Author, columnist, speaker

Scouts Pay Dearly for 'Wokeness' but Double Down Anyway


Illustration by Alexander Hunter / The Washington Times)

By Robert Knight

The following is written more in sadness than anger, although there is plenty of that, too.

I’m an Eagle Scout, as my father was before me. Scouting has enriched countless boys’ lives, and still does in many places.

Despite a craven, top-down leadership that has embraced all forms of political correctness, thousands of volunteers and Scouts are trying their best to ignore the madness and do what the Scouts do best: Train boys to be responsible men and have fun while doing it.

Unfortunately, Scouting has declined in a culture that doesn’t recognize the crucial role it has played.

In 1972, the United States had a population of just over 205 million. Nearly 5 million boys were in the Boy Scouts of America.

In 2024, the U.S. population has hit 336 million. Enrollment in the Boy Scouts has plummeted to just over 1 million, of whom 176,000 are girls and young women.

What happened between 1972 and 2024?

Several things. America’s culture changed for the worse, devolving into nihilism, paganism, self-centeredness and excess.

The Scouts, with their timeless values, were increasingly portrayed as hopelessly retro.

Then came scandal. More than 80,000 men claim they were sexually abused when they were in the Boy Scouts. The national organization declared bankruptcy in 2020, and this past March agreed to a $2.4 billion settlement to pay thousands of claims.

In 2018, the Boy Scouts still had more than 2 million members, but enrollment was dropping.

Five years earlier, after winning every court challenge to their morally responsible policy of barring homosexuals, the Scouts leadership caved anyway and opened the ranks to boys sexually attracted to other boys.

Two years later, they welcomed homosexual men to be leaders.

In 2018, they shucked the foundational concept of Boy Scouting, which is that it’s about boys. Girls were invited to join Cub packs and then a year later, Scout troops.

This ticked off the Girl Scouts, who had caved to political correctness long before the Boy Scouts. To which I say, “tough cookies, ladies.”

The Boy Scouts of America kept evolving, becoming Scouts BSA in 2019, keeping at least a vestige of the organization’s heritage.

This past week, they decided on another change. On February 8, 2025, on the Scouts’ 115th anniversary, they will dispense with the “boy” aspect altogether and be known as Scouting America to be more “inclusive.”

Drag Queen campfire hour is now quite thinkable in some – not all – areas of the country.

Soon, the so-called leaders at the top may be tempted to ditch the word America, as it is still exclusive and smacks of patriotism. As of now, God is still in the Scout oath.

It’s important to remember that not everyone consents to the wokeness, like the aforementioned people still giving their time and talents to Scouting.

Also, a group of far-seeing men and women have created wholesome alternatives.

American Heritage Girls, based in Cincinnati, is a Christian-focused group founded in 1995 by former Girl Scout leader Patti Garibay and others. They saw the Girl Scouts ditching God in the oath and adopting radical feminist ideology.

American Heritage Girls now has chapters in all 50 states and in 15 other countries.

Trail Life USA is a fast-growing lifeboat alongside the sinking Titanic of Boy Scouting.

Founded in 2013, it now has 1,000 troops and more than 50,000 members around the country. It’s basically Boy Scouting – camping, awards, skills – without the wokeness and with an extra measure of faith.

“The reality is that males and females are fundamentally different in many ways: physically, emotionally, and in their relationships,” said Mark Hancock, Trail Life CEO in response to Scout leaders’ latest folly.

“Pretending otherwise in the name of progress or permissiveness might be culturally acceptable, but it does both sexes a disservice. … Trail Life isn’t just a Christian alternative to the Boy Scouts; it’s an answer to the deep crisis affecting boys in America.”

Not just boys. If you want to drive a nation to its knees, you must weaken or eliminate manly men regardless of how many capable women you have.

That begins with corrupting male youths and denying them support for realizing their masculine role in society as husbands, fathers and patriots.

The term “Scouts’ honor” speaks volumes about the organization’s importance in teaching character.

The Scouts have always been a pipeline to the armed forces. As Scouting has cratered, so has recruitment into our woke military.

This makes many Americans anxious, but not the rulers in Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. They are very happy.

Somewhere, somehow, these despots are giving a pat on the head to the late Alfred C. Kinsey, Hugh Hefner, the ACLU, George Soros and others that helped birth America’s cultural suicide.

The answer to all this is a full-scale resistance to the forces that seek to fundamentally transform America into a Marxist version of Sodom and Gomorrah.

More and more people seem to be awakening against wokeness.

As for my beloved Boy Scouts, which served me well when I was a boy, and still serve the faithful who remain true to the oath, let’s sadly open one of those handy, multiple-tool jackknives and find the fork.

If nothing changes to reverse the tide toward wokeness, it might come in handy.