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  • As an American?

    The Outdoor Code

    As an American, I will do my best to -
    Be clean in my outdoor manners.
    Be careful with fire.
    Be considerate in the outdoors.
    Be conservation minded.

    Why does the Outdoor Code begin with "as an American ..." There is nothing specific in the code that one can only do as an American. I think that it is an inefficient use of language and should be removed. American citizenship is not a requirement for BSA membership so why include that phrase?

    There are a few scouts in our Troop who were born in India, New Zealand and the U.K. What the protocol when reciting the Outdoor Code?

  • #2
    When in Rome, do as the Romans???

    Or, maybe they don't worry if you burn down a Canadian, Mexican forest?

    Or, maybe if you're not an American you don't need to worry about burning down American forests.????

    Or, maybe we got a corner on the market for taking care of the outdoors???

    These are as good a guess as any when it comes to the way the minds in Texas work.

    And by the way, I challenge anyone out there to say my reasons aren't for real.



    • #3
      Because Americans do a better job of taking care of the outdoors and cleaning up our messes than anyone else on the planet? (Hoo boy now I've done it)


      • Nike
        Nike commented
        Editing a comment
        The environment in the US is significantly cleaner now than in 1970. Does the Ohio catch on fire anymore? Is the Potomac still a deathly swill of typhus and cholera? An industrial society is going to create industrial pollution. We now manage it much better, as do the Germans and Swiss. It's not like those two countries are pristine.

        As for Germany, visit a German lay-by, not an autohof, but a regular rest area. Filthy, every one of them. I also recall a recycling scandal there in the early 2000's when people discovered that their sorted trash was being exported to China. It was right at the end of our tour, and I admit I didn't pay as much attention as I could have. The minutae of recycling in Germany is almost pathological.

      • berliner
        berliner commented
        Editing a comment
        I did not say that they havent made any improvements.
        And I am trying not to say EVERY american.

        But fact is the "throw away culture" with fast food and all has its origin in the US.
        Yes I know I eat that $h!t myself sometimes. Guilty. Supersize me.
        There is millions of people in the world starving,
        but if the 99 cent burger wasnt sold in 10 minutes it lands in the trash.
        We do not have a food-shortage problem in this world, not at all.
        Waste and distribution is an issue. Limited resources.

        Now one has to consider the size of population and country as well, but still.
        US 240, DE 80 and CH 20 Mil I think ... or thereabouts.
        The germans have 7 or so different recycle bins, ths swiss have 17 different recycle stations.
        They have seperate bins for paper and cardboard! I think that is overboard (pun intended).

        Yes industry will always create pollution and yes since the 1970s a lot of new filters and what not
        has been invented and implemented.
        Only slowly do people realize how precious our environment is. Too slowly.

        Nike - Truckstops have like nothing to with this I think?
        I didnt say anyone was pristine, but If you like it clean go to Singapore ;-)

      • NJCubScouter
        NJCubScouter commented
        Editing a comment
        Berliner, you are correct that we still have a way to go on "cleaning up" in this country, but I have seen substantial progress in my lifetime. I can remember riding in the car with my parents on the New Jersey Turnpike and seeing the smoke from all the factories billowing into the air. (This was in the 60's.) You could see the smog hanging in the air. You don't see much of that anymore (and that's not just because a lot of factories are closed.) The same goes for the water, the bays and rivers in Northern New Jersey were basically chemical dumps. And they probably did catch on fire sometimes, they just never got the publicity that the river in Ohio got. Today many of the rivers are essentially pollution-free and the bays, well, you still wouldn't want to drink out of them but they are a lot cleaner.

    • #4
      Those who do not wish to profess Patriotism are free to not do so. Skip the first three words. There is nothing "inefficient" about being an American and proud of it. DS, are you also a proponent of removing the recital of the Pledge Of Allegiance from our public schools, too? It's terribly inefficient and redundant to do it every day!

      Brewmeister: You are correct, and you haven't done anything but tell the truth.
      Last edited by FrankScout; 09-19-2013, 02:45 PM.


      • #5
        And I suppose that being "an American" could mean anyone from the Western Hemisphere (North and South America along with associated islands). Not that that helps DS's Indians, Kiwis, or Brits

        [EDIT]On a slightly more serious note, the "A" in BSA stands for America. Another requirement states that you must recite the Pledge of Allegiance. That is many units' opening ceremony. DS, do you ask your "foreigners" to pledge allegiance to the flag of the USA? Are they required to know that?

        As jblake said, "When in Rome". If a Scout born in the USA were to join Scouting in Japan (whatever that organization is named) he would be expected to know or learn their requirements; why shouldn't any member of the BSA -- no matter their birthplace?[/EDIT]
        Last edited by Builder; 09-19-2013, 06:12 PM.


        • DigitalScout
          DigitalScout commented
          Editing a comment
          Non-Americans can take the Pledge of Allegiance just like a citizen; nothing excludes them in the pledge's language. We have non-citizens in our military who defend our country and I would expect them to pledge allegiance to our country.

