Sad to see declining interest in Scout groups

This has been a year of change nationwide at both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Both organizations are struggling financially. Efforts to attract new scouts have pitted the two against each other, as the Boy Scouts now are accepting female members.

Interest in scouting has declined precipitously. At its peak a century ago, the Boy Scout movement had about 4 million members. Now, with the nation’s population far greater, it has only about 2.3 million. That is down about 300,000 from just five years ago.

Why is that? A far larger number and variety of activities are available to young people today. That is one reason for scouting’s decline. Scouting may be becoming less relevant to today’s youth.

Another, we fear, is that fewer parents are interested in fostering the ideals of scouting. In essence, these principles amount to “be prepared” and be “morally straight” — even though the definitions of both have changed.

Scouting gives boys and girls experience in learning and achieving goals, in being leaders and in the benefits of community service.

Those are worthwhile desires, even in today’s rapidly changing social and economic cultures. Let us hope both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts recover and expand.

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