it's who we ARE -- and now, so will you if you want to take the challenge!"
So now, it's the girls' turn. Some young ladies have been waiting for YEARS for last Friday to come around. Some traveled MILES (or more!) to confidently walk into their Council office previously full of "guy stuff", hand over a signed application and a check or card (or both!), waltz over to a shelf, and picked up a piece of cloth or a wire bound book and held it to their chests in personal pride.
"This is MINE. I'm writing my name in this book NOW so nobody can claim it but me... got a pen?"
There's videos of girls standing together, leaning against each other and talking about all of the great things they will get to do "for real" (as if some of them have not been doing some of Scouting's legendary activities -- shooting archery arrows, hiking in the woods, discovering animal tracks, building fires, other things -- before the Big Day happened. It was just "back then for practice, for fun." It didn't count toward Scout advancement. Starting last Friday, it NOW DOES COUNT.
There are girls this past week, pouring through the pages of their Scout Handbook for Girls. (There's a Scout Handbook for Boys too. There's very little difference between the two books and my personal, along with a lot of girls', opinion is that the BSA could have done without the two separate books and just put more pictures of girls and women in the existing manual.) They are charting out their personal "trail to Eagle," the highest rank in the Scouts BSA program. They have to get to First Class, the fourth stop along that "trail" and for many old-timers like me, as important or more important than to get to Eagle. They have starred or highlighted which of the 117 merit badges they want to work on -- and by now, some have already completed, with their peers and under the supervision of counselors -- a couple of the easier ones to earn to "get started,"
They are on their way. But it started with the vision, the idea, the spark, the encouragement to do things "slow and steady, keeping to the task."
Good luck gals...and Happy Birthday BSA!! Your collective efforts over 109 years made this opportunity occur.