Kevin Madigan is a senior reporter for the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Troop 73 Scout Master Josiah Benator has had more than Scouting on his mind recently. A World War II veteran, the 95-year-old on May 27 was named a knight in France’s National Order of the Legion of Honor for his service more than 70 years earlier. He received the badge in a ceremony at the Georgia Capitol on Monday, Sept. 25.
Last year the AJT reported that only two active members remained in the group, jeopardizing its ability to continue after decades of Scouting.
Benator now has six boys under his charge, one above the minimum requirement for registration. “We’d like to get more of them, though,” he said. “We’re able to go on camping trips, and we work with our Scouts each week on advancement.”
What does Benator think about the Boy Scouts of America’s ruling to expand its reach to girls? “It’s unethical. The only reason the Boy Scout movement is encouraging girls to join is because they’ve lost a lot of boys. Enrollment has dropped off. It is a detriment to the girls’ organization that will undercut their enrollment,” he said. “They should stand up (to the BSA) on this very poor decision.”
The BSA has reported that only 5 percent of Boy Scouts earn the Eagle Badge, and the Girl Scouts already have their equivalent, the Gold Award, Benator said.