In response yesterday to President Trump’s speech at the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree July 24, which many are calling narcissistic and partisan, the National Capital Area Council, a local council of the BSA within the Northeast Region that serves Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and the United States Virgin Islands, released the following statement:
To the families of National Capital Area Council:
There has been much discussion the past few days about the President’s remarks at the National Jamboree; we would like to make our Council’s position clear.
The Boy Scouts of America is wholly non-partisan and does not promote any one political position, candidate or philosophy. The invitation for the sitting U.S. President to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition dating back to President Franklin Roosevelt in 1937.
This custom of inviting Presidents to speak to Scouts is in no way an endorsement of any person, party or policies. Rather, the speaking invitation is based on our “Duty to Country” from the Scout Oath and out of respect for the Office of the President of the United States. Not many young people get the chance to see the President speak in person, and we are proud we are able to provide so many of our Scouts this opportunity.
While we cannot comment directly on the remarks made by any of our guest speakers, we wish to address the following points of concern that have been brought up in the ensuing discussion.
First, a commitment to diversity is one of our Council’s core values. We believe that young men and women become better citizens and leaders through interaction with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. To that end we welcome, encourage, and actively work to invite all families to participate with no restriction based on race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, economic background, or nation of origin. Our Council reflects the diversity of the world and it is our ongoing goal to see that diversity reflected in our membership.
Second, the Boy Scouts have a strict no-tolerance policy on bullying; it is a cornerstone of our youth protection policy, which is one of the most respected in the nation. A core tenet of the policy includes no booing, heckling, or other negative speech at any Scouting event. If any of our Scouts or leaders were engaged in such behavior, we deeply regret their actions. Furthermore, we are calling upon all our leaders to discuss proper ways to display citizenship and enthusiasm with their units.
Above all, the Boy Scouts teach young men and women to be good citizens. When partisanship is at such a high level from all points on the political spectrum, it is a lively time to be an American citizen. We continue to believe that the best way to help young people rise to this challenge is to focus on the values of the Scout Oath and Law so that they can learn to be good citizens and good friends to all they meet.
Additionally, a Facebook post this morning by a Utah native who currently resides in Virginia said, “Was that so hard? Sadly it is up to the local councils to step up and do what the national organization should have already done.”
“Out of curiosity, I checked the Great Salt Lake Council website (the area where I grew up scouting), and there was no statement of any kind addressing Trump’s recent appearance. Clearly this is a microcosm of our divided country. It is interesting to note that my area, which covers the “cesspool” or “swamp” or whatever people are fond of calling DC was all over this. Crickets from “other” regions.