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Boy Scout executive to speak at Rotary

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Posted: Wednesday, April 2, 2008 10:00 pm | Updated: 10:26 am, Wed Feb 29, 2012.

Stephen Olson, executive director of the Boy Scouts of America is here to tell us all about the exciting prospects for young gentlemen in the area to learn such things as how to start fires with only one match and how to tie knots in ropes and escort old ladies cross streets whether they want to go or not.

Just kidding, if there is a store on the other side, there is no such thing as an old lady who doesn’t want to cross the street.

Robert Baden-Powell started the Boy Scouts in 1910, in England. The movement came here in the early 1900s and the rest is history, not the least is the fact millions of boys joined. One of the earlier troops, 29, started right here in Lodi. It was an urban troop and the first meeting room was an abandoned pool hall and bowling alley. The first leader was Mr. Swinney, a highly respected CPA here who taught us stuff we would never have gotten in the regular scouts, like how to tie a bowline after only 20 tries, and mental tests such as how to remember all the things in the dime store window (out of a possible 25,000).

Boy Scouting, one of the traditional membership divisions of the BSA, is available to boys who have earned the Arrow of Light Award and are at least 10 years old or have completed the fifth grade and are at least 10, or who are 11, but not yet 18 years old. The program achieves the BSA's objectives of developing character, citizenship, and personal fitness. The kids are expected to subscribe to both the law and the oath, which is a good thing.

Scout Oath (or Promise)

On my honor I will do my best

To do my duty to God and my country

and to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong,

mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scout Law

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,

courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty,

brave, clean, and reverent.

The beauty of the whole program was the fact there were kids in the country who actually aspired to these noble goals. People who try such notions now are rare indeed.

The Scouts have undergone some trials in recent years in an effort to maintain the Law and the Oath above, but there are people who actually want to sully such notions in various ways, so the least any of us can do is give the Scouts our most ardent support. Mr. Olsen will tell you how these aspirations are to be pursued and maybe a word or two about the people who feel the Scouts are a tad biased about such things as God and Country â€" Can’t have that.

This is where I should invoke the new little prayer I literally heard for the first time less than a month ago, "Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.â€A

You guys are undoubtedly surprised that, when push comes to shove, push being the ACLU and shove the Boy Scouts, my sympathies will invariably gallop in the direction of the Scouts. It’s natural, I suppose, that when I was a kid, I was brainwashed to think the Scouts had only honorable motives even when they thought the Boy Scouts should essentially include boys (and only boys) of high moral fiber. At least my parents gave the whole movement their unmitigated blessing. It had to be right. My old man was never wrong, neither was mom.

Next week, Nancy Beckman will be here to tell you about the Lodi Visitors Bureau and what goes on there to make Lodi visitors thankful they chose our fair city.

While we are being high minded, by the way. We still need to talk about a Rotary Project and all the ways we can think of to bring the membership and attendance up to a lever that will make each of us proud and happy. I will accept unsigned recommendations.

Bob Bader

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