Our new year is about to begin. Looking to the past year, we have experienced a number of ups and downs. On the up side, girls are now fully integrated into Scouting. Jewish girl troops are being formed all over the country with enthusiastic young women demonstrating an immediate command of Scouting’s skills and leadership. Those Jewish institutions that have boys’ units need to serve all of their members by establishing units for girls as well. Packs and crews are healthy and are, with the troops of Scouts BSA, providing our young people with the opportunity to incorporate Scouting’s and Judaism’s congruent values into their lives as they develop into the leaders of tomorrow.
Here’s a challenge for us: If your Jewish institution has a pack with boys only, add girls or a separate girls’ pack. If you have a troop of boys, add one of girls. If you have a troop of girls, add one of boys. If you don’t have a crew, form one. The flexibility of Scouting’s program allows us to fully serve the entire spectrum of Jewish observance within every institution’s Jewish traditions. Contact me if you need help in adding units and I will get you to the right people.
My favorite example of a new troop is a girls’ troop, troop 614, numbered that way because “girls are always better than boys.” There’s a real challenge for everyone.
There have some significant challenges as well in the last year. The BSA continues to deal with the consequences of those who preyed on our youth in past generations. Scouting is working hard to continue to ameliorate the consequences to individuals who suffered at the hands of unscrupulous individuals who infiltrated our movement in the past. At the same time, Scouting has worked tirelessly to protect our current members through background checks, training and other practices to close any loopholes that would otherwise put children at risk. Scouting is now the safest youth-serving organization in the country.
We on the National Jewish Committee on Scouting continue to make efforts to serve the entire Jewish community. We are monitoring the Jewish religious emblems program and are considering potential changes to it to accommodate segments of the Scouting community who need additional consideration. Our website, www.Jewishscouting.org, continues to provide useful information for all Jewish volunteers, units and Scouts. We will soon be adding more features and plan a reorganization to make the resource section more user friendly. We have just established an Orthodox Advisory Committee to help develop new programs and services for the Orthodox community. Our recruiting tools continue to be improved and all of them can be found on the website.
As we look forward to the coming year, 5780, we plan to continue to improve our service to the community and look forward to enhancing our partnerships with many dedicated volunteers. Have a sweet, healthy, fulfilling new year.
Bruce Chudacoff, Chairman
National Jewish Committee on Scouting