By Jim Gilbert
You may have heard or read recently that a certain three-letter youth organization has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Their claim is this was done to “equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in” the organization and to continue to carry out the organization’s mission for years to come. A noble reason for sure.
My question is, “Why bother?” At the top, this organization is already morally bankrupt and might as well be financially bankrupt. On October 11, 2017, this organization acquiesced to the radical left and fundamentally changed its organization by opening-up their ranks to co-ed membership. Before that, on July 27, 2015, the Executive Committee resolved to allow adults who practice certain lifestyle choices to also become members, in direct contradiction to the ethics and morals they had professed and practiced in the past.
In my opinion, it’s time for this organization to end. By their own admission, the only areas of their program that are experiencing growth in membership are the pockets where membership is up due to enrollment of young girls. The enrollment of boys has been on a steady decline for decades. As someone who earned this organization’s highest rank in the mid-1980s at the age of 17, I have seen firsthand how they have steadily watered down their program, making it not only possible but commonplace for 14-year-olds to achieve the same rank. The program is not the quality that it once was. They have abandoned the morals and ethics that made them a once-great organization. If you need further evidence, you need not look any further than right here in our own back yard. Where instead of protecting a very unique ecosystem bordering the Black River watershed, they have decided to sell this precious resource to a company that intends to strip the property and mine the gravel. They did this as quietly as possible so that locals who were ready, willing, and able to preserve this beloved property were effectively shut out of the process. At this point, I am ashamed to admit that I was ever part of this organization.
Advertisements - Click the Speaker Icon for Audio
My recommendation, if you have children that would benefit from an outdoor youth program, I would suggest you consider one of the many alternatives. This totally non-inclusive list includes:
The Girl Scouts have a good program for girls and young women.
AWANA is an all-inclusive program for boys and girls and has been in many churches for over 60 years.
Contenders of the Faith is another group for boys and girls ages 7 to 14
Pathfinders is a co-ed program run by the Seventh Day Adventists
Pioneer Club is a Christ-centered program for boys and girls ages 2 to 14
Trail Life USA is a Christian program for boys, while American Heritage Girls is their partner program for girls.
The Royal Ambassadors are a Southern Baptist group for boys in first grade through sixth grade and Girls in Action is the complementary program for Baptist girls.
The Royal Rangers is the program of the Assemblies of God churches for boys and the National Girls Ministries is the program for girls.
The Knights of Columbus Squires is a male Catholic program for boys ages 10 to 18
Faith-Based Boys is another program for boys ages 5 to 18
I do not have personal experience with these other groups, and I am not endorsing any of them, I am merely trying to raise awareness to some alternatives. It is up to you as the adult to properly vet anyone you entrust the safety of your little ones.
Some may interpret this as a rant against those who remain in this organization. It is not. By and large, my experience with those who are involved with the program locally are stand up, moral and ethical people and I have no intent to disparage any of the local members or volunteers. Paid professionals, especially at the national levels, in my opinion, should not be trusted. Despite their words, they do not have the best interests of our communities at heart. They are only concerned about their personal legacy and their golden parachutes.