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Published October 19 2011

Boy Scouts CEO touts group’s virtues

BISMARCK – Scouting is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago for the character development and leadership it instills in America’s youths, the Boy Scouts of America CEO said Wednesday.

Bob Mazzuca spoke to North Dakota Scouts and their leaders during stops in Minot, Bismarck and Fargo. He said he’s often asked if Scouting is still relevant.

“Yes, indeed, Scouting is alive and well,” he said. “We’re excited about our future. In my opinion, it’s never been more important than it is today.”

The organization includes almost 1.2 million adult volunteers who serve more than 4.5 million youths across the nation, a news release said. The Northern Lights Council has more than 15,000 members and 4,000 volunteers throughout North Dakota, northwestern Minnesota and portions of South Dakota and Montana.

As a nation, “we desperately need leaders at the table” with the qualities promoted in Scouting, such as trustworthiness, loyalty and helpfulness, Mazzuca said.

Boy Scouts of America has done a number of things in the past several years to stay relevant, such as incorporating technology into the organization, he said.

He created buzz among Bismarck Boy Scouts when he said there would soon be a gaming merit badge for learning how to create video games. It’s part of the organization’s science, technology, engineering and math initiative.

“We have to do something to drive our young people back into an interest and a passion for those fields of study so we can stay competitive in a global (market),” Mazzuca said.

Boy Scouts of America is also doing more to promote healthy living. On Wednesday, Bismarck Boy Scouts earned the Scout-specific Presidential Active Lifestyle Award.

To receive the honor, Scouts must be active for 60 minutes a day, five days a week for six weeks.

Stephen McDonough of Bismarck said more than 1.7 million Americans have accepted the challenge to lead healthier lives and achieved the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award.

He said he’s excited the Boy Scouts have entered an alliance with the initiative.

The pediatrician and Boy Scout volunteer serves on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition with famous athletes like Drew Brees and Michelle Kwan.

Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.