As you are well aware, Barack Obama is now the President Elect of the United States of America. No matter how you looked at the election, it was going to be historic. If the Republican candidates won the election, America would have its first female Vice President. If the Democrat candidates won the election, America would have its first African-American President.
Now that we know who the next President of the United States will be, we can ponder other questions, like whether or not Barack Obama will become the next Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America. While some Scouts and Scouters assume this is an automatic designation, it is not. According to Section 9 “Honorary Officers” of Article IV of the Boy Scouts of America By Laws:
Honorary President and Vice-Presidents
Clause 1. The President of the United States may, during term of office, be elected to be the Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, living former Presidents of the United States and other citizens who have rendered distinguished service to our country through work for young people may be elected to be honorary vice-presidents. Such election shall be by the Executive Board upon the recommendation of the Nominating Committee for such terms as the Executive Board shall specify.
Taking a look at the past, every President since William Taft has taken on the title of Honorary President. President Taft accepted the position to “thus sustain a similar relation to the movement as does King George V to a similar movement in England.” President Taft was quoted:
“I am very glad to give my sympathy and support to such a movement as this. Anything that directs the boy’s spirit in the right channel for usefulness and for the making of manly men should be encouraged.”
Assuming the BSA Executive Board elects Barack Obama to be the Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America after he takes office, it is up to Mr. Obama to accept the position. While there were reports that Mr. Obama was involved with Scouting as a youth, it wasn’t with the Boy Scouts of America, but rather with the Gerakan Pramuka (the national Scouting organization of Indonesia).
If President-Elect Obama follows tradition he will be part of the largest celebration the Boy Scouts of America has ever seen. He will help the organization celebrate its 100th Anniversary and address the crowd at the 2010 National Boy Scout Jamboree.
We know that his Vice President, Joe Biden, is Cub Scout friendly, but Mr. Obama hasn’t really mentioned his thoughts on the Boy Scouts and their role in this great country.
Do you think President-Elect Obama will be the next Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America?