Who’s Going to Push the Boy Scouts Into the 21st Century?

We pay a price when we close our eyes to what’s going on in the world beyond our daily routines. We also pay a price when we do pay attention to that larger world. In this morning’s New York Times is a picture of a wounded child in Qusayr, Syria, a victim of a bombing attack. There’s also a haunting shot of a Malian refugee trying to feed her visibly malnourished infant. You’ll also find a report that the Boy Scouts of America has reaffirmed its policy of excluding openly gay boys from membership and gay or lesbian adults from being leaders in the organization, which won’t exactly help stem the tide of bullying among youth.

It’s just painful to see and read these pictures and reports. It can leave one feeling pretty helpless and hopeless. In those moments we have to remind ourselves that we each have within us the power to help and to heal. And when individuals and organizations band together, that power is unlimited.

According to the Times report about the Boy Scouts, two members of the organization’s executive board, representing Ernst & Young and AT&T, have said that they are seeking to end the policy excluding openly gay children and adults. After the Boy Scouts reaffirmed its policy, an AT&T spokesman reissued this statement: “We don’t agree with every policy of every organization we support…change at any organization must come from within to be successful and sustainable.”

Corporate social responsibility leaders within organizations advocate for the brand loyalty that good works can inspire—this plays right into the business bottom line. But doing good has more power when there’s risk involved—when alienating some stakeholders is considered a worthwhile price to pay for taking a stand.

Yes, change must come from within an organization for it to take hold, but change from within often starts with strong, clear, sustained and courageous messages from outside the walls of a corporation, nonprofit, government agency or college campus.

—Steve Goldstein

Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI