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When will National realize this *IS* affecting membership

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1. As far as I know we have never had chartering organisations. Someone with a better knowledge of UK scouting may be able to tell you different but as far as I know, with the exception of a very small number of closed groups (normally attached to boarding schools) no one has anequivalent of a charter.


This may be a cultural issue. Where groups meet varies. My group is lucky in that we have our own HQ built on land that we lease from our County Council. Others use school halls or, most commonly, church halls. What happens though is that churchs are generally happy to rent halls out to anyone, for them to refuse to rent a room you would have to literally be into devil worship, seriously, they are that relaxed about it. Perhaps schools and churches in the USA are very different to ours.


It sounds like it would take a massive change to drop chartering organisations.


2. We have quite a complex system of governance. Groups have volunteer execs but they are mostly focused on fund raising, leader recruitment and looking after buildings and equipment. Above that at district level we have a system of a District Commissioner, who's word is law, they are supported by Assistant DCs for Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers. When we do anything adventurous we have to tell them. eg if I organise a camp I have to tell the DC where we are gfoing, how many kids, how many leaders, what we are doing etc. She can grill me on anything to do with it and, ultimately can instruct me to cancel it (it has never happened to me, it's happened to others). She or an ADC can turn up to any group at any time and check what is going on. There are similar structures at county, regional and national level (at regional and national level they are full time (badly) paid employees of the scout association)

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The outside perception all come down to a couple of things. Most people see the BSA as camping, knot tying and merit badges and that they discriminate against homosexuals.


To outsiders, there's no mission, Aims or Methods, and as such there's just a lack of communication in general. It's a public relations nightmare that the BSA doesn't know how to handle, and it's costing them come recruiting time. It is resulting in loss or reduced access to schools for meetings and recruiting, and you take a big hit when it affects recruiting. When you can hit up schools, you are having an opportunity to get in front of close to 100% of your target audience. If you are limited to recruiting elsewhere, that number goes much lower.


As for this specific hot-button issue, what happens when religious values and good citizenship are in conflict? I don't have an issue if a CO were to choose one way or another on this issue, but the BSA taking a stance like this makes them much more than just a provider of program materials.


Not to get preachy, but there's only one thing in the bible regarding homosexuality that is considered an abhorance, and that shouldn't be going on in front of kids anyway. Neither should the heterosexual non-abhorant version.

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As you say, some places may continue to allow the BSA to meet at their place, and/or allow them to keep their money/equipment.. But since the Charter Organization owns the units it would be their choice. If they allow them to rent, then they may again have a space, but with added expense of the rent.. Which if they lost their funds & equipment would be added to their burden of not being able to meet it to stay alive..


We once had a thread on someones CO asking their units to pay rent, the unanimous opinion was that this was ludicrus as it means that they are asking themselves to pay rent to themselves, and the charter states part of their obligation to being a sponsor is to "Provide adequate and secure facilities for Scouting units to meet on a regular schedule with time and place reserved. "



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Sorry, this is entirely inaccurate in my experience as a district membership chair doing MANY recruiting nights over the past seven years.



There is a small minority of mostly liberal white Democrats who care about the homosexual issue. That's about it.


The portion of the population where Scouting programs have the GREATEST penetration is white middle and upper middle income families. Units in these demographic areas may get some pushback from white liberal Democrats, but that comes while boys are flooding in to these units, swamping out the noisy minority as a rule.


The real issue for BSA membership is penetrating the ranks of the rapidly growing Haspanic, Asian and other immigrant minority communities. They are the ones with little or no experience or familiarity with Scouting. They also generally don't care a fig about homosexuals, except ( I expect) that they don't want homosexuals as unit leaders providing role models for their children.


Similar problems recruiting African Americans.


In my opinion and experience, the homosexual issue is trivial as far as parents and families are concerned as a practical matter. The only area it has a degree of seriousness is the efforts of educated liberal Democratic elites to actively undermine BSA in schools and community organizations. Mostly that's ineffective if local BSA leaders are paying attention and countering this kind of political campaigning.


