On playgrounds and at social gatherings, boys and girls and men and women often self-segregate — and their activities and conversations often focus on different things. This despite admirable, much-needed, new opportunities in technical areas once considered the domain of men, and despite increasing supervisory and executive opportunities now available to women.

Generally speaking, boys and girls, men and women, are just different, in ways that are valuable and complementary. Scouting offers high levels of achievement to both boys and girls while providing carefully planned opportunities in which they can develop apart from a coed world.

Cartoon by Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

There are unfortunate pressures being brought to bear on the Boy Scouts of America (“Boy Scouts’ Bigger Tent Raises Girls’ Stakes,” Oct. 17). The invaluable experiences Scouting was designed to offer may no longer be as respected as they once were if the organizational structure of Scouting is changed. Not all changes are beneficial.

Julia Lutch, Davis, Calif.

Norfolk Southern Still Rolls With Merit

We at Norfolk Southern were thrilled to see your “Editor’s Notebook” piece (“A Thank-You 30 Years Overdue,” Oct. 27) and gratefully receive your thank-you for the merit scholarship you earned some 30 years ago.

We don’t believe that atonement for your tardiness is actually necessary, but if it were, we’d be happy to meet you halfway as, to be honest, we might have lost track of you for a few years, too.

To answer your question: Norfolk Southern’s foundation continues to support students through the National Merit Scholarship program. As with our contributions to other scholarships, food banks, emergency responders, the American Red Cross, the arts and the United Way, we don’t do it to cultivate the next generation of railroaders (although we welcome that outcome), but rather to uphold our responsibility to improve the communities in which we live by a supporting a healthy, prosperous and enriched environment for our employees, our customers and our fellow citizens.

That you chose to pursue a career in the media — providing a voice, a platform and an insight to society — aligns perfectly with our goals in supporting your textbook purchases. (Perhaps we can discuss the merits of “a few pitchers of beer” over a pitcher of beer some time.) Further, lest you think that your studies of ancient Greece didn’t prepare you well for a career at Norfolk Southern, I point you toward our chairman, president and CEO, Jim Squires, who received his B.A. in ancient Greek from Amherst in 1987, as evidence that you’re just not a railroader — yet.

Thanks again for your note and for demonstrating that our investment in you has paid off for all of us.

Tom Werner, vice president corporate communications, Norfolk Southern Corp.

From the Blogs

The community conversation is always active at the AJT’s blogs page, blogs.timesofisrael.com/atlanta-jewish-times. Visit the blogs to sign up for your own AJT blog or to add your comments to recent posts, such as Wendy Kalman on our gun problem, Amy Saks Zeide on tikkun olam and Rabbi Marc Wilson on the sickness of our reality-TV world.

Write to Us

The AJT welcomes letters and guest columns from our readers. Letters should be 400 or fewer words; guest columns are up to 700 words. Send submissions to editor@atljewishtimes.com. Include your name, your town and a phone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit submissions for style and length.