This is the Boy Scouts. This is America.

This week I attended the quarterly court of honor at my old troop. The troop is doing well with a healthy youth membership, youth leaders in charge and supportive adults. While I think things were pretty good when I was active and serving as committee chair, the current adult leadership has continued the tradition of excellence and improved on it in the years since I left “active duty.”

One thing that has changed is the makeup of the Scout membership. I recognized a few of the Scouts but there is a whole new crop of boys whom I had never met.

What struck me as unique is how the troop has kept up with our community demographically.

Here are the surnames of some of the Scouts in attendance:

  • Bhattacharya
  • Bommidi
  • Dokic
  • Fallone
  • Gadam
  • Guiboux
  • Igbal
  • Klassa
  • Lachheriddygari
  • Muthukaruppiah
  • Nyamagoudar
  • Olbrantz
  • Prattapa
  • Tan
  • Tarkanyi
  • Wong
  • Zhao

This is the Boy Scouts of AMERICA.

Our community and our nation has always been a place of change. We are a society where immigrants have arrived on our shores and adopted the American way of life. And what could be more American than the Boy Scouts?

I can’t say for sure that all of the boys represented by the names above are indeed immigrants, but the names represent nationalities from around the world. In the past, a family named Muthukaruppiah, when immigrating to the United States, might have changed their name to something like Murray because they felt they would better fit in with an Anglicanized name. Today’s families coming to America are keeping their names, making their presence more apparent. It unsettles a few people, but it’s the way it has always been and always will be.

America cannot afford to turn our backs or close our borders to those who want to come here. It is the collective contributions of those from hundreds of cultures and traditions that makes America what it is. It’s certainly enriching our troop, and the Scouting movement overall (which itself is a worldwide brotherhood). Our young people know no different. And our young people are our hope for the future. Scouting gives them the opportunity to explore the world through the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. They are a friend and brother to all, regardless of faith or national origin. Where some see Italian, Indian, Iraqi or Irish, or Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu, our Scouts only see Iron Dragons, Rattlesnakes, Banana Slugs or Lizards.

I’m proud and humbled to be part of such an organization, and I hope you are as well.

Image from Scouting Magazine


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