I agree with Charles Fleming’s initial assessment ("At age 100, Boy Scouts must make changes," Opinion, Jan. 3). The Boy Scouts have a virtuous appeal with Norman Rockwell decency, while "real life" is filled with alluring vices.

This appeal is the core of Scouting. In my youth, I was fortunate enough to thank Scouting, Troop 240 and the Transatlantic Council (TAC) for my adventures. Each Scout wore the TAC patch and multiple rings surrounding it (denoting the different camps) like a strutting peacock, while younger Scouts marveled.

My troop toured places such as Stonehenge in England, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, and the Neuschwanstein castle in Germany.

Our skiing lessons were from an expert Swiss instructor in the Alps. We whitewater-rafted from Switzerland to Germany. Our troop swam in the Mediterranean Sea, while camping in Tuscany.

We attended camps with Scouts from more than 13 countries, and I stood in Berlin at Checkpoint Charlie, witnessing the wall separating freedom from oppression.

Before "real life" drew me away from Scouting, I earned my Order of the Arrow (Black Eagle Lodge), and I made it to the rank of Life.

Each person lucky enough to be called a Scout had similar requirements to accomplish any rank. However, Fleming’s disdain for certain political figures clouds his opinion to incorrectly correlate it with the decline of Scouting.

Unfortunately, Scouting lost Fleming from the moment he felt "real life" proved more relevant than Scouting life. Also, it’s a reprehensible misunderstanding of Scouting for him to forget that the Scout oath places God first and country second.

When the Boy Scouts change the "Scout law" to "Scout guidelines," and put country first before God, I’ll be happy to discuss his premise. Until his future becomes the present, Scouting will remain the most influential part of my youth.

Sgt. Joseph GomezForward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan

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