Boy Scouts Deserve Better CoverageThe article "Illinois...


August 28, 1993

Boy Scouts Deserve Better Coverage

The article "Illinois man charged in sale of fake Scouts' merit badges" (Aug. 13) is typical of The Sun -- as well as large city papers -- printing the negative, as opposed to the positive activities of youth in the United States.

The paper should have noted the gathering at the National Boy Scout Jamboree of over 35,000 scouts and leaders from every state, including 500 foreign scouts from nearly 50 countries including Russia, Mongolia and Kuwait that has just concluded at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia.

They had gathered for week-long activities to teach new skills, build character and make new friends. Our paper -- as well as many other newspapers -- chose to print the bad rather than the good.

Activities included action centers to promote trust and safety with rope walks, log swings, propelling down 36-foot towers in controlled descent, obstacle courses, canoe races, kayaking, canoe slalom, shotgun and skeet shooting, motorcross races.

There was also a merit badge midway where scouts learned individual skills such as textiles, drafting, fingerprinting, architecture, dentistry, stamp collecting and many other skills.

Scouts brought artwork and science experiments to be judged by professional artists and science professors. There were fishing activities where the average catch was 1.9 pounds.

They had exhibits that included a display known as "Drugs: A Deadly Game," a program of the Boy Scouts since 1985 to teach youngsters the dangers of drugs. Many of the volunteer scouters were professionals who worked for Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement agencies. Nearly 2,000 people a day visited that display.

Those who were interested in journalism (which should be of particular interest to the newspapers) had originally signed up 200 scout reporters and ended up with over 800 youngsters writing articles for Hometown News.

The scouts wrote articles about the jamboree to send back to their local newspapers under the supervision of professional news people. A daily newspaper known as Jamboree Today was published telling the scouts the activities and news of the jamboree. The articles were written by scouts supervised by professional journalists and adult volunteers.

Entertainment included the group Up With People, Louise Mandrell and Lee Greenwood, a fireworks display, Navy Seals precision parachuting team that dropped 10,000 feet.

There were over 100 chaplains of every religion giving their time and making themselves available to the scouts.

The Army's 85th evacuation hospital was set up on the campsite staffed by volunteer doctors involved in scouting. There was a volunteer fire department, security and police force staffed with volunteer scouters. Nearly 6,000 volunteer adults and teen agers ran the activities at the jamboree.

Other papers, such as the Richmond Times-Dispatch, published special editions dealing with the jamboree. I am sure that news dispatches came into The Sun and were most likely ignored. If there were other articles in The Sun dealing with the jamboree, I apologize. I have been told that none appeared.

Newspapers like The Sun should take greater responsibility in telling the activities of young people and those who volunteer to help them grow into useful and productive citizens and should emphasize the positive rather than the negative.

Paul R. Kramer


The writer has been a volunteer Boy Scout leader for 45 years.

Ron Mullen for Police Commissioner

As a long-time student and observer of the Baltimore Police Department it was with great interest that I read Hal Riedl's commentary, "Why the Mayor Will Probably Pick the Wrong Police Commissioner" (Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 13) and Isaiah Fletcher's letter to the editor on the same day.

Mr. Riedl's incisive article should not only be read by the mayor and his people, but the points made therein should be seriously considered and adopted as guidelines for the selection of a new police commissioner.

Mr. Fletcher not only emphasizes that skin color should not be a criterion (let that read only African-Americans qualify for consideration), but also suggests that the next commissioner should come from outside of the present police structure of Baltimore City.

He goes on to suggest that former Deputy Commissioner Ronald Mullen did not become police commissioner because he was white.

Mr. Fletcher poses the question, "Why not entice such a person back to the Police Department?"

Why not indeed?

In 1989 the best qualified member of the Police Department for the Commissioner's position was Ronald Mullen. His resume, leadership ability and competence clearly marked him best qualified.

In fact, the former Police Commissioner Donald D. Pomerleau said as much to me at the investiture of Edward V. Woods as police commissioner.

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