Scout chief: Group more relevant than ever

TUPELO – In an age when the ground feels just a little less solid at times, Scouting is still based on bedrock values, says the movement’s lead spokesman in the United States.
“One of the reasons we’re as strong and viable as we are 100 years after our beginnings is that we have never strayed off the bedrock premises upon which we were formed,” said Bob Mazzuca, chief Scout executive. “The Scout Oath and Law are fundamental precepts in terms of how to live a decent life, how to be a decent human being.”
Mazzuca was in Tupelo this week to honor banker and longtime Scout volunteer Aubrey Patterson, a national board member of the Boy Scouts.
While Scouting’s focus on developing good character and leadership skills will never change, Mazzuca said, the way it presents those values must change.
Mazzuca is pushing both nationally and locally for use of technology and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.
“Once we get kids and families engaged in Scouting, they discover, ‘Wow – this is pretty cool,’ but it’s getting that first joining opportunity. We’ve got to do things a little bit differently,” he said.
The new Boy Scout uniform shirt includes an iPod pocket on the sleeve, with plans to make the Boy Scout Handbook a downloadable iPod application.
“There’s no consideration to taking ‘trustworthy’ or ‘reverent’ out of the Scout Law, but if we’re going to get people side by side with those words, we’ve got to put them in front of them in ways they will access them,” Mazzuca said.
Scouting, he said, still offers character education that schools used to provide, and in tough economic times its proponents can lead by example of serving those in need of a hand – or just a sympathetic ear. It also provides physical activity that’s becoming less available to many youths.
Even the tragic tornado that killed four Boy Scouts and injured dozens more at a camp in Iowa last summer bore out the success of Scouting.
“The lead paramedic told me, ‘Mr. Mazzuca, this place was perfectly calm and triaged, and appropriate actions were being taken for the appropriate people,'” the Scout executive said. “‘All we had to do was to continue the good work that was already being done.’
“The biggest thing that told me,” Mazzuca said, “is that Scouting works.”
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

 

Errol Castens/Daily Journal