Scouting's Greatest Gift
BEFORE LONGlong before Santa fills those stockingsthe spirit of the upcoming holiday season will begin to take hold. And nowhere will that be more apparent than in the buying of gifts.
Among the best gifts this holiday season will be the more intangible onesthose that bring families, friends, and communities together ... like enjoying favorite holiday decorations and time-tested recipes at family gatherings ... or carrying out charitable giving and volunteer projects to assist those in need.
Just as holiday traditions bring families together, so, too, Scouting's time-tested program and traditions promote strength and unity in this nation. And it is you, Scouting's volunteer leaders, who bring these traditions to the youth of America. In visiting units across the country, we meet many young people who tell us about how they got involved in Scouting. Invariably, when they attended their first meeting, they were welcomed by an adult who got them involved and activeand that made all the difference in those children's lives.
We think of the countless Scout leaders over the years who have been like fathers to boys whose own fathers were absent or deceased. Or the mentoring adults who so sparked a child's imagination and interest in pursuing a merit badge or other skill that a career path was launched. Or leaders who so inspired confidence and self-esteem in a child through Scout training that, when a life hung in the balance, that Scout was prepared to make a needed rescue or perform a selfless act of heroism.
The Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America makes a difference in the lives of children, every day, everywhere. It instills values like duty, honor ... values found in our Cub Scout Promise, Scout Oath, Scout Law, motto, and slogan that help us to be better people. That is why we are committed to making sure a Scouting program is in every neighborhoodbecause of what Scouting does for children. As Baden-Powell, founder of worldwide Scouting, advised Scouting's "instructors" in his 1908 book Scouting for Boys: "Keep in mind in all your teaching that the whole ... object of this scheme is to form character in the boys ... ."
So, at this time of the year, when it's customary for people to give gifts to friends and loved ones, we can only say, thank you, Scouting volunteers, for giving the youth of America the gift of yourselves. You are Scouting's greatest gift. Since 1910, more than 100 million young people have benefited from your tireless devotion in helping develop character and values in their lives.
We hope your holidays and new year are filled with happiness and health. And in 2002, as we keep in mind what Scouting does for children and families, be assured that your work makes a difference and that there is great hope for the future.
November-December 2001 Table of Contents
Copyright © 2001 by the Boy Scouts of America. All rights thereunder reserved; anything appearing in Scouting magazine or on its Web site may not be reprinted either wholly or in part without written permission. Because of freedom given authors, opinions may not reflect official concurrence.