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Eamonn

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OK.

Here goes.

We had a really outstanding night!!

Our first ever Sea Scout Youth Dance.

You had to be there. It rocked.

Our small town of less than 5,000 were behind the Ship 100%. We had the local VFW donate the hall, the local DJ donated her fee back to the ship. The local newspapers gave us lots of ink.

Maybe I would have liked to see a few more people there, but we will work on that.

Everything apart from asking for the hall was done by youth members.

The DJ was both kid friendly and parent friendly. The music was what they liked.

We had about 90 kids; who all seemed to have a good time.

The VFW is thrilled and can't wait to do it again and have donated $250.00 to the Ship.

I'm starting to get into rap music - Well maybe I'm not going to hate it as much.

As I say a wonderful night. How I'm going to get the Ship members calmed down for the Safe Boating course tomorrow is another thing!

We have one super nice girl who aspires to be a dancer. She is really good.

She invited a young Lad (16 years old). I watched him dance. He is outstanding.

I didn't get a lot of time to talk with him. But he did talk to me. He is very well spoken, very polite and maybe a little effeminate.

He is the only boy on our HS cheer leaders squad. Our girl dancer wants to ask him to join the Ship. I would love to see him join.

She mentioned this to a few of the other Ship members and they just laughed. They all said that he can't join -He's gay.

They all seem to like him and if and yes it's a big if in my mind - If he is gay they don't care.

I'm a little unsure if at 16 a boy can know if he is or isn't gay?

I do know that where I'm at right now I would love to see him join.

But I don't know and I'm not sure if I want to know about his sexual preferences?

As far as I know he isn't an a

"Avowed" anything-But nor are any of the other Ship members.

What would you do?

Eamonn.

 

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Wow. It sure isn't Leave It To Beaver out there anymore. I don't know how you as an adult can determine if a 16 year old boy is gay. The problem I see however is that if he is gay and the members of your crew know it, if you accept him, the crew members know you are breaking the rules. Not a good way to go. If he truly is gay, I suspect he knows it. If he's not gay, how do you know it. All you have is heresay from your crew. The fact that he is a cheerleader and a little effeminate is not evidence. I would say if your girl wants to invite him to join she has that right. Tough call, but if he submits an app. I would accept him.

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I agree with baden that being a cheerleader and acting somewhat effeminate is not "proof" that he's gay...I think many of the boys in the troop think the same thing about my son because he's so non-athletic and very socially inept AND he loves to cook!! He is decidedly NOT gay, but is a very sensitive type. We are a military family so we have pretty much been on our own and he really has not had many strong male role models in his life..and rarely has any real contact with family outside of his younger brother & sisters..and he has never really had any "neighborhood" boys to really bond with along the way...which is exactly the reason WHY I got him involved and keep him involved in scouts!

 

The decision will ultimately be yours but don't totally base it just on the other kids' "opinions"...they could be wrong!! Good Luck!

 

Sue M.

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I agree with baden. All you've got right now amounts to gossip. If the boy wants to join, and he reads and submits an app., how can you do anything but celebrate a new Sea Scout? I don't think you can talk to parents (his or any others), and you can't take the word of the other guys. Maybe your young woman dancer is close enough to talk with him about it, but it doesn't seem fair to put that responsibility on her, or the stress on their friendship.

 

I doubt any boy in his social position is ignorant of his public image, or the public image of BSA. Seems like the ball is in his court.

 

My one difference of opinion with baden concerns, "The problem I see however is that if he is gay and the members of your crew know it, if you accept him, the crew members know you are breaking the rules."

 

I don't think Eamonn is in position to be worried about breaking any rules or having the other boys consider it such. I'm not just defending Eamonn's feelings either - trying to push responsibility off onto the new boy. Actually, I think Eamonn runs the risk of "breaking rules" in the other direction. There is no way to know this boy's "avowed sexuality", without a direct (emotionally confrontational to the lad) conversation -- a conversation that would be less than appropriate to have with any Scout. So, IMHO, the greater risk for Eamonn is being so worried about doing the right thing that he's overly cautious and does the wrong thing.

 

I see the risk for Eamonn's credibility with the other boys, but I'm afraid I don't see a "right" way to fret about that, and treat this potential new scout with the appropriate respect and welcome the lad deserves. Personally, I think lessening our treatment of individuals in order to protect the group, lessens the group and its ideals -- though that's obviously not a practical or pragmatic view.

