Conservative Column: Boys need the BSA more than girls do

ELISHA VALLADARES-CORMIER
CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST

The Boy Scouts of America caved to societal demands once more on Oct. 11, 2017, announcing that girls will be allowed into the 107-year-old organization and are even able to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

Proponents of this change say that having girls in the Boy Scouts is good for all parties and does not compromise the integrity of the program, but the opposite is actually true.

Despite what the biologically-disinclined Left might say, men and women are fundamentally different and therefore learn and mature differently. Boys must be given a place where they can learn along with other boys how to be a man, which is especially needed in today’s society that consistently seeks to emasculate men.

This is why boys need the Boy Scouts of America more than girls do.

For the past 13 years of my life, the Boy Scouts of America has been my home, my outlet. It has allowed me to further my leadership skills and instilled a great sense of honor and purpose with the recitation of the Scout Oath and Law, which has formed me not just as a leader, but as a man. To this day, I take a great sense of healthy pride when I button up my Class A uniform for any Scouting event because it reminds me of what I and the organization stand for.

Mine is not a unique experience. Many others, dare I say that most of my Boy Scout peers will concur on the great and unique formation that this wonderful organization has given to them. That is why, at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor, the newly vested Eagle Scout promises to “give more back to Scouting that it has given to me.”

When I reflect on my time in Scouting, I realize that it wasn’t the merit badges or the leadership development conferences themselves that transformed me in my 13 years. Rather, there was a greater, more unique force at work: fraternity, or more specifically, brotherhood.

The fraternal aspects of the Boy Scouts of America, as well as the BSA’s national honor society, the Order of the Arrow, are what draw me and many others to its programs. We can learn skills like first aid and swimming in other places, but no one can replicate the enhancing role that brotherhood plays in the development of these skills for Boy Scouts.

In Scouting, the boys in your troop are your brothers. You bond over the common experiences of early morning hikes, rainy backpacking trips and unidentifiable blobs of food that are served at summer camps. You can let down your guard around them and bond with them in a way you will never be able to do with anyone else.

Trying to explain the dynamic with mere words does not do it justice, but it should be clear that the brotherhood shared between these boys is one of the things that makes the Boy Scouts of America and its program truly special.

But under this new and unexpected development, that brotherhood will be lost.

While it is true that the specific setup of the program has yet to be unveiled, it would appear that both boys and girls will be a part of the same troop but in different patrols separated by gender. This stops short of putting boy and girls directly together, but it nevertheless takes away one of the most important aspects of the Boy Scouts.

Boys are losing the independence that the Boy Scouts has offered them for the past 107 years. While they may not be directly together, the mere notion – girls in the Boy Scouts of America – is enough to cause a loss in identity.

Brotherhood fosters growth. This level of comfort and trust in one another is what breeds the development of leadership skills, in addition to many others. For a good number of Scouts over the years, being in a troop was a refuge from their outside life. They didn’t have to worry about fitting in at school or their latest girl crisis. A single-sex, virtue driven organization like the Boy Scouts is void of all those distractions and allows for a constructive environment that grows boys into men.

This move has been framed as a gained opportunity for girls, but it’s really a lost opportunity for boys to grow as they have for more than a century. Girls should have opportunities similar to what the Boy Scouts offer, but this decision will bring more harm than good.

I wish the Boy Scouts the best of luck moving forward, but I hope that one day the organization will return to its roots and provide my future sons with the same opportunities and learning environment that it has given me.

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