“A Scout is…”
Those three words of the Scout Law are just as important as the 12 points that follow. They mean that all Scouts and Scouters strive to exemplify those 12 traits at all times —both tranquil and turbulent.
The Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Committee released this statement last week on the BSA’s plans to put the Scout Law into action to help combat racial injustice as an organization. These actions include introducing a new Eagle Scout-required diversity and inclusion merit badge, requiring diversity and inclusion training for all BSA employees and volunteers, and reviewing all programs, properties, events and insignia to ensure that symbols of oppression are not in use today or in the future.
The National Service Center has fielded many questions about the statement. Here are answers to a few of the most common:
Q: When will the diversity and inclusion merit badge be introduced?
A: Although an exact date has not been set, an implementation team is now guiding the development of the merit badge.
Q: How does the introduction of the new diversity and inclusion merit badge impact Scouts currently working on Eagle Scout rank requirements?
A: Since the development of the merit badge is still in its early stages, it will not be an immediate requirement. Scouts currently working to earn the Eagle Scout rank should continue to work with the existing requirements.
Q: The BSA said “Black Lives Matter” with capital letters in its statement. What does that mean?
A: The BSA believes that Black Lives Matter is an overarching statement that stands for equality and justice. We wholeheartedly mean exactly what we said – that we support Black families and Black communities and that Black Lives Matter. This is not a political issue or an endorsement of an organization; it is a human rights issue and one we all have a duty to address. We stand with efforts to address racism and injustice and to promote equality and inclusion.
Q: Does the BSA support the law enforcement community?
A: Yes, the BSA supports the law enforcement community and is grateful for the men and women who faithfully and selflessly uphold their duty to serve and protect everyone in their communities. Law enforcement Exploring posts throughout the country introduce young people ages 14-20 to law enforcement careers, including those of local police officers. In addition to creating opportunities for young people and enabling law enforcement agencies to develop the next generation of diverse professionals, these programs foster positive understanding and engagement between police and the communities they serve.
Q: What can Scouts do now to address diversity and inclusion?
A: First, start a conversation. Talk about the Scout Oath and Law, what each point means and how those words guide us on how to live and treat everyone. Discuss how the tenets of the Scout Oath and Law have been at the core of who Scouts are since the BSA’s inception.
Review merit badge pamphlets like American Cultures and Citizenship in the Community, or Scouting Magazine’s archive articles on ethics such as this one that addresses ethnic slurs or this one on offensive names to get ideas on conversation starters. Talk with your Cub Scouts by pulling information from the Build My Own Hero Webelos adventure, or take part in this Boys’ Life #TrekAt2 challenge. These conversations can spark ideas of how Scouts can make a difference.
Q: Is the mandatory diversity and inclusion training available for volunteers?
A: Not yet. The diversity and inclusion training will be available to BSA employees starting July 1, and our teams will be working on a version for volunteers that we expect to be able to introduce in the coming months.