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Is Scouting in Canada Dead?

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I came across this interesting piece. I was vaguely aware that scouting in Canada admitted homosexuals. Does anyone have any more information about what is going on in Canada?



August 13, 2004


The Death of Canadian Scouting

Hans Zeiger


Big Canadian real estate is on the market. A rather sizable chunk of Lord Robert Baden-Powells Empire is available for investors, homebuilders, fishing resort prospectors, or blacktop barons. Scouts Canada is pounding in for sale signs at the entrances of a number of Scout camps across the country, including at least twenty camps in Ontario. But dont worry. No Boy Scouts will mourn the loss of their summer camps, for the Boy Scouts of Canada no longer exist.


Thinking they could become more inclusive, the Boy Scouts of Canada Board of Governors decided in November 1998 to admit females, atheists, agnostics, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals into troops. Despite that established troops were not even allowed to remain all-male groups, Scouts Canada approved the establishment of the worlds first all-homosexual troop in 1999. The troop marches in homosexual pride parades and loudly symbolizes what Scouts Canada calls its commitment to diversity.


Scouts Canadas new non-discrimination code reads: Scouting is a worldwide, multicultural movement. We welcome people to membership regardless of gender, race, culture, religious belief, sexual orientation or economic circumstances. Youth members are strongly influenced by the behaviour of adults. We need to be sensitive to the traditions and beliefs of all people and to avoid words or actions which "put down" anybody.


And so, in its attempt to include everybody and everything, Scouts Canada is effectively dead.


Budgets have run dry. Troop halls and old campsites sit vacant. Professional staff salaries are severed. Membership is mostly decimated. In the past, membership roles consistently exceeded 300,000. Around the peak in 1965, there were 320,000 Boy Scouts. Today, despite a one third population increase in Canada over four decades and a doubling of the demographic possibilities (with female members), Scouts Canada has dwindled to a puny 130,000 and it is rapidly declining.


Open to all, there is a certain liability that accompanies the mixture of sexes and sexual preferences at Scout Camp. It is no coincidence that Scouts Canadas costs for liability insurance against sexual molestation claims increased dramatically by 2002 when, lacking adequate finances, Scouts Canada canceled its sex abuse insurance, and with it many high risk activities. Without the insurance, a single pedophile could potentially annihilate Scouts Canada forever.


Esprit de corps has evaporated. Last year, wearing a uniform at official Scout events became optional. Scoutmasters were deprived of the authority to demand the wearing of uniforms. Its time to stop bickering about the clothes we wear, said Ms. Bonita Brick, chair of the National Scouts Youth Committee that handed down the uniform decision. Accept the reality of change.


It seems that change is not so attractive to the traditional core of Scouts Canada. It is disheartening. Everything seems to be going down and down, laments veteran Scouter Bill Stauttener who manages Union Marsh Scout Camp which is set to go on the chopping block.


Eastern Ontarios Camp Apple Hill is expected to sell for just $30,000, a bargain considering that it is 300 acres. It's very heartbreaking and very distressing, says three-decade Scout leader Pat Tugwood.


It may be a sad affair for some whove been around Canadian Scouting for a while, but I say good riddance to Scouts Canada. They ceased to serve any useful purpose the day they became all-inclusive, all-sensitive, and all-tolerant. The Scout Oath and Scout Law are obliterated in the land of the red maple leaf north of Parallel 49.


It is doubtful that this organization can be resuscitated. Political correctness, having infected whole institutions, does not easily reverse. But we Americans might well consider this malady and contain it at the border.


In meeting the challenges of a multi-faith society which is increasingly gay-positive, the [boy Scouts of America] might follow the lead of Scouts Canada, urges a writer at ReligiousTolerance.org. And thus the far Left attacks the Boy Scouts of America, relentlessly for the past two decades.


There are prices to be paid by the BSA for standing on traditional moral values, but none so severe as this eulogy of Scouts Canada. In America, United Way funding may be cut, cities and school districts may abandon the Scouts, courts may order the Scouts to leave public property. But so long as the Scout Oath and Law remain intact, the Boy Scouts of America can survive.


Goodbye, Scouts Canada. Political correctness is sure grand, eh?




