Leader keeps Scouts up to date

The Boy Scouts of America seems almost quaint in this plugged-in world of GPS navigation and reality television. In some respects, it is, said Bob Mazzuca, the chief executive officer of the organization.


The 12 core values of Scouting -- including courage, resourcefulness and respect -- will always have a place in society, said Mazzuca, who visited Augusta on Tuesday for a Georgia-Carolina Scouting event.

"While those are still viable aspirations, we still have a major role to play," Mazzuca said.

The Scouts celebrated its 100th anniversary last year as one of the largest youth outreach programs in the country, with a membership of 2.9 million youths, served by 1.1 million adult volunteers, according to Scouting.org.

The organization, founded in 1910 and chartered by Congress in 1916, is mostly broken into chartered groups conducted by faith-based and civil organizations.

Mazzuca talked Tuesday about the new strategies in place to make the timeless message of Scouting relevant to a new generation.

"We have really got to become more adept at using technology," he said.

New uniforms have pockets for iPods and cell phones. The Boy Scout Handbook is now an online app for easy research.

Construction is already under way on a new permanent home for the Boy Scout Jamboree, a national get-together held every four years. The facility in Charleston, W.Va., will emphasize extreme sports such as mountain biking, whitewater rafting and rock climbing, Mazzuca said.

Mazzuca foresees no change in the organization's faith-based roots.

In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court backed the organization's decision to bar homosexuals, agnostics and atheists from becoming Scout leaders. Mazzuca was firm Tuesday that it's a policy that has served the Scouts for 100 years. He emphasized that it's also important to teach respect.

He said that for the past decade or so, the Scouts has kept a low profile but must be a stronger advocate for children and their future.

"It's not about the last 100 years; it's about the next 100," he said.


Boy Scouts of America: http://www.scouting.org

Boy Scout Handbook http://www.bsahandbook.org

Supreme Court defends Boy Scouts of America