For political reasons I don't fully understand, membership in the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts has gone way down in the last few years. I am 12 years old and a Boy Scout, and I would like to let people know what they are missing.

In scouting, I have learned many new things and techniques, such as wilderness survival, knife safety, how to start a fire, cooking and the importance of citizenship. I have also done many fun things, such as snow tubing, archery and even staying overnight on a battleship.

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With friends I've made in scouting, I've had some of the best times of my life camping, biking and fishing. I think it's sad that, because of political reasons, there are boys who are missing out on this wonderful experience.

Jacob Belyea, Port Jefferson Station

Editor's note: The writer is a tenderfoot with Boy Scout Troop 362.