Over the break, I enjoyed a beer with an old friend. I often like to see people from high school, catch up, trade sentiments of existential dread, but I have a special connection with this particular friend. From age 11, Waring and I were boy scouts together.
For several years of my incredibly awkward adolescence, I shared the bench seat of Waring’s Dad’s Ford 150. Being the smallest of the three, I usual took the middle, making sure to move my knee whenever Mr. Hills needs to move the stick shift that sprung up from the vinyl floor. In that position I travelled to various pockets of woods all over the Carolinas and in the process learned how to be a good boy scout, a true outdoorsman, and a thoughtful citizen.
Waring and I both achieved Eagle scout and in reflection I cannot be more thankful of all the lessons I learned in boy scouts both hands-on and ethereal. I learned useful outdoor tasks such as how to build fires, orient myself in the wilderness, apply first aid,
and map the stars. At picnic tables on the front porch of my church we learned how to manage our finances, write our representatives, and the value of protecting our wilderness.
You may have heard, but the BSA decided 2 weeks ago to begin allowing girls into the Boy Scouts. At first hearing the news, I was ambivalent. My bend towards social justice became immediately proud of an organization that sometimes feels backwards. In fact, just last week a young cub scout was kicked out of his pack for criticizing his state rep on her gun control record. My blood boils.
However, a second emotion also filled me. As an incredibly insecure 12-year-old, I relished in the opportunity to once a month spend my weekend not worrying about girls or my non-existent personality and instead riding in Mr. Hills’ F-150, off to my next adventure.
BSA made the right call. To be an Eagle Scout is to enter adult society with an automatic gold star on the resume. The privileges and respect afforded to me should not be shunned to the many great woman of this country. To the young boys terrified of girls his age, welcome them; they’re as hungry for the outdoors as you are.