I read "At age 100, Boy Scouts must make changes" (Opinion, Charles Fleming, Jan. 3). The answer is "No."
As a former Boy Scouts of America scoutmaster, Troop 1605, Lajes Field, Azores, I can tell you, Fleming is mistaken. Here’s a note on a plaque presented to me: "Thanks Dad, I really did have a great time in the troop while you were Scoutmaster. You’re a great encourager! — Nathan Harrold."
Reading Fleming’s column, I can see that the BSA program got him from childhood to adulthood, even though our country and his own family experienced tumult.
The Boy Scouts of America was designed for boys, to bring them to the brink of manhood, under the guidance of men who could serve as role models. Fleming, it would seem, is a product of Mike Lanning’s Troop 223. Fleming made it to Eagle Scout — not an easy trek. My own boys both made it to Eagle; not at my own prompting — it was in them to do so.
As for me, I made it to second class — not so bad for a lad in Miami in the 1960s. My own dad made it to first class, I think. He was born in 1905 and told me his scoutmaster was behind a trip from Ohio to Miami in the late ’20s. My dad determined he would later live in Miami, from whence he became my foster father in 1953.
So don’t tell me about the BSA. They are what they are; they need not apologize for it, or change. The world is embracing degradation. The BSA is a beacon to those who will be kind, do a good turn and be prepared. Generations have depended upon this. God willing, they will, still.
Nelson HarroldGarmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany