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Someday soon, all families may once again associate Scouting with good character

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  • #16
    TT, I would hope parents searching for a troop join the troop where they trust the leaders the most, the one in which they have the most confidence

    Just had a substitute teacher just get arrested for sexually assualting a 7 year old boy. He was married, 2 kids and a "nice guy"

    How do you know who will be a pediphile? I don't know. Be sure you are quick to show how you use 2 deep leadership, buddy system and all other risk management techniques

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    • #17
      Terry,

      Thank you for this site. I rarely acknowlege the I&P section and try to ignore the "gay" arguments. Most seem to be like the witch trials of the 1600's.

      Someday....maybe...

      My $0.02
      Rick

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      • #18
        Thank You Terry, for this sight as well as your well reasoned insight.

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        • #19
          Thank You Terry, for this sight as well as your well reasoned insight.

          Ha ha.

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          • #20
            Kudos! Very nice Terry, I applaud you.

            Abel

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            • #21
              I found this site years ago when my now 14 year old Life Scout was just a Wolf Cub and I was a new Den leader. It was a great resource to me during those early years. I came here when I was tapped to run Cub/Webelos Resident Camp, looking for ideas on the best features of a camp, and implemented so of those ideas at our own Council camp. Now, as a Scoutmaster, I still drop by from time to time. I have gleaned lots from great contributors and some of you lifetime Scouters. So, Terry, I, too, appreciate the repository of material and wisdom that can be found here.

              Today I came specifically to read what some who frequent these boards had to say on the recent press release from the BSA,though this is a subject area I have very specifically avoided on these boards as I try not to immerse myself in the debate. Having been around as long as I have, including various volunteer positions at the Council level I agree with the sentiment that this would never have been made public if it hadn't already been hashed out in the back rooms and is simply awaiting the formality of the vote.

              As I read your original post, Terry, there is one statement that stood out to me and shows, IMO, your true feelings of those of my ilk:

              "Years ago I had the chance to meet one of our moderators face to face, and I shared with him my most basic observation about how this debate (and opinion) played out on SCOUTER.com: the more we allowed the most ardent supporters of the BSA's anti-gay position to speak, the more likely it was for people without a strong opinion on this matter to be repelled by that point of view."

              There is simply no respect for the opposing view in that statement. I realize you don't state your own feeling specifically in that statement, but when taken with the whole of your post I took it really as pretty condescending to those who support the current and long-standing BSA policy.

              To those who believe this will have little effect you are dead wrong. Perhaps not on either coast, or perhaps the large metro areas, but it certainly will in the heartland. As a parent and as a leader this is weighing very heavy on my heart. It will be just as I predicted to a friend of mine this morning - it will be Conservatives like myself and my family who will become targets of intolerance and ridicule. And that will come at the hands of those hollering for this to become the new policy as they demand tolerance. (I won't go in to the whole conversation that to be tolerant does not mean one must embrace or agree. Perhaps another time.)

              I do not know what we will do yet. We will wait for National to make their official announcement. I have already had contact with our Charter Organization so they can be prepared to determine their position - it is, after all, their troop. Then my husband and I, through a whole lot of prayer, will determine what our actions will or won't be. I can tell you, as a Scout leader and a Christian, that one part of me fully embraces those of differing lifestyles as I believe Christ died for all men and there is no hope of His light shining if we are not willing to carry it. For me the dilemma comes in camping, honestly. That provides the most intimate and vulnerable for all boys, including my own. Well, I guess there is another really major area - who my son gets his moral training from. yes, he gets that from home and church, but that is also a big part of Scouts, and I am just not sure we are willing to set him in front of someone who diametrically opposes our understanding of the Bible to be his mentor on moral applications.

              I am not even really sure why I feel compelled to share any of this, other than this place is one of the places where I have always seemed to turn when trying to find the right way to do this Scouting thing.

              My heart is so very heavy this morning. :-(

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              • #22
                I could see a non-religious unit, getting some pressure to be open to the whole community.

                But, I disagree that there will be pressure for a church to change (at least from outside groups).. The reason churches have changed their views in the past is from pressure from their own members, that will continue to be the case.

                I have yet to hear a news story about the outrage that a church will not marry a homosexual couple. I heard one recently about a church that welcomed in afro-American people as church members, but then when the couple wanted to marry, the congregation refused to allow them to use their church due to their race.. Even the minister/reverend what-ever was taken back about the churches position.. So, yeah.. Perhaps 50 years from now, when the culture changes through a few more generations, there may be pushback.. But, unless you are very young now, chances are, you wont be a Scouter and need to worry about it.

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                • #23
                  Terry:

                  I found this site when looking for ideas about running my Troop - and it still serves that purpose well. I regularly get great ideas, links and directions from the postings of others.

                  As to the I&P forum - having a public place to speak your mind helps. We do NOT want to the issue to be hidden, but rather to be debated. Let people declare that their unit and CO will hold one position, and others will hold another. I think that this is great step forward, and the market will decide over time.

                  In the meantime, one more distraction is gone from running a great program and we can take the debate back to whether 300' is possible with a wilderness permit in the mountains of Southern California.

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                  • #24
                    I've used this forum to help me learn how to be a better scoutmaster and I appreciate it. The changes mentioned, if they happen the way everyone is guessing, might be one I need help with. I've never worried about gays before. I don't think sex of any variety or level is appropriate in a troop. It just has never been very related to motivating scouts to be better patrol leaders or take on a challenge. So things are fine now.

