While I was down in Washington D.C. I had the opportunity to see the National Boy Scout Memorial. I had heard about it in passing a few years back, but ironically never heard of it while I was actually in scouting, nor did I visit it with my troop when we went to Washington D.C. in the 1980s even though it has been there since 1964.
The memorial is… interesting. There are three figures portrayed in the sculpture: a boy scout with a walking stick, a female holding a torch, and a naked man holding leaves. The female and naked male are supposed to represent “American Manhood and Womanhood” and supposedly they are passing their ideals down to the scout.
I can understand how this would have been a great sculpture in the 1960s, but for modern day it seems extremely out of place considering the challenges and issues scouting has faced over the last three decades. Between the allegations of abuse by adults, the barring of homosexuals from scouting, and the dissolution of the nuclear family in recent times, scouting has gone through the ringer and this memorial really doesn’t help the case.
While I’m no longer involved in scouting, it does sadden me that the organization is no longer as highly valued as it once was. Undoubtedly I would not be who I am today without those experiences and I honestly think there are a lot of people, both youth and adult, that are missing out on some great experiences.
Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed by the memorial, but at least I can say I saw it.