For my last blog relating specifically to this leadership, I want to turn back to my involvement in scouting. This time around I want to look at ethics in scouting. More recently, the Boy Scouts of America had to recently release files regarding child abuse by adult leaders. As an active participant in scouting, one who has been involved as a youth as well, I want to share my opinion on such files. I am one of the youngest leaders in my Philadelphia Area Council (at only age 21), so my take on these files and the morality in Boy Scouts is what I would consider to be unique.
When these files were first released I was stunned by the number of adult leaders who were identified as child abusers. It’s embarrassing to know that over a long period of time National Scout officials actively hid these files from law enforcement. I feel for all those effected, but my position is now to defend the goal of the scouting today. The majority of those cases were filed prior to the consistent enforcement of a program the Boy Scouts call Youth Protection Training. Before I continue, though, I want to reiterate that I am angered by the past actions of National Scout officials, but I am in favor of the programs put in place by the organization today. Youth Protection Training is required every two years by all adults involved in scouting. They must take an online course and show that they actually paid attention by taking a quiz at the end of the course. If they do not pass the course, they cannot be registered as a leader, and therefore, cannot be allowed to come in contact with any youth through the scouting program. In addition to that, they have recently (just this past year) revised their application for adult leaders and it now requires multiple background checks to ensure that convicted child abusers are not allowed into the program. I have never even heard of any abuse occurring in my area, so I do not have any personal knowledge of it going on. However, when you have a program involving both young males (and females) and tens of thousands adult volunteers, it’s sad to say it, but there is almost always going to be one that slips through the system. The difference between the time most these instances occurred and now, is that there are now people in place and policies in place to prevent such cases.
Like I said before, it’s a shame, but there is only so much screening that this organization can put in place to look at prospective volunteers. The other addition to Youth Protection involves adults
already involved. I have undergone extensive training to become the rank of Assistant Scoutmaster and in every one of those training programs the safety of the youth involved is the top priority. After having a lesson on ethics, I couldn’t help but relate Aristotle’s view on the virtue theories (PSU, 2012). Aristotle (shown to the right) says that a moral person demonstrates the following virtues (PSU, 2012):
In scouting today, I honestly can say that I believe all of these values are an embedded in the program. Both youth and adult scouters have to be courageous in some way shape or form. Whether it be hiking in the woods with all sorts of animals around, or presenting your case to be voted into a senior leadership position, such as Senior Patrol Leader. Temperance and self-control are also crucial components. Leaders have to make sure that they are showing a good example in front of youth, and likewise for older youth in front of younger youth. It teaches the participants to be respectful and use restraint in situations that may aggravate them. Scouting is all about generosity, whether it be raising money for a local charity or giving back through Scouting for Food, where they collect canned goods for the less fortunate. Honesty is a major part that is reflected through everything that we do. Being social is a critical component because we are always doing something in the community, and with that comes being modest. We know who we are and society knows who we are, and we need to reflect our values through everything we do. Lastly, I want to examine fairness and justice, since they fit into what this blog started out as. Scouting is more open now than ever before with not allowing those into the program that can be danger to the other participants (youth and/or adults). However, we are also unbiased towards race, gender, etc. Both men and women are allowed in scouting and programs have been established even more female youth. In an ever changing world, where equality and high morals are more important now than ever before, Boy Scouts of America is an excellent example of honestly and opening serving society.
Penn State World Campus. (2012). Lesson 14 : Ethics and Leadership. Retrieved from:https://courses.worldcampus.psu.edu/fa12/psych485/001/content/14_lesson/04_page.html