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Just got back yesterday from a week as an adult leader at Cub Scout camp in western Virginia. Now, I wasn’t into scouting as a kid — I lost interest in Cub Scouts after one year, though my dad and brother were Eagle Scouts, Order of the Arrow, the whole thing. But the importance of scouting for the future health of our country can’t be exaggerated. Patriotism, for instance, wasn’t preached at camp — it was just assumed as a normal part of life. Everyone went to the daily flag-raising and -lowering ceremonies and each of the two big campfire programs ended with a patriotic song (they called it “America the Beautiful,” but it was not the familiar song, though it was a quiet and lovely tune). There were a variety of religious services and grace before every meal. Camp also gave the Cub Scouts structured, civilized outlets for their normal male urges and interests — air rifles, archery, fire-building, etc. I especially appreciated the staff member who taught the nature program, who, while communicating his deep respect for nature, laughingly said he was no tree-hugger — that properly managed hunting was good and that driving nails into trees was bad because they might break the chainsaw and cause injuries when it came time to harvest the tree. This from a college kid who looks like Weird Al Yankovic! And the all-black group from an AME church in suburban Maryland reminded me that few things would be of more help to black America, and America in general, than having more black scouts.


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