Following is an article I’ve written over the last two days… It’s in a very VERY rough form and is NOT completed… In fact, it probably never will be completed… I didn’t even spell check it, nor do I care too…Also, I ask a lot of questions that I then don’t answer.. So whatever. I just wanted to be done with it, it’s making me too sad… Plus I have another more fun sounding project in mind. About the Nuclear Bomb. 😀 So If I get off my ass, you can read that probably next week. but don’t hold your breath….
Every gay boy has one major stuggle in his life. Between choosing one thing and hiding who he is, or accepting who he is and casting off or coming to terms with the other thing. For most gay people this typically comes down to family, others it’s religious upbringing and for many others there’s a vast array of conflits within your life in which you have to make this choice.
For me, the struggle lies within an organiztaion I have been a part of all my life. An organization that helped to raise me and make me become who I am today, a moral and repsonsible adult in our culture. My stuggle has not to do with my parents, for they were accepting, it has not to do with my religion, as I was brought up in a non-religious household. My stuggle has to do with The Boy Scouts of America.
I started my life in the Boy Scouts at the age of 5, as a tiger cub. I worked my way up, eventually becoming a Webelos Scout and then moving into the Troop. Within the troop, I struggled to be active, I was the only one, but I persisted, I built up a troop, of which I was the Senior Patrol Leader by the age of 14. I organized the camping trips, I went to summer camp, I organized and performed our first crossing over ceremony, I became a Brotherhood member of the OA, I did it all. I never missed a meeting, my parents were involved. and I eventually got my Eagle Scout Rank. By this time the troop had grown to a size of 20, with a large group of Webelos about to cross over.
The summer of ’00 I made my first trek to Philmont, and although my health prevented me from participating in the typical 10 day trek through the back country, I spent a week there in a less intense back country trek and 2 days of COPE instruction, in which I earned my COPE Instructor certification.
My life was the Boy Scouts, I lived and breathed Boy Scouts. I had amassed a collection of Patches from every council west of Iowa, I had attended three different summer camps in two different Councils. I had gone to the Idiol of Boy Scout camping experiences and I spent two summers of my life working on Camp Staff as a model employee. Instructing the youngest of Scouts on the basic esecntials that would make them model scouts and model citizens. I took pride in my work and pride in my life as a Boy Scout/Eagle Scout.
However, my second year on camp staff was a turning point in my life. The Boy Scouts were entrenched in a legal battle over allowing homosexuls to be adult leaders, I was becoming more and more active in Scouting for All and Inclusive Scouting.
It was late one summer night my one day off for the past two weeks, as I has been assigned to back to back Cub Scout sessions in addition to my Boy Scout sessions. As I sat in my room that night reading about the battle, and thinking about the boy that I had met just recently I decided it was time for me to come out. To end my time in the closet. My parents already knew. I ahd told them earlier that summer, but at that time had decided to stay active in the scouting that I loved.
This night was different. I woke my mother and explained to her what I was thinking. She suggested that I do what I felt I had to, and by that point I felt like I had to quit. I couldn’t continue to be a part of this organization that was kicking people out just because of who they choose to love in private.
I went back to camp at 4am that morning, I walked it one last time. Remembering all the fun and wonderful times that I had there. The 8 years of summers I had spent there, the hundreds of hours I had spent setting up and tearing down tents, the hundreds of hours I spent teaching the kids there, the next leaders of our country, all the times that I had walked it late at night coming home from OA outings deep in the woods. I thought about how working 100 hours a week here was probaby the hardest job I’ll ever have.. And yet, it was probably the most fun, the most rewarding job I’ll ever have.
And then I went to my boss and turned in my resignation.
That was the last active interaction I’ve had with the Boy Scouts. I’ve gone back to camp a few times, to watch the cerimonies and to catch up with old friends, but that’s it. And I’ve missed every minute of it.
Even though I’ve already written two and a half pages, the point of this article is not about my history in the boy scouts, but it is about what’s wrong with the scouting structure, and current thoughr process of ousting homosexuals as well as those who do not belive in god. I’ve seen this process work, sadly enough, in person. While being employed at camp I witnessed an adult leader being escorted from camp because it was found out he was gay. Where does it start, and where does it end. Who put this in place and why?
The Boy Scouts was founded in 1910 to shape future americans to be model citizens and to prepare them for active duty in the armed services. They were founded simply because a man was lost in London fog and a young boy helped him find his way. So why do the executives in Irving, Texas think that homosexuals and athiests can’t be a part of the boy scouts?
Lets start at the bottom, the local Troops and packs. Here is where the real revolution starts. Up until Feb 2002, the local troops and packs were basically free to declare their own discrimination policies. Around the country one could find troops which had stated that they would not discriminate based on any reason, be it sexuality or religion. There’s even councils which had made that same statement. However these troops and councils faced having their charters revoked by the national council. Most of them were not very open about these policies and thus didn’t make a huge impact on the national councils policies.
In Feb 2002, the national council of the BSA issued an order stating that the national polcy was to not allow homosexuals or anyone who did not belive in god into the boy scouts. What brought forth this policy? The Boy Scouts of America is in the minority in this policy. Of all boy scouting operations around the world 2/3rds of them have no such policy and openly allow homosexuals to join. Many of them even allow girls to join the ranks.
Since this order the boy scouts enrollment has dropped. 13% for cub scouting and 3% for boy scouting. However, these numbers are not relevant, as it is widly known that councils inflat the numbers of troops. My troop backhome was inflated by 100% while I was a scout. We had a total of 10 ghost members, scouts who had joined and then quickly left were never taken off the rooster. So it’s unknown the true effects of this order. However, we do know that it’s had a downward effect on enrollment.
But what effect has this policy had on the grassroots efforts of scouting for all and inclusive scouting? Sadly, it has not had that great of an affect. These two organizations are far too small to really make a difference right now. They are not well known enough and do not have the funding to start a real scouting oranization. Although they are working on mirror the boy scouts, with a more accepting policy, the true experiences of being a boy scout can never be mirrored or relpaced.
The boy scouts of america needs to get out of bed with bush and his cronies and get real on what’s happening in the world. Americans today are more accepting then ever of homosexualality and athiestism. The BSA will not survive for the next 100 years unless they change these discriminatory policies.