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Bob Russell

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Posts posted by Bob Russell

  1. I have not posted on this board for quite some time, but I guess it's time to come back. I'm glad to see so many familiar names, and so many new ones. My occasional view of postings has showed a continued civility not seen elsewhere.


    In reading CubScouterFather's posts, I recalled participating in these discussions several years ago, and once I reviewed this topic, I realized it was this very same topic heading. Phil, if you have not read the entire topic, please go to page 2 of this topic, and you will see that I raised your situation, that of scout parents who are gay/lesbian. My view was supported by others then, and I believe that it is the position of many scout leaders and scout units today. Gay/lesbian parents are welcome in many units, and gay/lesbian parents are and will be serving in leadership positions, so long as they are there for the right reason - our sons and their scouting experience. The question of what an "avowed" homosexual is is a tough question, and I believe that BSA has left it vague so that different units can discreetly make their own decisions. Unless I have missed something, BSA has never defined "avowed." In your case, you and your partner are known, but I have taken the position that I will not ask parents about their private sexual activities, whether male/female, male/male or female/female. (So far I have not had a 2 dad or 2 mom family). Short of public pronouncements by the parents, I do not believe that any couple's sexuality is avowed, and will act accordingly. If BSA tells me my understanding is incorrect, I will act according to policy (that was my CYA clause).


    Phil, I hope that your son does participate in scouting, and that you also participate, at least at the parent level. However, in reading your posts, I have mixed feelings as to whether you are acting solely as a parent or as an activist. I leave my views on this issue totally out of our troop activities, and especially in discussions with our scouts. If you do likewise, I believe that, with the right pack and later troop, both your son and you can have a successful and rewarding experience in scouting.

  2. Check with your local outdoor equipment stores. They will often have lists of local individuals who do good work at a fair price. We have used the same woman for many years and get great service. we got her name from our local REI store. If you give us your location, someone here may have a local reference for you.

  3. Your first step should be to keep any more funds from disappearing. All checks should be collected immediately and the signature card changed to remove the treasurer's authority. If this cannot be done immediately, someone authorized to sign checks should remove the remaining funds from the account and open a new account. All bank records should be reviewed, if they can be obtained from the teasurer, and if not, order copies from the bank. After they are reviewed, I suggest a meeting with the treasurer and Pack representatives. If she just got in over her head, even financially, she may be willing to repay the Pack, even if it takes a repayment plan.


    If it can't be resolved, you have legal recourse, both civil and criminal. Small claims court does not require an attorney, and costs are generally small, and recovered if you prevail. Two things to consider - do you have good records and a person who will present your case well? More important, if you win a judgment, can it be collected? A judgment is a piece of paper. If she has no assets, such as regular paychecks or bank accounts with sufficient funds, you may be throwing good money after bad. Your other alternative is criminal proceedings. If your records are good, I believe that a DA or the police will take your case seriously, since stealing from a youth group will offend most people. The advantage of criminal prosecution is the authorities handle it, and can lead to you getting your money back. The defendant can resolve the matter with a civil compromise, where the defendant pays the injured party and charges are dropped. The threat of a criminal record often leads to such a settlement where a threat of a civil suit does not. If not compromised, a guilty plea or a verdict of guilt will lead to sentencing, which can include a restitution order. Merely the threat of criminal prosecution, with the obvious embarresment, will result in resolution prior to charges being filed. Just be sure that the charges are well founded. To bring charges without solid cause is wrong, both legally and especially morally.

  4. Yaworski: "So what you are telling me is that you have no courage in your convictions. You want your real opinions to be unattributable to you so no one knows what you really think. Sound like you embody the principle of "a Scout is Brave."


    I haven't been posting much lately, but your comment here needs a comment. You jump on NJCubScouter for not using his real name, instead following a time-honored tradition of using an Internet nickname. Yet his member profile will identify him pretty well to those in his district, so he is clearly not hiding his identity. Unlike you, of course, Mr. "a scout is Brave." I don't see much bravery on your part. Let's see a full name and full information in your member profile, such as your district, council, and scout duties. And maybe the women in your district will then know how you consider them and rate them.


    BTW, I use my real name, and my profile is detailed. Not bravery at all, but I find that by being open, I take care as to what I post, because anyone, including the scouts that I serve, may read what I say.

  5. Living in Oregon, we will naturally be right in the middle of some of the celebration. We have talked some of canoeing a portion of the Columbia River west of Portland to Astoria at the mouth of the river. This will correspond to the L&C route down the river. Since this is late in their journey, in 1805, we have several years to match up with the 200 year celebration here. We did the same stretch of the river several years ago, so we have a head start on the planning. If any troop would like to join us, or merely needs help in planning and information sharing, let me know.

  6. We returned last weekend from Camp Cooper in the Oregon Coast Range. Eleven scouts and two adults, the scouts each earned several merit badges and the younger scouts progressed well in their rank advancement. Each patrol earned Honor Patrol (2 of 4 in the entire camp) and the troop earned Honor Troop (1 of 2 for the week). The staff was the best I have seen in our council, enthusiastic, helpful, often visited the campsites. The staff was extremely respectful at flag each day, and I suggested to our scouts that they watch the staff as to how to act at flag. Dining hall was overfull, but the staff did great at dealing with it. Coldest lake in our council, yet a number of scouts completed Lifesaving and Swimming MB. We go to a different camp each year, so now the scouts need to make the decision for next year. Luckily, we have a number of great camps to choose from.

  7. Although I voted for rectangle and man made fibers, I don't actually own one like that. I bought my rectangular down bag 25+ years ago from REI when I was a college student in Michigan, and the cold winters justified down. Now in Oregon, where it often seems like it is 33 degrees and wet, it is not ideal, but everyone who knows me knows that I am cheap and do not quickly (25+ years?) change what I use. :) After one of our snow cave outings on Mt. Ranier, with a wet down bag, I did buy a very nice -20 Polarguard mummy bag from REI. But only for winter camping.

  8. OGE, allow me to be the first here to congratulate you and Mrs. OGE on 25 years. I think your scouts will understand if you miss a few days of summer camp this year.


    My wife and I celebrate our 25th also this year. Since I missed our 20th and 23rd while away on scout canoe trips, she laid down the law and said no canoe trip on our 25th. Our canoe trip this year departs 2 days after our anniversary. Our troop is very accomodating. :)


    Rooster, you are quite right when you honor our spouses who let us go off with our scouts. No doubt because all of our families know the value of what scouting brings to our young men.

  9. I found this article on the situation on the NY Times website:

    MANHATTAN: SCOUT LEADER ADMITS MOLESTING BOY A former Boy Scout troop leader charged with molesting a boy in his troop on a regular basis in 1996 and 1997 pleaded guilty yesterday to four counts of third-degree sodomy and will be sentenced this summer. Prosecutors recommended a sentence of two years and eight months to eight years for the former scout leader, Jerrold Schwartz. He admitted yesterday in State Supreme Court that he had engaged in sexual intercourse on numerous occasions with the boy in his office at East 80th Street and First Avenue. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/08/nyregion/08MBRF.html


    As I suspected when I first read Rooster's cited article, the abuse took place away from a scouting environment, not at a campout or a troop meeting. Our youth protection policies will not work if the scoutmaster intends to abuse and he can get the scout away from the scouting environment. Other members of the troop cannot stop this, if they do not know it is happening. As members of a troop, we can monitor what we see when we are present. Probably only the scout and the scout's family were aware of the meetings at the scoutmaster's office, and only they could have kept the meetings from happening. This is why for rank advancement in Cub and Boy Scouting, the youth protection materials in the front of the handbooks are to be reviewed by the scout and his family. The family must sign on to the importance of youth protection.

  10. Rooster, you didn't comment on a part of the story that is equally disturbing - he will be free until August, in Colorado, where he owns a tour bus company that caters to scouting trips, to "attend to his affairs." I assume that his affairs include either winding down the business, or possibly meeting the business' obligations! I hope that there is more to this, and strict rules are imposed to keep him from any involvement with the scouting outings.

  11. I have stayed out of these conversations for a while, but recent comments bring to mind an issue that has not yet been discussed - the sharing of sleeping quarters, whether tents or otherwise. As you all surely know, I am in favor of the local option approach. However, if we get to the point where openly gay scouts are in a troop, how do we handle tent arrangements on outings? First, consider Venturing, which I am pretty sure does not allow male and females to share a tent. The reason must be because of possible sexual attraction. Parents of young people would, or should, object to teens of opposite sex sharing a tent on an outing. If this is a legitimate issue, how do we then handle two gay scouts who want to share a tent? If we allow two gay scouts to share a tent, when they may be sexually attracted to each other, how can we refuse to allow a boy and girl to share a tent? I pose these questions, and I don't claim to have an answer, because with a policy change, even one I support, we will have new issues to deal with. I suspect that if we go to local option, how we handle an issue such as tent sharing will still get BSA a lot of flack, no matter how it is handled.

  12. Julia, I'm going to jump in here and back up Rooster on your comment about beating up lesbians. This is obviously a reference to the tragic Matthew Sheppard situation. As many may know, he was brutally beaten and left to die, and one of his assailants happened to be an Eagle Scout. Your implication is that BSA's policy caused the assailant to want to kill gays, or that Boy Scouts approve of this act. I find that implication offensive. It may be that his scouting experience did not do enough to make this young man the type of person we hope scouting helps develop, but scouting did not create this monster. I find your cheap comment particularly troubling because the remainder of your post is well thought out.


    Since I've now jumped in here, I will add a few comments to this discussion. My family is also involved with Girl Scouts. My daughter is very active, and my wife is an active adult leader of her troop. I am also a registered leader, however, because of my Boy Scout involvement, I only help out if they are desperate for another leader on an outing. I would urge every parent with a daughter to at least consider Girl Scouts. Just as with Boy Scouts, each Girl Scout troop is unique, and I would bet that with a little looking, and parental involvement, which everyone here would no doubt give, a very satisfactory Girl Scout experience will be found for your daughter.

  13. The disgraceful situation the Catholic Church has put itself in is one the Boy Scouts long ago wisely avoided. Our two-deep leadership requirement, when followed religiously (pun intended) will not allow this disgrace from happening to us. Priests, just like scoutmasters, are role models who parents want and need to trust. This crisis shows that evil can lurk even in those that the public trusts. I am Catholic, and my family is a regular church-attending family, and it pains me to see this disgrace occurring. The evil committed by the priests is bad enough, but the coverups and denials are even worse. As much as it hurts, I look forward to the criminal and civil court proceedings which will serve to flush out this evil.

  14. Bob, you seem to be looking at it as an either/or proposition. Neither Rooster nor I are saying that a good national advertising program solves all the problems of the world. A good ad program by national may help to get more kids to consider scouting - then it is up to us to make sure the actual troop and district programs keep them there. The 50% loss rate you refer to is certainly a local unit issue. But getting more kids in the door to look at the local program is also needed. And as you say, we then have to have the good program so we don't lose 50% of a bigger number of kids. We locally could not do an advertising campaign as well as national can, just as national can't run our troops, we do. Lets each do what we do best.

  15. I agree completely with Rooster and his comments on marketing the program that scouting offers. Commercials and ads in youth oriented magazines showing the adventurous activities that are available in so many of our units, and realistically available nowhere else, could entice some boys to at least look into Scouting. Also, how about some commercials with "heroes" of today's youth, such as athletes who were in scouting, talking about what it meant to them. I try to give examples of Eagle scouts, but all I ever come up with are Gerald Ford and Neil Armstrong. This means nothing to youth today. I have also used Steven Spielberg and Albert Belle (believe it or not!). There have to be many more out there that may be willing to help scouting out on a PR basis. Once we can convince more youth that scouting is at least worth looking at, our programs should be able to get them and keep them.

  16. I have found a great deal of overemphasis of sports as of late. My younger son, a 7th grader, plays fall soccer, winter basketball, and now spring track. With each sport, we balance sports and scouting. Many of his teammates seem to do nothing but sports, several in a season. I guess they and their parents believe that a well-rounded son is one who can balance several sports at once. I believe that sports are great for kids, but they simply do not provide all of the experiences and skills that people need. While sports generally do require teamwork, a noble goal, they do not often develop leadership. Everyone talks of the athlete who is a leader, but few are and the sport does not develop it. Sports generally require the child athlete to follow adult instruction to the letter. Don't listen to the coach, you are off the team, or at least sitting on the bench. As we all know, scouting involves each scout learning to be a leader, with the adults staying out of the way as much as possible. A mix of sports and scouting allows the development of a much more well-rounded young man (or young woman if we are talking Girl Scouts or Venturing).

  17. Ed, you stated: "If I choose to exercise my 1st Amendment right of free speech about a BSA policy I don't agree with in public, the BSA can't - I repeat - can't remove me from it's membership. They can't exercise their 1st Amendment to exclude certain lifestyles then punish me for exercising my 1st Amendment rights."

    This is an incorrect interpretation of the Bill of Rights. It is common for people to claim 1st Amendment protection in private situations, but it doesn't hold up. The Bill of Rights protects us from government interference only. BSA uses the right of association, which by the way is not specifically set forth in the Bill of Rights, to protect it from government regulation on membership. It cannot use the same right of association to demand that the United Way, a private organization, fund it regardless of its membership choices. The same with free speech, I can stand on public property in front of the White House and yell "the President is a fool, jerk, (add your favorite adjective here)" and have the right to do so. If I do the same in a private workplace referring to the company president, I may soon have a new boss somewhere else.


    Sctmom, You commented: "According to your rules, if I wear a shirt with the competitor's name to work, I can be fired for that. What if my spouse works for the competitor? I've heard of people being "asked" not to wear the shirt from the competitor, but not fire over it." Assuming no union protection and an employment at will state, yes, the employee can be fired. If there is protection for the employee, it is not the Bill of Rights.

  18. NJ and tj, you know that I agree with you on the issue of gays in scouting. BSA has taken the position that homosexuality is immoral, and I disagree, as do you. However, I do not believe that this policy is in conflict with BSAs principles on religion. I will give several examples. Although many religions do not label homosexuality as immoral, neither do they label females as second class individuals. Yet we do not allow girls in Cub and Boy Scouting. Is this a violation of religious principals? In some Moslem countries, men can have multiple wives. If a scout leader was a bigamist, would we have to allow him to remain if he was Moslem? And if his marriages took place in a country where it was legal?

  19. Last summer we ran an independent camp rather that attend a regular summer camp. A number of our scouts had completed their junior year in high school and they had attended every camp in the area at least once. This allowed them a new experience for their final summer camp. We camped for a week on an island in the Columbia River, and emphasized boating activities. We had canoes, motorboats and a number of sailboats, from small to large and a Hobie Cat. Merit badges were the boating MBs, plus camping, wilderness survival, etc. The boys earned fewer badges than at a regular summer camp, but those they earned gave them experiences at a much higher level than at summer camp. Motor boating on the Columbia River is an entirely different experience from a twelve-foot, 3 hp on a small lake. The same with sail boats on the Columbia, when the winds come up. We plan on repeating this type of activity in a few years, to give the next group of scouts the same experience. Another plus is that many more adults want to attend. Because parents had all the boats, and the island is free, the cost was probably half a regular summer camp.


    This camp was in addition to our other summer events, such as a backpack trip on the Oregon Coast Trail, whitewater rafting, etc.

