The Boy Scouts of America program is so much more valuable than camping, fishing and general shenanigans.

It’s nice to know how to tie a knot.

It may come in handy to know how to catch a fish.

Understanding the Heimlich Manuever may have its uses.

But the Boy Scouts of America program is so much more valuable than camping, fishing and general shenanigans.

It provides a moral framework to help boys navigate the tough transition into manhood. The organization strives to instill a knowledge of not just what to do, but how to live.

With integrity.

With honesty.

With courtesy towards others, no matter the personal differences.

In a story published earlier this week, we lamented to see the number of Cub Scout Packs — a precursor to Boy Scout troops — in Hannibal had dwindled to one.

Pack 101 will continue with its mission to teach younger boys the basics of scouting, but the decline in local participation over the years is startling.

Pack 101 meets at the old Salt River Shooting Range, but other former troops met at places like Holy Family Catholic Church.

Whether its due to declining participation rates, or economic reasons, scouting still remains a valuable experience for all boys.

Think about the adventure. Standing atop mountains in New Mexico, paddling the great wilderness of the north or scuba diving in crystal clear water — all examples of Boy Scout camps in the United States.

Think about the life preparation. Badges — or pins in Cub Scouts — for everything from Family Life to Nuclear Science, Indian Lore to Art, and Personal Finance to Personal Fitness.

But, most of all, think about the life lessons.

They very values sometimes lacking in modern American society — trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, courtesy, kindess, obedience, cheerfulness....

They’re all enshrined in the Scout Law.

Take these words from former President George W. Bush:

“The goodness of a person and of the society he or she lives in often comes down to very simple things and words found in the Scout Law. Every society depends on trust and loyalty, on courtesy and kindness, on bravery and reverence. These are the values of Scouting, and these are the values of Americans.”

Parents — most, anyway — hope their sons will grow up to exemplify these traits and others.

Scouting teaches boys to put others before themselves, requiring volunteer hours to reach the pinnacle of scouting — the Eagle Scout.

We would argue if more boys spent time camping in a tent instead of time with a video game controller in hand, there would be a greater sense of community and camaraderie.

Fewer men would end up in the prison system and fewer would head down the wrong path into adulthood if an organzation like scouting was more prevalent.

It doesn’t take a ton of dedication from a parent, just a willingness to invest in their son’s future.

Children are accepted into Cub Scouts at any time. We hope the community recognizes a need to form upstanding young men and the ways scouting can aid in that formation.

For more information on joining Pack 101 in Hannibal, please call Cubmaster Matt Lawson at (573)406-3315.


The views expressed in this opinion represent the majority of the Courier-Post editorial staff.