To the Editor:
I was born and raised in Brazil, where I spent my childhood going to the park, attending YMCA programs, swimming in the old round pool and attending boy scout meetings and summer camp.
I still remember when the District Scout came to school and told us how much we could learn and how much fun we could have as scouts. I took the information home and shared it with my parents. I joined the Cub Scouts and my mother became an assistant scout leader. As I grew older and attended Brazil Junior High School, I joined the band and the football team but scouting was still an important part of my life.
When I got to Brazil High School, I had to choose between band and football, so I chose football and continued to move up through the ranks in scouting. When I injured my knee in football, my involvement as a boy scout helped me continue to build my confidence.
With the help of a supportive family and a wonderful scout master, I eventually became an Eagle Scout, the highest rank you can achieve as a Boy Scout. My son also grew up and became an Eagle Scout and my grandson just finished his first year as a Cub Scout.
The foundation of who I am today was built during my time as a Boy Scout. I learned as a the scout oath said, "to do my duty, to God and Country."
I grew up in a time where the worst things students were doing was smoking cigarettes behind the smokestacks. We now live in a world full of illegal drug use. A world where you can't ride your bike to the park without the fear it will be stolen.
A world where boys have fewer and fewer examples of what it is to be a man. Here in Clay County, we live in a school district where teachers can't send home information on little league, Boy Scouts or any other organization that can provide much needed support and experiences to our children. We are the only school district in the area that has taken this step.
Without the ability to talk to students and send information home to parents, the future of many organizations in this area are in severe jeopardy. We need new members to continue. I'm gravely concerned the programs in Clay County will fail. I don't understand why the Boy Scouts can't have 15 minutes during lunch to talk to the students and tell them how they can join this great group.
The school corporation lawyer is saying if they let the Boy Scouts in, it opens the door to any other group. Some of these groups they are referring to are little league, Girl Scouts, 4-H, and Big Brother/Big Sisters. These organizations are recognized as Title 36 Patriotic organizations by United States government for a reason.
I hope our school leaders will reconsider the good they can do for the youth of our community by giving a little more support and encouragement for students to participate in the constructive opportunities provided by the Boy Scouts of America.
Please express your ideas on this matter to our school officials.
Bob Oliveira, Brazil pharmacist, parent
And BSA District Membership Chairman