  20. I was down to our council office today and picked up a copy of the brochure for "The Oregon Trail Hike (Established 1843)." I have not hiked any of it, so I have no first hand knowledge of the trails, although I have played tourist near some of the trails. The brochure gives general information on the route, and award information. The Oregon Trail Hike awards have been approved by our Cascade Pacific Council, and include a patch and bronze, silver and gold medals. The brochure has a contact person, who will send more detailed info upon request. If you would like a copy of the brochure, contact me and I can get you a copy. It's not online that I can find, so it will have to go by mail. You can email me at rarussatty@aol.com.

  21. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/22/nyregion/22BIG.html (Link requires registration - free)


    This column in the New York Times, of all places, centers on the Catholic Church's problems with a number of the Church's priests. The article makes a distinction, which the press often does not, between pedophilia and the more common problem of priests involved in sex with teenagers. The column ends with the following:


    "The issue of gay priests is very sensitive, and not just for the Catholic Church," Dr. Jenkins said. "It bears on controversies like allowing gay men in the Boy Scouts. I'm sure that most gay scoutmasters would be responsible, and I don't know that gay men are any more likely than heterosexual men to have sex with teenagers. But the experience of the Catholic Church suggests there will be problems if you send gay scoutmasters on camping trips with teenage boys."


    I post this not to say that I have converted from my earlier posted views, which I have not. Sorry Rooster, we still don't agree here. :) But for those of you who may recall my first posts, they centered on an issue of what to do when a troop gets a scout with two moms or dads. I stated that my position would be to look at the motivation of particular adult who may be homosexual. Instead of a blanket denial of participation, I would look at a homosexual adult wanting to be a Scouter in the same way that I would look at any adult - why do they want to be involved? If they have a son in the troop, the motivation seems pretty clear, or at least as clear as any other parent. However, if for example a 23 year old gay man, with no previous scout experience, wanted to be involved, I would wonder why the interest. The same would be true if a 23 year old heterosexual man wanted to sign up as a Girl Scout leader, with no apparent connection to Girl Scouts. And in each case I would understand and expect that parents of the boy or girl scouts would be at least concerned.

  22. Ed and Bob, you are going back and forth about what is legal. I understand the reason for this discussion, but I think you may want to go beyond the pure legality under BSA rules. If a scout is clueless as to an item covered by the merit badge, I would think that this is a good opportunity to discuss, privately so as to not embarrass the scout, what it means to EARN a merit badge and remind the scout of the Scout Law, especially that a scout is trustworthy. Ultimately, if the scout resists and claims that he did complete the badge, and is just having a mental block, etc., the BSA rules do entitle him to the merit badge. If the scoutmaster has a good relationship with the scout, I think most scouts will acknowledge if they have shortcut the requirements and agree to correct the situation.

  23. I have avoided this thread, but I feel compelled to comment on Weekender's comment: "I also doubt that either of you truly care about scouting but that you are simply here to promote your own perverse lifestyle."

    Also: "I don't understand why we keep talking to these two...we know what they are!!!"


    Oh, enlighten us Weekender, don't beat around the bush! And since I have agreed with NJ on the other threads, do you also know what I am?


    Scouters can disagree with you and still "truly care about scouting." A number of councils have petitioned for a change in this policy. Weekender, is it your position that these councils do not care about scouting?


    This in the same post where Weekender discusses personal attacks! I can only read this comment to be an assertion that tj and NJ are gay, and they are only here to push a gay agenda. There is no basis for this labeling, and it does not serve any debate. Weekender's comment can only be labeled an attack on the person, an attack that Rooster just condemned. In fact Rooster just posted the following: "Time and time again, they prefer to attack the person than address the question. They rather make inferences about a person's character than state facts." Seems like this is a perfect description of Weekender's last post. I am curious, Rooster, do you also condemn Weekender's attack on NJ and tj, or is an attack by someone who agrees with you OK?


    To quote Mike Long: "I am simply disgusted."

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