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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Report: Atlanta Scouts fudged numbers

The first point of the Scout Law isn't ambiguous at all:
A Scout is Trustworthy.
I've been involved with Scouting since I was six years old, and I've always had a strong faith in the Scouting movement. That's why it's so disappointing to see this apparent lapse in judgement on the part of Atlanta-area Scout officials:
An independent investigation of the Atlanta-area Boy Scouts found that the organization inflated its number of black Scouts by more than 5,000 in a program for inner-city youth. The executive director of the Atlanta Boy Scouts resigned after the report was released. The audit found that former Scouts too old to participate remained on the memberships lists and that boys who had only attended informational meetings about the program were signed up. In one example, an official changed the birth date of 87 Cub Scouts so they would be old enough to participate in the program. In another case, an official continued to report membership of a church Boy Scout unit although the church had burned down three years earlier. The inflated numbers also included 200 Scout units that did not exist.
That said, it's heartening to see the response by Scouting officials at the state level, who quickly commissioned this audit in order to get to the bottom of this. The Boy Scouts of America is an organization that's done wonders for millions of boys, and I'd hate to see its reputation sullied by a handful of bad apples.


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