 

Eamonn, good luck, please keep us up to date. This topic grows more and more important to more and more Scouters.

 

jd

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Wow, maybe I shouldn't even be clogging up the forum traffic when I don't realy have a good reply, but knowing the kind of person you are, I think you cantrust your heart to start you in the right direction. I've always felt that loving your neighbor as you love yourself is always a safe starting place.

 

Barry

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If the lad is well liked by the others, and you deny him membership, don't be surprised if you lose some of the others in the process, who may decide that they don't want to belong to an organization with what they perceive to be anachronistic "morality". What would I do? I would welcome him with open arms and not make a big deal of it unless he does.

 

One alternative would be to switch your charter to an Exporer Post and keep on gettin' down! I still find it odd that the BSA maintains such blatant dual standards.

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John stated it better than I. The risk is credibility with the existing crew members, rather than breaking the "rules".

 

I also agree that a discussion with the boy about his sexuality by an adult is way inappropriate as is asking a sixteen year old girl to take point on this. I think if he is asked to join the ball really is in his court.

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Eamonn,

 

I know you'll do the right thing for this boy. Yes, at 16, he could very well know what his sexual orientation is (not sexual preference, orientation - it's a completely different thing and not something we need to go into in this thread). But that's really not important. The current policy is very much like the Militaries "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue". You shouldn't ask, he hasn't told - there should be no problem with letting him into the unit.

 

The "evidence" against him is he is very well spoken, very polite, MAYBE a little effeminate, a cheerleader, and an excellent dancer? How about the evidence for him - he attended a dance with a girl - in any other context wouldn't that be considered a date?

 

My concern is actually your other members - the one's who said he can't join because "he's gay" - how do they know that? Did he tell them that or is that just their preception? I see any risk of credibility issues with the other boys as being not sitting down with them and suggesting that they consider how their perceptions of other people leads to prejudice and bigotry - this is one of those very rare teachable moments (that still is a part of the Wood Badge curriculum, is it not?) that can make a difference in the real world - we are talking older scouts who are likely going to be leaders of people as adults.

 

You say when she asked about him joining, her fellow shipmates laughed yet you also say they don't really seem to care if he is gay or not and seem to like him. If there is no objection, then let him join. If there are objections, find out what they are - is it based on the same impressions/perceptions you have? If it's based on perceptions, now's the time to correct them. I'd start with the fact that the current President of the United States was a cheerleader in college, then maybe finish with the fact that he was on a date with a good looking girl from the ship. And isn't being well spoken and polite something the other lads should be striving for?

 

CalicoPenn

 

 

 

 

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He probably does know at 16 whether he is or not, but if he isn't "avowed" you don't have grounds to keep him out. The general knowledge of your crew that he is gay doesn't come into it, unless he is acting out sexually, in which case you have a different issue. Since it doesn't seem to bother them, you wouldn't be likely to lose crew members over it.

 

If this situation happened in my ship, I would have no hesitation about letting him in unless he is the president of the local chapter of some gay rights organization. :)

 

Only remaining question is, does he want to join?

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OK Wildbill. Requirement 7b of the Backpacking Merit Badge states -

 

Tell how to properly prepare for and deal with the human and environmental hazards you may encounter on a backpacking trek.

 

I would recommend a careful reading of the merit badge book. I don't have a copy of the most recent pub. and the requirements have changed from the one I have. My best guess is how to deal with hostile people you may meet in the backcountry. Perhaps accusing you of trespass. Perhaps drunk or high and think harassing a group of Scouts might be fun. Think Deliverance.

 

Environmental hazards. You might stumble on a meth lab. An illegal dump site.

 

Generally you prepare by studying the current MB booklet and discussing with the Scouts. In general you would probably best deal with them by giving a wide berth to such problems. When challenged, back away. Tough on the ego, but for the safety of the group.

 

I see this is your first post. Welcome. You have come to a good place for information. I have gained a lot from this forum. The depth and breadth of knowledge in this group is humbling. You may be better served to take questions of this nature to the Camping and High Adventure portion of the forum, but Eamons topic was Help amd you asked for help.

 

Again welcome.

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I was hoping that this would just all fade away and I could go for a long winters nap.

We had our Safe Boating course today.

I don't know where these kids get their energy.