        • Merlyn_LeRoy
          Merlyn_LeRoy commented
          Editing a comment
          Non-Americans can take the Pledge of Allegiance just like a citizen; nothing excludes them in the pledge's language.

          I disagree; some countries would even consider it a crime to pledge allegiance to a foreign country.

        • berliner
          berliner commented
          Editing a comment
          ... and those countries probably dont have any BSA Units outside the embassy walls in the first place ...

          BSA was/is out and about to win "hearts and minds" of the young people overseas (South Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, ...)

          There is a rule that BSA may not take any scout away from the local scout organisation, but in this international world it leads
          to swedish, spanish, french, german and what not scouts in the BSA.
          Last edited by berliner; 09-26-2013, 09:30 AM.

      • #6
        Does that include Texicans?????


        • st0ut717
          st0ut717 commented
          Editing a comment
          No They are special just ask them

      • #7
        Part of the purpose of scouting is to teach citizenship. Part of the responsibilities of every American would be to leave pristine land to which they as individuals have no title or deed.


        • King Ding Dong
          King Ding Dong commented
          Editing a comment
          But once you have title or deed to that mountain feel free to blow it up.

        • packsaddle
          packsaddle commented
          Editing a comment
          KDD, all you really need is mineral rights.

      • #8
        Maybe it has something to do with being the Boy Scouts of America.


        • #9
          Why do I hear a Doors song ringing in my ears.....


          • #10
            While patriotism is often over done and even flaunted by some, there is nothing wrong with using the generic term American. If, for some reason that really is bothersome, then just put whatever you want there; but try and be civil. Geeeez!


            • #11
              Protesting "as an american"? Really? In every country, scouts is about citizenship and that DOES include the flag and a certain level of patriotism. Now, ya don't need to wave the flag or run and join the military. But it does mean a certain level of "proud to be an american". I'm astounded anyone would question that.

              It's like saying you are member of a church, but the church doesn't believe in the existence of God and doesn't really have any core beliefs (i.e. UUA). It's like saying you are believe everyone needs to pay their fair share but then protesting when the taxes hit you. But then supporting taxes that hit either the working poor or the top 1%.

              "As an American" ... ya know ... scouts also say the pledge of allegiance before each meeting. Your scouts from India, New Zealand and the U.K. already have a much bigger issue. How about the Scout Oath?

              Sorry ... that question did get to me. But to be honest, I know very few scouts who know the outdoor code. They read it once and then tend to forget it.


              • #12
                If they are not an "American" I would just substitute the word Scout or use whatever they call themselves. I also believe that being "American" is more of an idea than a legalistic citizenship term. The idea is best embodied in the Declaration of Independce. Anyone who supports those ideals is welcome to stand with me as American.


                • #13
                  I did a little digging on the Internet and found this in a description of the 5th edition of the Scout Handbook, which was published from 1948 to 1959:

                  In addition to other information on conservation, it is the first book to contain a "Conservation Pledge" ("I give my pledge as an American to save and faithfully to defend from waste the natural resources of my Country — its soil and minerals, its forests, water and wildlife." ). Later printings expand this pledge and reword it as our present "Outdoor Code" ("As an American, I will do my best to — be clean in my outdoor manners, be careful with fire, be considerate in the outdoors, and be conservation-minded.")

                  First of all, this means that the reference in a previous post to the "minds in Texas", assuming that is meant to refer to the national headquarters of the BSA, is incorrect. The BSA HQ was in New York City until 1954 when it moved to New Jersey, so depending on which printing of the 5th edition introduced the actual "Outdoor Code" with its current title and wording, the minds in question were located in either NYC or NJ.

                  More to the point, it is interesting that the original version (called the "Conservation Pledge") started "I give my pledge as an American to...", which was then shortened to "As an American, I will..." Personally I think they should have kept the beginning from the first version. They switched to a wording that is, well, kind of awkward. The "As an American" does come out of the blue, kind of. I don't have any problems with the word "American."


                  • #14
                    If they are not citizens, but are still BSA members, then try this...

                    As an American Scout, I will do my best to -
                    Be clean in my outdoor manners.
                    Be careful with fire.
                    Be considerate in the outdoors.
                    Be conservation minded.


                    • #15
                      I am not a citizen or resident but probably more 'merican than a lot of others as a "3rd culture kid":
                      When I joined BSA (together with boys from 3-4 different countries) we all said the Pledge of Allegiance;
                      thats the flag on the shoulder, right?
                      When I became ASM I think I had 5-6-7 nationalities in my Troop but Pledfe of Allegiance was the opening, being BSA and all.
                      So we always had more Interpreter Strips than any of the other Troops. BSA-TAC is special ;-)

                      In NZ I learned the new Promise & all, but still wear my BSA Smokey Bear. Some things dont change.