The United States Senate has designated 8 Feb 2010 as Boy Scouts of America Day, marking the 100th anniversary of the movement. Some 110 million American boys have taken the scouting oath. The centenary invites a review of the country's notables among that 110 million and a look at the BSA's exclusionary policies and robust legal efforts to protect its interests.
Scouts who have gone on to win renown include: actors James Stewart, Harrison Ford and Richard Gere; astronaut Neil Armstrong; Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg; CIA director Robert M. Gates; adventurer Steven Fossett; baseball player Henry Aaron; Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz; author Paul Theroux; Microsoft founder Bill Gates; former presidents John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush; many presidential candidates and current and former legislators. US Senator Lamar Alexander, a former Eagle Scout, co-sponsored the bill to establish Boy Scouts of America Day. The BSA, one of the largest private youth organizations in the United States, prohibits atheists, agnostics and "known or avowed" homosexuals from membership in its program Scouting program. The Supreme Court has upheld the right to its exclusionary policy. The movement is currently battling to establish the terms under which the BSA can access governmental resources including public lands. The world Boy Scout movement celebrated its centenary in 2007, when it was estimated that over 500 million women and men from most of the countries and cultures in the world had pledged to live by the Scout Promise and Law. Oct/09
Date written/update: 2010-02-08