To those men and boys who were boy scouts, with dreams of adventures and learning outdoor skills, not only in the forest, but in our communities where we live, and who felt pride in the uniform, trying to earn as many patches and merit badges as your knowledge grew.
Learning the meaning of our flags that whip around in the wind over our heads, the nobility and honor that is instilled in us all, as the straight lines of our formations march down the avenues, where are friends and families wave and yell out our names as you try to maintain discipline in a parade assembly, marching band somewhere behind us, military drill team rifles spinning in the air, being part of this huge thing, and the places it takes us were incredible experiences for me.
I felt proud to show my family and the world that I belonged to this army of boys, preparing for the future with the correct attitude and skills, to be a contributor to life. When people see a scout in uniform, they have a positive attitude for that young man, because the BSA is supposed to be about turning boys into good men. But within the scary stories around the campfire, real monsters lurk, preying on the innocent, they smile with familiar faces, those you respected and learned from, who you opened up to about guy stuff, someone you trusted, an important leader in your troop and community.
My monster wore glasses, kind of nerdy, but real smart, especially when it came to talking you into things that were unfamiliar and taboo, just unnatural in everything you were ever taught by your parents and
people who genuinely care about you. I was promised things and positions in my troop, so this monster in a scout uniform, can feed on my not yet understood sexuality. In my young eyes, this man was a person of power, sash full of badges, medals on his chest, ran a troop in a rough area of Brooklyn NY, possessed every skill in the book, and just like that, made a 10yr old kid the troop quartermaster, so I won't tell what happened between us. This monster amongst boys, fed on my soul twice, draining my essence, and causing great confusion and sadness in my heart, so I hung up my uniform in my closet and never wore it again. I was a life scout, and earned over 30 merit badges, sold hundreds of boxes of cookies and candy bars, had a special uniform just
for parades, stiff with starch from my mom's ironing, I was also near straight A's student in school, a good friend, brother and son.
Once away from the scouts, thinking that I was out of reach from this boy eating monster, my attitude suffered, because of bad dreams and confused thoughts, I didn't know how to cope, and became angry, hostile, unreasonable and I didn't care for school much, and I didn't trust adults anymore.
My name is Raymond, I am 59yrs old now, I'm no longer as angry as I use to be, because I accepted this heavy burden as part of my life, my secret, my shame. I am ashamed of this experience, it still hurts my
heart and brings me to tears on my weak days. All I wanted was to be a boy scout and go on adventures in those days, it was supposed to be happy times for a growing boy, a passage to manhood, being a real American boy scout, capable, honest and good was important to me.
Instead I turned in to a real wild child, full of anger that I didn't really understand where it came from for many years.
I have grown into a large man, 6'-3" 300lbs. I'm an ex power lifter in strength training, also trained in mixed martial arts, was a tough guy in my younger days in the streets of Brooklyn NY. And I would love to confront the evil monster that still haunts me to this day, but that wouldn't turn out so good for either of us.
Then one day I saw an ad on TV, of this law firm (AVA Law Group Inc.), preparing for battle and willing to take the fight into the monsters lair. I couldn't believe it, I was stunned and nervous all at once. Can these courageous attorneys fight and defeat the demons that caused so much pain in my life? It was like AVA Law Group was reaching out to me. This is the only opportunity that ever has presented itself in my life, that has the potential for some kind of justice, finally!!! I made contact and with an open mind and much embarrassment in talking about my experience to someone for the first time, I retained AVA Law Group to represent me. I have corresponded with several attorney's from AVA Law Group, and I was treated with respect, all things are confidential and they seem to genuinely care, and for the first time in my life, I have help carrying the heavy burden that threatens to crush me every day, thank you AVA Law Group.
Don't carry your burden alone, there is help. Continuing to hide behind our shame and embarrassment, encourages us to remain silent, and that allows our monsters to feel safe and continue to feed on our future and the boys who want to go camping, earn and wear the sash of the order of the arrow, and learn about honor and become our heroes, when they grow up.
Come forward, not ashamed, you have done nothing wrong, and you are not alone. Unfortunately, we may be many in numbers, but we still are an army of boys in our hearts, but now we are men and it's time to do what any boy scout would do in a difficult time, and that's the right thing.
To those willing to come forward, I give you our 3 finger salute, we cheer and respect your courage, and to those that hesitate, please reach out your hand and grab onto mine, we will help you carry your burden,
we are forever bonded in our brotherhood as scouts. I can't tell you the meaning of justice for us, not yet, but there are a lot of young boys out there who want to be a boy scout, just like us, they need protection and safe places and important rules in place to ensure positive experiences, to bring back the honor and values to our scouts, this is our duty, our mission to our brotherhood.
I leave you with respect and honor, and an outreached hand to encourage you to share your experience and what troubles you. There is help for us and we need to help set standards for those who come after us.
"On my honor, I will do my best to do my duties"
The first sentence in the scouts motto.