One of our nephews is a Boy Scout.My father was for many years a Boy Scout leader, so when I joined the Girl Scouts I was mightily disappointed that we did so little of the camping, hiking, mountain climbing, knot-tying, fire-building, and survival skills work he did with his boys. Thanks to some amazing (and somewhat rebellious) leaders and dedicated parents, we still had a good time, but the national program left me less than impressed.
From what little I know of it, I'm even less impressed with today's program. It's politically correct, oriented towards modern society, relevant to today's girls—and therefore boring as all get out. At least to me. (They still make great cookies, though, and Boy Scout popcorn doesn't even come close.)
For all I know, the Boy Scout program has changed, too. But my heart is encouraged by knowing one troop that is still in the business of helping boys grow into men. And even more so to see the video-game, text-message, iPod, virtual reality generation rising to physical, organizational, and social challenges. I applaud the leaders who provide necessary support and guidance while giving the Scouts much of the responsibility for running the troop.
They leave this week for Philmont, the apex of Boy Scout adventuring. What they are doing "on the way" exhausts me just thinking of it, including hiking up and down the Grand Canyon's Bright Angel Trail. During their two weeks at Philmont the boys themselves chose the most rigorous program available to them, which includes over 80 miles of hiking and lots of camping and other intensive activities.Sounds like the best conditioning short of joining the Marines—and without getting shot at.