Gabriel Davila: Scout asks that Scouting not be defined by president’s Jamboree speech

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

I am a patrol leader for Boy Scouts of America Troop 500 in Amherst.

The president’s political speech at the recent National Scout Jamboree was not only against the rules of the event and the organization, but was also a tragedy — because it gave people the wrong idea about what happens at Scouting events.

In our Amherst troop, there is a rule against discussing politics. This is strictly enforced, just like our rules against bullying, cursing and exclusion. This is because every boy is welcome in Troop 500, the Boy Scouts of America, and the World Brotherhood of Scouting.

All boys 11 to 18 years old, of every race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability and religion are welcome and wanted in Troop 500!

The president’s speech at the Jamboree went against the letter and spirit of the Scout Oath and Law, because it made Scouts feel excluded. The adults at the Jamboree made a mistake when they didn’t stop the speech as they saw it becoming political. The Scouts and leaders at the event broke the rules further when they chanted political statements during Trump’s speech.

Boy Scouting is about learning about camping and leadership skills, about how to be a positive part of the world, and about friendship and brotherhood with other young men who want the same things.

It shouldn’t be the subject of controversy. It should be about going to all the different, wonderful camps and campouts, and it should be about regular meetings with a group of people who you know would have your back in the middle of the woods when a raccoon attacks your food.

Boy Scouting is about preparing meals for the homeless, cleaning up the park or creating new trails for a Scout camp. The things you learn in Scouting, whether they are problem resolution, CPR or sailing, are dynamic and contribute to an experience that cannot be found anywhere else.

Hopefully after reading this you have better understanding of what Boy Scouting is really like, instead of a warped image from one man’s speech at a Jamboree.

Gabriel Davila


Boy Scout Troop 500 meets every Tuesday of the school year from 7-8:30 p.m. at the South Congregational Church in Amherst.