Hans Zeiger is a columnist, political activist, and student leader from Puyallup, Washington. At age 18, Hans is an Eagle Scout and president of the Scout Honor Coalition. He is the past chairman of Washington Young Americans for Freedom and a former research analyst at the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. He is a freshman at Hillsdale College in Michigan.



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Nothing against young Mr. Zeiger, but he does have a certain political axe to grind. He writes opinion peices and I have a feeling that he (like most columnists from both sides of the fence) embellish the "facts" to support their view. You can read a bio of Hans Zeiger at http://www.therant.us/staff/bios/hans_zeiger.htm and read additional columns he has written to decide for yourself.

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(Since I tried 8 times, without success, to edit and correct my post, here it is as a whole . . .)




Interesting that an American 19 yr.old feels so informed about and justified in his judgemental opinions of a private organization in another country. I wonder how he reacts when Canadians opinionate about BSA or YAF?!?!?!?


I'd like to hear from a Canadian Scout or people who are closer to the subject - and hopefully less pre-agenda'ed.


I'd be curious to hear the data about declining enrollment previous to the "opening of the gates" policy change.


If you've seen any of my posts, you'll know I believe we need to work toward more tolerance and understanding of each other. But, I don't think BSA needs to totally redefine itself as that article says Scouts Canada did, but there is no doubt that we'll change and grow. If there's any truth at all to Mr. Zeiger's article, we obviously need to be careful. Though, I guess we didn't need his "the sky is falling" piece to point that out to us!


YIS jd(This message has been edited by johndaigler)

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I too would hope to hear from some Canadian posters on this forum. Ziegler's politics are obvious. That does not mean that he is incorrect in his conclusions. He makes a number of factual assertions about the state of the organization that somebody might be able to shed some more light on.

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While I'm not sure what the official Scouts Canada policy is, I did find on their website that adult enrollment is way down. The grand total of Scouts/Scouters for 2002/2003 is 113,174. There were 40,300 adult volunteers in 2001/2002, now there are 29,664. That's ten thousand less adults. If it is more of an open-door policy, less folks are going through it!



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Canadian Scout camps are a lot different than American ones. From my conversations with the Canadian Scouters who bring their units to our camps, The Canadian camps do not offer program like we do down here. There are more like campgrounds where troops can camp for a week or less doing their own thing.

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Trail Day, thanks for the link.


Sad for Scouts Canada! Can someone speak to how much of this downsizing and property selling has BSA had to do?? We face many of the same issues as Scouts Canada. I know Schiff was sold (my Woodbadge Dad nearly cried).


Going back to the original thread-creating-post,...it's interesting (and perhaps a defining point) that the "Globe and Mail" doesn't mention anything that resembles Mr. Zeiger's focus.


Just because event B follows event A, doesn't mean that A caused B.


Though, I'm sure, there are many Canadian Scouters disappointed in the "liberalizing" of traditions and standards, it would be hard to determine how large of an impact that has had on the already declining enrollments.


jd(This message has been edited by johndaigler)

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The article suggested by Trail day does confirm many of the stats in Hans article. My friends in Vancouver have told me that the number of scouts has been declining due to a shift of policies. Their 3 boys all dropped out after a homosexual Scoutmaster replaced the long time SM who retired. Whatever the total truth is the BSA and all of us should watch this developing story. One point the Globe pointed out was there is a lot more competition these days with sports and clubs that did not exsist 30 years ago. I know that is affecting membership in our country as well. It is always sad to see the demise of a worthwhile youth organization like Scouts Canada, maybe they can pull themselves out, we will have to wait and see.

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The article mentioned that Scouts Canada owns 500 campgrounds. That's alot of campgrounds. They are selling off 20. That leaves 480 campgrounds. Ontario has more than half of that 500 and that is where these 20 are being culled out. I don't like seeing campgrounds closed either, but 20 out of 500 is a really small number.


How many properties does BSA own and operate? Most scout camps are owned and operated by local councils. I would imagine that if BSA owned 500 camps, they would end up selling off some from time to time. Especially if they experienced a drop in numbers and revenue.


I'm sure that including gays has had a chilling effect for many scouts and scouters. While it may have some bearing, I don't think you can automatically tie one issue directly to the other.

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