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May 03, 2006

Comments

scott

I've always been way turned off by the fact that boy scouts in America have to pledge to do their duty to God, but I'm positively incensed by the fact that they don't allow gays in. That is the reason my son and I never participated. Teach values they say; I said I'd start by telling my son that we don't join such organizations.

The girl scouts, on the other hand, I have nothing but good things to say about them. Except I think they should amend their pledge to include "and I shall help Mr. Feldstien become thinner by not selling him any more cookies."

Karen

I agree. Steph and I did Brownies for 2 years, but I never went near Boy Scouts for Pete.

Eating an entire column of Thin Mints is just one of those things everyone does. There's no choice involved -- it just happens!

Karan

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DJ

I was, or if you believe the party line still am, an Eagle Boy Scout. I too now view the Boy Scouts as a force for evil in the world, but not the GSA. There is however one thing about the Boy Scouts I like to think about: there is a "fraternity" of good Scouts within the BSA called Order of the Arrow. When you are inducted into OA you are told a secret "admonition" (password) that according to the rules and regulations is NEVER spoken out loud (only whispered) and NEVER written down. No kidding, all the OA literature substitutes "'the admonition" in italics for the actual words, which aren't even English - they're supposedly taken from some East Coast Native American language. And you only get to hear it once during the initiation ceremony (speaking from experience) and you can't say "What's that again?" So OF COURSE the result is that everybody has a different idea of what the damn admonition is, with wildly different regional variants around the country -- I always ask other former OA guys what they used to say to get into the inner circle campfire and it's amazing the variations.

scott

Weird stuff, DJ. Me, I prefer camp fires where everyone is welcome. (Girls, even!) :)

Chris Hagerty

Scouting as a "Force of Evil"? Really? The ACLU defends Child Pornographers? Maybe that's kinda wrong? Demorcats defend womanizing accused rapists while they're president. The Boy Scouts don't allow gay Scout Leaders. Even then it's only openly gay scout leaders. They have that right as a provate organization. 80%+ of the parents of Scouts say this is what they want. SO don't tell the kids you're gay, I don't talk about the women I've been with, can't, I'd be thrown out.

oi mate

BSA isn't bad just some parents make there kids go and the kids dont like it but yes there is a honor society called the order of the arrow that is based off a group of indians from different tribes in the east

Matt

the only reason they don't let gays in BSA is because there was some issues with scout leaders and younger scouts. And then lawsuits got going and so they decided it was best.

PackDude

Actually, the admonition is written down in certain documentation. Access to that documentation is limited, but possible, so there should be no 'variations' on what the admonition is or what it means.
As for the campfires, the only campfires the OA limits access to are the initiation/ceremonial campfires and even then, if a parent wants to observe, they are allowed.

Frank

I was a Boy Scout as a youth and I am a Scout leader now. My son has been in Scouts for about 8 years now (Cub Scouts from 1st grade until mid-way through 5th grade, and Boy Scouts since). I have never been questioned regarding my sexual preferences or religious beliefs. Nor have I ever seen a youth asked about either of these. I have found that, when it came to activities that involved religious beliefs, most Scout leaders send this type of thing home to be worked on between a boy and his parents.
I would guess that not all units are the same in this regard. What a lot of people don't realize is that Boy Scout units are a lot more autonomous than Girl Scout units. The reason for this is that all Girl Scout troops are owned by the local Girl Scout Council. Boy Scout units (i.e. Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, Varsity Teams, and Venturing Crews) are chartered by a local organization and are, in effect, owned by them. So I would guess that a Troop chartered by a church would have more of a religious element than any of the units I have been affiliated with which have been chartered by a school PTSO and the local VFW Post respectively.

Finally, I think the common denominator in Scouting is service. Service to other, service to the community, the nation, and the world are a big part of all scouting groups I have been in. Honor, personal responsibility, and independence are the other biggies. It's really amazing to watch Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts as they become part of the older age groups. Its really hard sometimes for Cub Scout leaders to transition to Boy Scouts because you really have to let the boys do the planning, teaching, organizing, etc. If you don't then, although its easier on the adults, you aren't really working the program. The adults are really there to provide a safety net and to, sometimes, re-direct boys back to where they need to focus. One older leader said that our job was to make ourselves unnecessary. If the boys are doing what they are supposed to do, the Scoutmasters just need to sit back and watch. I've seen the same thing with Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts.

Karen

Thanks very much for that, Frank! I think you probably have it exactly right. I appreciate your taking the time to add your voice of experience.

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