In my view, it's up to the BSA to decide for itself the morality of homosexcual participation in Scouting. Permitting homosexual participation would be a likely net negative, since most parents aren't going to be attracted to having avowed homosexuals as unit leaders. But if BSA decides that is morally the right thing to do, then I expect they will change the statements of values and take the membership hit that might cause to occur.


But in my view, BSA needn't feel pressured by the mostly ineffective political campaign being waged against it by liberal white Democratic political groups. The result of that is mostly trivial and of little consequence. Often they make themselves look silly by carrying on hate campaigns against Scouting.


Besides, feeding the vanities of liberal groups by modifying policies on homosexuals will just cause them to change their focus to other aspects of Scouting they don't like. It's really pointless to try to appease them.


In short--- BSA should change it's policies on homosexuals only if it's decided that it's the right thing to do.


(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

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"In short--- BSA should change it's policies on homosexuals only if it's decided that it's the right thing to do."


I don't disagree with the Dale decision. It's one of the tenets that makes this country what it is.


But the BSA itself shouldn't have a homosexual policy. The responsibility should fall onto the Chartering Organizations to decide if a leader meets their needs as a leader of scouts (Ideals, Aims, Methods, etc.). If the BSA is taking on that responsibility beyond criminal background checks, then they begin to decide that the morality of certain religions is more important than others... and that's not respectful toward all regions, is it?


There are religious organizations out there who recommend or require their member congregations to no longer sponsor BSA units based solely on this issue.

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"Often they make themselves look silly by carrying on hate campaigns against Scouting"

At the risk of being wrong!

To the best of my knowledge I can't remember any group trying to get rid of the BSA or say that it needs to be disbanded.

I have been upset at the amount of money that the BSA has spent trying to have their cake and eat it too.

As a private organization it can say who it will allow to be a member and who it isn't going to allow to be a member.

While I think that this in a nut shell boils down to nothing but discrimination. Which I see as being a bad thing.

Others seem to also think that it's a bad thing and want no part of it.

Why should public money be allowed to be spent on or for an organization that refuses to allow all public to join and openly discriminates against certain groups?

For some reason that I don't understand the BSA has spent a great deal of money trying to on one hand say "Hey we are a private organization and can discriminate because we are." While on the other hand say "Hey we are the BSA and because we are the BSA we need to be treated as a special case."

While I am white and might fit into being a member of the middle class?

The issue here isn't about gay or not gay, it's about discrimination. - Which I see as just being wrong.


As a parent living in a very small rural community, where everyone seem to know what everyone else is doing or has done! I made choices as to where I was willing to send my kid.

I knew that I would never send him to one unit where the adults spend as much time while at camp in the local bars as with the Scouts.

I wasn't going to allow him to join the Troop where the SM was a known wife beater.

These choices were mine.

If a parent knows that a adult Scouter is gay? They can choose if they are willing to send their kid to that unit or not.

Me? I hope I'd be more worried about how the leaders got along with the Scouts rather than what they got up to behind the closed bedroom door.



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I have seen several people advocating the CO decide who is and is not qualified to be leaders. Specifically- in context- will the CO permit homosexual leaders or not. I suspect this would lead to more problems than it would fix.


Personally, I find value in having a national standard. When I go to McDonalds and order a Big Mac, I *know* what I am going to get. I don't have someone who decided the burger would be better served with mustard instead of the special sauce. If you allow CO's do set their own criteria for leaders, you have made it incumbent on those outside the organization to ask the right questions to know if this specific unit aligns with their personal belief system or not.


Additionally, people will take the lowest standard and apply it to the entire organization. For example, my wife got sick eating after eating at an Arbys (I still think it was coincidence), but even now 12 years later, she will not eat at ANY Arby's.


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I think the negative impact of this policy on recruitment has been continually and constantly exaggerated on this forum. I'm sure, like the original post, there are some examples, but a ripple is not a tidal wave. In my 11 years as an adult Scouter, this forum is the only place I have heard this subject of the ongoing crises of National's policy killing the Scouting movement come up(over,and over, and over, and...). Never in formal scouter meetings, never among our troop leaders, never in private bull sessions with the many scouters I know in the area, never in conversations with non scouting folks. That may seem odd to some of you, and...really, I don't live under a rock!


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I agree that at times things and topics in this forum do get blown up out of any real sense of reality.


I never served in the military.

A week or so back that was a lot of media coverage about the end of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.

I don't know what number or what percentage of people who do serve this change will affect?

While I'm willing to admit that I might be wrong, my guess is that the number is going to be not that big.

Still even though the number might be small it was felt that the policy was wrong and needed to be changed.


While I'm not gay and not involved in any type of gay movement (And never have been.) I have to admire the way the gay community has over the years changed my views on gays.

30 years back if asked what I thought about gay men? I think I'd have said that they were either dirty old men who hung out at mens toilets or effeminate types that wore ladies underwear. - Yes I know it seems laughable now. Still back then it's what I thought.

While maybe, because I'm the age that I am. There is still some feeling of being less than comfortable around gay men? I know from talking with younger people that they have a far greater acceptance that I might have.

Breaking down barriers takes time.

Who 40 years ago would have thought that we'd ever have a black President of the USA?

Who 100 years back would ever have thought that a female would go down as a hard line right wing Prime Minister of the UK?

The gay /BSA thing is not going to go away.

In part because the those active in the gay community and gay rights are not going to let it and in part because the BSA is going to keep on not accepting or seeing that the policy is one of discrimination and will go to court to defend the policy.


As you post 99.99% of the time this issue is a non-issue.

I have had parents say how they admire the BSA for the policy and for defending the policy.

I've also had younger people say that the BSA is just wrong and silly for the policy.

While I of course don't have a crystal ball and am unable to see the future. I do however see the day when these young people will be the parents and there is a good chance that they will be unwilling to be part or have their kids be part of an organization which they believe is doing something that is wrong.

Of course once they become parents they might have a change of heart and the fears that people have about gay men and women molesting young boys might play into how they feel?

I really don't know.

I tend to think that if the policy was changed that very little would change. While maybe some of the guys who have not come out, might be willing too? Maybe there might be some openly gay leaders?

But I really don't see the day when Councils are unable to manage the rush of new leader apps because there has been a rush of gays who want to sign up for membership.

It just ain't going happen.


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EamonnOf course once they become parents they might have a change of heart and the fears that people have about gay men and women molesting young boys might play into how they feel?


I doubt that Eamonn, because most peoples fears are based on the unknown, and the ability for those who want to play on those fears to accentuate the negative and hide anything positive.


With the changes in place they are coming out of the closet, more and more.. And now settling down to be your relatives, your neighbors, your friends, your teachers, your bosses, your business partners.... Literature, TV & movies are slowly starting to portray them in a more natural light rather than a stereotype..


With every passing day they become less of the "unknown" sector, and more of the average person.. With that less and less people buy into these type of beliefs, especially the ones that are totally false and steeped in ignorance.


The genie is out of the bottle and it will be impossible to stuff it back in..

(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

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If you allow CO's do set their own criteria for leaders, you have made it incumbent on those outside the organization to ask the right questions to know if this specific unit aligns with their personal belief system or not.


This is exactly right, and it is also exactly the way it works on many other issues today. Some COs will only allow a Christian as Scoutmaster. Some only allow men. Do any COs have a known adulterer as a unit leader? How about physical characteristics - can a very overweight person be a leader? Someone who has a lot of debt? Someone who is depressed?


The existing national standard is very minimal - don't have certain types of criminal records. Oh, and don't be a known homosexual or an atheist.


Lots of units might have leaders that I don't think would be right for my son. I don't see any good reason why homosexuals are singled out for special treatment compared with those other things, and further, I've known gay people that would do a fine job.


Is this really the one most important issue for national to have a standard on?



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I tend to think that your right.


Oak Tree

From reading your last post, I think we are both on the same page.


Still to be fair to everyone.

I think that no one will know for sure what is going to happen down the road.

Lord knows that the Roman Catholics have enough on their plate right now and them coming out in support of gay scouter's might not be in their best interest at this time.

I really don't see the present Pope cutting homosexuals a break.

I haven't checked out where the big money that funds the BSA comes from. So to say a change of policy will or will not have any effect on finances would be wrong.



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