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Mike Rowe On Boy Scouts Change: ‘You’ve Got To Draw The Line Somewhere’

By  Frank Camp

Mike Rowe recently appeared on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Rowe was the host of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” and, among many other things, now acts as CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, a charitable organization “that rewards people with a passion to get trained for skilled jobs that actually exist,” according to its official website.

During the segment, Tucker Carlson questioned Rowe about the new changes to the Boy Scouts of America:

CARLSON: You were famously an Eagle Scout as a boy. The Scouts are no longer the Boy Scouts, but simply the Scouts. What’s your response to that?

ROWE: Well, it’s funny you should ask, Tucker, because no less than 10,000 people have asked me that very question over the last month on my Facebook page. …

Look, I’m watching what’s happening carefully. I’ve sent 50,000 to 55,000 letters out over the last ten years to other Eagle Scouts, and I think the country needs the Scouts. I think the country needs the Future Farmers of America and Skills USA and 4H desperately – now more than ever.

So, it does concern me to see all the confusion swirling around the organization, but like so many wounds, I’m afraid many of these are self-inflicted. And I also think that some of the confusion that’s going on is legitimate. I read their official statement. While girls are being welcomed in, I didn’t read anything about integrated camping trips or troop meetings. I think it really is a play to compete more directly with the Girl Scouts, and I understand why the Girl Scouts are upset, but since when is competition a bad thing?

So, I think character development and leadership development have never been more important than they are today. So, my hope is that the Boy Scouts assume the opportunity that’s presenting itself, and become an antidote for the safe space environment that’s out there and push back a little bit. I mean, not to sound like the angry guy on your neighbor’s porch yelling at the kids on the lawn, but when I was in the Scouts in ’74 and ’75, it wasn’t a safe space there in the basement of our church. I mean, you’d go home with a bloody nose sometimes, or a black eye – we had a boxing ring. You know, it was a vibrant place where you really could test yourself and fail in a way that on the one hand made you safe enough to attempt, but on the other hand didn’t try and check every box and please every single person.

It’s a tough time. I’m sympathetic for the leaders, but I’m afraid you’ve got to draw the line somewhere and be very, very clear about what you stand for as well as against.

CARLSON: So you don’t see this as the end of something then?

ROWE: I don’t know. You know, I mean, again, you either evolve or you die, but at the same time, I think people are confused because the Scouts simply haven’t come out and said categorically what they’re for, right? So, I just think this conversation touches on every single hot point right now going on in popular culture, from tolerance to acceptance – which, by the way, I’m not sure what the difference between those two things is anymore – but there used to be a big difference.

People are struggling for their own identity, and look, the last time I was on we talked about this. We talked about the idea that everything is either being informed by a safe space culture or everything is being informed by people who want to be challenged. I think people are desperate to be challenged and my hope for these youth-based organizations that help preach character is that they look for people who want to be challenged and not curry favor so much with those who want a nice, reassuring pat on the head.

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