It was way late last night when we got done with the clean up. But they ended up at a Ship members house playing DDR ??(OJ has it -It's Dance, Dance Revolution for Play Station. When he hooks it up to the big TV and tries to play it sounds like a herd of elephants running through the house.)I heard that they played till 5:00 AM!! (OJ wasn't with them he has the flu)

Anyway, we were to start at 9:00 Sharp!! So I'd asked them to be at the Elks by 8:30.

The first to arrive was a Scout and his Mom. I know Mom really well, in fact she was one of the chaperone's at the dance. We chatted about the dance and how well it had gone. She said that she'd heard that this Lad was thinking of joining. I said that I'd heard.

She is a Troop Committee member and was a participant in NE-IV-153 (A great course director!!) I was happy to leave it just there. But...

She went on to ask "What are you going to do?"

I hummed and harred a little. I really hadn't decided what to do and I was still hoping that this would all just go away.

I was just about to tell her that I wasn't sure what I was going to do, but before I could she said " You know he's gay - He went to school on Valentines day all dressed in pink!!"

I couldn't help myself I laughed. She must have seen the funny side of it as she laughed too.

I don't know what happened but then and there I said if he wants to join I'm going to let him!!

I went on to explain that I don't know what the proof of being gay or homosexual really is? Acting that way doesn't mean that you are that way.

I'm not sure what you have to do or not do to be a homosexual? But I think you have to have sex.I'm never going to ask any of the boys or girls in the Ship if they are having sex!! Not only is this not in my job description.

But I'm from a Irish catholic family where we didn't talk about sex until I was about 27!! I would be far to embarrassed.

About a year or so back OJ was trying to make a point, the school didn't have a boy's volley ball team, so he played on the girls team. At the time I thought it was great. There he was taking a stand, getting to play a game that he likes and getting to be with all the good looking female volley ball players into the bargain. Maybe this Lad has his own agenda, he gets to be with the cheer leaders? Maybe he can recruit a few?

Sure enough at 8:45 this Lad arrived and asked for information about joining. He said he couldn't stay. A couple of the other Ship members seen me do my dive into my briefcase to fish out the application form and information sheet. I didn't say anything, but they asked is "Kenny joining?" I informed them that I'd given him the paper work. They smiled and said "That's great".

I think he will join.

I don't know if he will stay, that will be up to him. If at some later date he wants to become an avowed homosexual, I'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now I can't see any reason why he can't make the Sea Scout Promise:

As a Sea Scout I promise to do my best:

To guard against water accidents;

To know the location and proper use of the lifesaving devices on every boat I board;

To be prepared to render aid to those in need;

To seek to preserve the motto of the sea, Women and children first.

 

Or the The Venturing Oath:

I promise to do my duty to God, and

Help strengthen America;

To help others, and

To seek truth, fairness, and adventure in our world.

I bet that he is a great DDR Player!!

I don't think I have crossed the BSA guide lines. I can't help thinking that my role is to serve the youth not to judge them.

Eamonn.

 

 

 

(This message has been edited by Eamonn)

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"If at some later date he wants to become an avowed homosexual, I'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

 

I believe that is the answer. Unless a person is an "avowed homosexual", I don't believe he can be denied membership on that basis.

 

You might point out to him the various membership requirements, CO requirements, the Sea Scout Promise, the declaration of religious principle, his obligations as a member. Oh, and the fact that an avowed homosexual may not be a member.

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Ok, this is how I understand it, and maybe I am wrong. BSA has establsihed they will not tolerate avowed gay leaders. The youth itself is supposed to be "asexual", they arent straight, they arent gay, they are youth. What does that mean? When I was sixteen I knew I was heterosexual, I liked looking at the odd Playboy magazine. I did know that Boy Scouts was not the place to be looking at Playboy Magazines. I would have a huge issue if a 16 year old male crew member would be gregariously telling of his sexual exploits with his girlfriend.

 

Off color double entendre's and ribald references have no place in scouting straight or gay. You tell the youth the ground rules when they join and the yearly Youth protection meeting. He may turn out to be a great asset, he may not, but its up to him. What would be worse, to have a youth tell you he was talking about having sex with a girl or a boy? Both are totally inappropriate

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Shake his hand and say welcome aboard. Without knowing, don't try to assume. If you still have a question about this, pray for the answer.

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