                    This might change next week or next month and I'd like to be prepared. The problem that I see is how to have a civil discussion about this issue and make any changes needed with the least impact on the scouts. The passion shown on this website is just an example of what many troops will have to deal with. I'm sure there are troops where the decision has already been made one way or another and I wish mine was one of them, but I don't think that's my troop. We have the full spectrum of feelings about this. I can see the parents coming up to the CC and me and turning this into a huge argument if they don't hear exactly what they want to hear. Helicopter parents are bad enough.

                    The bottom line for me has always been the scouts. How do I keep it that way?

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                    • #25
                      Terry: A very well thought-out and well written article. I agree with you entirely and particularly when it comes to the issue of gay youth members. Growing up gay or figuring out whether you are gay is an extremely difficult thing for kids, especially boys. To be part of an organization that tells you that you'd be kicked out if they knew is a supreme insult.

                      Obviously, there will be many people who will be unhappy enough to leave the BSA. But many have left us, stopped supporting Scouting financially and even returned their Eagle badges because they saw it as unfair. I think in the long run having this issue behind us will leave us a better, stronger organization.

                      Seeing homosexuality as some kind of evil is a religious thing. Scouting does not take sides on religion. If personal religious views really, truly prevent your being part of an organization that admits gays, then that's how it is.

                      Like you and others, I have kept my own counsel on this until now, but we who feel as you do and I do must speak out.

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                      • #26
                        MattR, I suspect there will be many more, as you call them, helicopter parents. I don't mind every scout having a parent along if they like, so if that's what it takes for people to feel comfortable, more power to them. There are plenty of ways to keep adults busy and out of the way of the boys.

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                        • #27
                          MomToEli, if your unit and the charter organization remain free to set your own membership requirements any way you feel is best, what is the problem? Please explain.

                          How is it somehow wrong or harmful for other units and their charter organizations to enjoy that same freedom?

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                          • #28
                            Would appreciate some guidance to my previous post. I'm already getting calls from the local paper.

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                            • #29
                              MattR, strange the paper is calling you and not your council. I would suggest you break your question out on it's own thread. I think it is a good, sincere wish to get help, which is neither pro or con the policy change, just a question of what are some good ideas as to how to handle it with your scouts and parents.. It may be lost in the issues and politics thread..

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                              • #30
                                MattR's comment got me thinking about how this might play out in my unit. I think the thing to remember is that matters of "membership policy" are not really up to the parents or uniformed leaders or even the troop committee. They are up to the chartered organization. In my case, the CO is a church but it is not a church that has (as far as I know) taken a clear nationwide position on the subject. It also is my understanding (though I am not a member of the church and not an expert on how it is governed) that decisions are made on a congregational level and that there is no hierarchy that would be dictating the church's decision. I have a guess as to what the church would say it wants to policy to be, but that is based on some conversations that have been reported to me second-hand from around the time of the Dale decision, while my son was still a Cub Scout, so I was not yet involved in the troop. So it's not really much to go on.

                                I'm also not sure how the BSA intends to deal with the CO's on this issue, assuming the change is made. To my knowledge, this policy has never been the subject of any direct communications between the council/district and the church, and I don't know whether there is any plan to do so now. So, who approaches who about this? As a troop committee member, I don't really see the need to initiate anything. Also, keep in mind that in order for the issue to even come up, someone has to apply for a leadership position WHO WOULD OTHERWISE BE ACCEPTABLE AS A LEADER, and who also happens to be openly gay. If the person would not otherwise be acceptable as a leader, it doesn't even become an issue. Most of our new leaders are parents of Scouts in the troop, so other people know them, are their neighbors, have worked with them in Cub Scouts and/or sports teams or whatever, so it's not a matter of someone appearing on our doorstep who nobody knows, and saying "I want to be a leader" and maybe now adding "and by the way I am openly gay." (My general attitude about someone showing up out of the blue generally goes back to something I remember from the old YP training video, if a potential new leader seems too good to be true, they probably are.)

                                Of course it is possible that one of the parents might "come out" as gay, and I know this does happen sometimes, but I've never seen it and I don't think it happens very often. The other possibility is a Scout who ages out of the troop and becomes an Assistant Scoutmaster. In the case of James Dale, after turning 18 he went to college, but I believe he still lived at home (or if he was living at school, it was within a half-hour or so of home), so either way he was still involved in the troop. While at college, he "came out", he spoke at a seminar that was covered in the newspaper, and the rest is history. So this is probably the most likely way for the issue to come up, but I am not aware of any of the past or present ASM's in our troop being gay. Of course, if they didn't tell anybody, I wouldn't know. I generally don't figure those sorts of things out on my own. If it did happen, I suppose we would have to ask the CO, unless the CO told us what their policy was a ahead of time.

                                So I guess what I am saying to MattR, or anybody else, it's not really something that needs to be debated among the parents. It's up to the CO. Of course, if your CO is completely "in name only" and signs whatever they are asked to sign, and asks no questions, and cannot be persuaded to take more of an active role, I am not sure what you would do then. My son's old pack is chartered to a parent-teacher organization that is basically "in name only", with the twist that there is almost always an overlap between the executive board of the CO and the parents in the pack, and usually some of the leaders as well. So in that case, in some sense it actually will be up to the parents, or some of them.

                                It's probably going to play out a little differently with each CO, except for those who simply say "No" as soon as national announces the change in policy.

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