Those of us who were Scouts learned lessons that we can never repay. Our whole lives were shaped by our Scouting experiences and we are better for those experiences.
Those of us that were never Scouts but have been adult volunteers have been blessed because we have had the opportunity to shape the lives of others for the better. And those of us that have been both Scouts and Scouters have been doubly blessed. Not only have we learned the time-honored values of Scouting through experience but we have been able to share those values with the Scouts of today.
Scouting is going through a difficult time now.
Some of those people that had the same opportunity to shape the lives of young people betrayed their trust and ours and shattered some of those young lives. Most of those people did this many years ago before the Boy Scouts of America had put into place the successful youth protection programs that exist today but the BSA has stepped up to the plate and is working to help compensate the victims of the past.
The remedies are expensive and the BSA of tomorrow may not look like the BSA that we all know and love. But that is the way life is and we all need to adjust to whatever may come.
Some volunteers are dismayed by the struggles of our movement. Some have decided that they wish to walk away. But this is not the time for dismay. This is not the time for disengagement. We still belong to the best youth-serving organization in the country. We are still shaping lives and forming the leaders of tomorrow. We need to continue our efforts to bring our value system to the youth of America.
The National Jewish Committee on Scouting has been a committee of the BSA since 1926. We have witnessed many changes over the decades that we have been affiliated with Scouting but through them all we have continued to promote Scouting for Jewish Youth.
The committee has determined that the time has come for us to change.
We have concluded that we can best continue to serve all the Jewish communities of America by following the lead of all the other religious committees working with the BSA and become an independent organization. Over the next few months we will form a new nonprofit organization and seek 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.
Our new organization will retain the name of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting. We will create a new memorandum of understanding with the BSA that will allow us to continue to serve all Jewish Scouts, all Jewish units and all Jewish Scouters for many years to come. We look forward to this process which will enable us to continue all of our current Scouting programs, solidify our relationships with local councils and with the BSA and most important, will all of the Jewish communities here and abroad.
This is the season of thanksgiving. I thank each and every one of you who has served Scouting in the past. I challenge all of you to join together with me, with our committee and with all of our Scouting brothers and sisters to continue our efforts.
Don’t stop to wait and see what comes of Scouting’s financial problems. They are there and they will work their way out. But we do not have the time to wait and see. We need to serve the youth of today and we need to serve them now. I ask you to rededicate yourselves to Scouting’s principles.
Join me in reciting the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. Continue to do your good turn today and every day. We need to work with a new unity of purpose and we need to work for the future of Scouting. Our efforts will be rewarded in the accomplishments of the leaders of tomorrow.
Take heart and support our cause now and in the future.
Bruce Chudacoff, Chairman
National Jewish Committee on Scouting