A bankruptcy judge earlier this month approved a $ 2.5 billion recovery plan to compensate 80,000 men who say they have been s*xually abused by scout leaders – another day of bad scout headlines, in addition to many previous abuse stories s*xual activity committed by scouting. scout leaders, policy controversy over the role of gay leaders and scouts in the organization, various issues surrounding the addition of girls to their ranks, and the outspoken withdrawal of Mormons among others. To the casual observer, Scouting appears to be on the d*athbed with a lethal prognosis.

Don’t count on scouting. Even with all the bad news about Scouting, a closer look at Scouting suggests that Scouting may in fact be one of the most important activities for young people in these extremely difficult times.

An annual study by the American Psychological Association on stress in America, along with other qualitative studies, found that there is currently a tsunami of mental and physical health among adolescents. The Chief Surgeon issued an unprecedented recommendation last December in which he highlighted the erupting mental health problems plaguing the nation. Anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, lack of immunity, self-centeredness, too long on-screen time, chronic frustration with stress leading to aggression such as gun violence and much more are increasing among adolescents. The negative impact of social media, and more recently COVID-19, is making matters worse.

Scouting helps alleviate these challenges by providing safe, non-competitive, inclusive, accepting and affordable extracurricular activities that teach outdoor leadership and skills, ethics, resilience, and many important life skills. It accepts young people of all ages. The highest rank in Scouting, Eagle Scout, is something that is on the resume of almost every astronaut and military general. Most people are honored by this achievement throughout their lives.

Honestly, I was skeptical about scouting when my son expressed interest 20 years ago. Several of his friends were involved and interested in the camping and outdoor activities offered. My wife and I had no experience with Scouting and believed in many stereotypes that it is a right-wing paramilitary organization, it is homophobic and retro. My son joined us and started scouting like a fish in the water.

Now, at 26, he has just completed his Masters in Geology from UCLA after completing his BA in Geosciences at Dartmouth. Scouting was a turning point for him. Life and leadership skills, a passion for nature conservation and outdoor activities, an ethics and spirit “can do” to whom he enjoys, all originating from scouting. Scouting directly influenced his willingness to pursue higher studies in earth sciences. Whenever I write to him, I include an eagle emoji to remind him that he is and will always be an Eagle Scout and that he should act like that. His answer? “Always!”

Like all large organizations, Scouting is not perfect. She has had her share of challenges and even scandals. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Scouting offers young people a rare opportunity elsewhere to engage in healthy, productive, life-affirming and non-competitive activities that teach life skills with an emphasis on ethics and the common good. Certainly, evidence-based best practice child protection policies and procedures are readily available and are now used to ensure the safety of young people in Scouting and other youth organizations. Perhaps more than ever, we need Scouting in our increasingly challenging world, especially for today’s stressed youth and families.

Thomas G. Plante is Augustin Cardinal Bea, professor at SJ University, professor of psychology, and courtesy of religious studies at Santa Clara University and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine. He runs a private clinical practice in Menlo Park.

#Scouting #trouble #needed

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