Today is Boy Scout Anniversary Day, a time to commemorate and honor the contribution of Scouting to helping form the character of youth throughout not just the U.S. but the world.
Ever since its founding by Robert Baden Powell, Scouting has been a tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation. Scouting takes youth into the outdoors where they learn such things as survival skills and an appreciation of nature, things they carry with them through the rest of their lives.
Girl Scouting, too, has helped young women develop the self-confidence it takes to succeed in life.
If you've ever been to a Scouting ceremony such as the Arrow of Light, you've heard of what percentage of U.S. representatives, generals and astronauts previously served as Eagle Scouts - the highest level of Scouting. There's a reason for that, too. After completing their Eagle Scout requirements, Scouts are well equipped to deal with just about any challenge the outdoors may present to them.
Hopefully, the current controversy over whether Scouting should allow gay Scouts or Scout leaders into their ranks should not detract from the storied history of Scouting. That is but one issue, and not one that should detract from the benefits Scouting can give to a youth - or the rewards that leaders may receive.
Scouting has weathered storms before, and it can weather this one too. Whatever the decision is of national leaders, let's hope that parents and Scouting sponsors ask themselves why they have supported Scouting in the past - it's to instill principles of dedication, commitment and hard work into youth.
Let's hope that continues to be the focus on Scouting in the months and years ahead.
The benefits to our youth are far too great to see it any differently.