Recent Op-Eds

Our nation has seen many changes over the last 100 years. The Internet has replaced telegraph wires; air travel has supplanted the railroads. Some things have remained constant, however, including the Boy Scouts of America, which recently marked its 100th anniversary.

Scouting, both for boys and girls, is a tradition that is alive and well in many South Dakota communities. Through emphasis on service to others and high moral character, scouting helps reinforce values in young people that can enable them to be leaders in their communities. Scouting can also nurture an appreciation for outdoor exploration and conservation of natural resources, both of which are important to the livelihood of many South Dakotans.

I recently had the opportunity to speak at the Eagle Scout Recognition Banquet for the Sioux Council, which is comprised of Boy Scout troops throughout much of eastern South Dakota as well as portions of Iowa and Minnesota. I am impressed by the stories of these young men who have shown great dedication to scouting for many years, as well as the support they receive from their family, friends, and their scouting organizations.

Scouts aim to uphold an oath of service to God and country, to serve others in their communities, and to practice self-discipline. We see these values in action in our communities and families every day, but we also see the struggles that can result when they are not upheld. The Scout Oath reinforces how important it is for young people to commit to the values of service and self-discipline, not only in their own lives but in their communities as well.

I applaud all of the South Dakota boys and girls currently involved in scouting, as well as those adults who participated in their youth. I am deeply appreciative of the importance that building young people of strong character for the future of our state and our nation, and I recognize the role that scouting plays in the lives of many young people in building such character. Scouting is an important tradition in South Dakota and our nation, and I believe the contributions made by scouts in the next 100 years will be just as important to our country as those made in the first 100 years.