Re: Can we REALLY TRUST the BSA (was Re: Day One (continued) ?
Settummanque, the blackeagle (WALTOML@WKUVX1.BITNET)
Fri, 20 Aug 1993 11:32:16 CDT
I have changed the topic from the discussion on Day One (an ABC
investigative reporting show, which some time ago ran a story on the
BSA's problems in the areas of sexual abuse by youth and adult members
and what they are doing to prevent it) to the above topic. I hope
that nobody minds the move from one topic, which polarized many of us
one way or the other, to something in which EVERYONE can bring in
input and we can have a great discussion over. However, please
remember here that we are talking with other youth and adults, many of
which have long-standing and time-honored feelings and emotions about
Scouting....and let's leave the personal name-calling and attacks
(either way) to personal mail between the parties and NOT here on the
Otherwise, it becomes what Rec. Scouting has been...if you DON'T
believe me, check it out yourself. They are STILL beating each other
up about Clinton not showing up for the Jamboree...and how it relates
to gays in Scouting.... *sigh*
Jessiann and I had a mild discussion...her mother, aged and wise in
her ways, don't quite understand all of this e-mail stuff, but she
gave me some advice, some of which I will take. She first listened
patiently to both sides, sometimes interrupting to get a
clarification. Then she sat there, knitting on her beautiful blanket,
and then turned to me and asked "do you HAVE to answer him?".
Jessiann then told her mother that "no, he don't...but everyone KNOWS
that Mike Walton will write at least as many pages as this man did to
I will try NOT to reply with as many pages as Yale's posting required.
Her mother also indicated that she could be as bitter as Yale is
toward the BSA (what he calls BSA, INC. because he feels that the Boy
Scouts of America has become a big business and no longer concerned
about the boy in the program).
I guess at this time, I feel it neccessary to repeat why I am on here
and why I have such a strong feeling and respect for the BSA...and why
it *can do wrong*. I have served as a volunteer for the last twelve
years, serving as unit leader in three of the four programs, as
assistant leader in all of the programs, as a commissioner at the
unit, district, and local Council levels, as a member of three Council
Executive Boards and as a member of two separate Regional Committees
and several National Committees. I was always blessed with being at
the right time at the right instance when people needed work in a
specific area. It has been great, and the people I've worked with
were equally great, for the most part.
I have also been asked to leave Scouting by a local Council Exeucutive
in 1978. For that reason, I have personally "boycotted" one of our
local Councils of the BSA and won't set my foot again in
Georgia any more. I have a deep bitterness for that Council, the
Council Executive (whom felt that blacks should not serve no higher
than at the unit level and whom felt that volunteers should not know
anything about Council operations or how things are supposed to be
done). I was a visible threat to the way he had been covering things
up in that Council, which did not meet their SME goals for seven
consective years, and which allowed lots of illegial things to go on
there. How did *I* know about these things?? I did perhaps the same
things that Yale did, listened and asked questions. I had another
advantage, however: I used to serve as a Paraprofessional in Kentucky
and Tennessee, and therefore I KNOW how things are supposed to be done
according to how National and the Southeast Region wants them to be.
I later (through lots of friends) returned to Scouting where I
continue to be of service to those that need it. When this list was
formed, I joined it and stated then as now that since we will perhaps
NEVER get a professional to "really tell what happens in the local
Council operation from their side" that I would do so gladly. I would
also serve as the "buffer" or "devil's advocate" in issues dealing
with professionals and the structure of the BSA. Finally, I stated
that through my long association with many volunteers and
professionals, many of which now work in Irving, Texas as well as
in the four Regional offices, in large and small local Councils as
Scout/Council Executives, and those whom are just starting out as DEs
and Exploring Executives, I will find those answers that we can't come
to a conclusion ourselves with.
I also stated something else here that I will end this portion of the
discussion with: I don't always take the side of the BSA (and those
whom read my postings over the years, know this). The BSA is no more
infallable than any other agency or organization, and prides itself on
tradition, which can be bad in some cases as well as good. I have
know LOTS of great Executives in this program, and those can be
categorized into two large sections: those that don't give a care
about the money, the prestige or even the hours...they are wanting to
give back what they've received through the program; and those that
were hired to do specific tasks...they do them well, they get
compensated for doing them well....and that's ALL they care about.
Yale, as we had talked on the phone in detail about this, I really
feel terrible for you. As Jessiann told me last night "You can't
relate because you are NOT him. So don't". And I won't. I can tell
you that in my 25 years of Scouting, I have had 90 percent's worth of
great times, times that I would not trade even for all the gold at
Fort Knox; and I have had 10 percent's worth of terrible times, times
in which I felt betrayed, let down, ashamed and at one point, almost
to the point of being suicidal. When you have worked in a program for
as long as I have, only to have someone come up to you and tell you
"we don't need your service any more", and then quip "the blackeagle
finally got his wings clipped", you can *really appreciate* people
telling you that they're glad that you helped out, or that you have
done a great job in this role. I am truly sorry that because of a
set of circumstances, that you were unable to continue your Scouting
But please, just because you were not able to continue service, don't
fault the rest of us for wanting to do so. We all have various
reasons why we are in this program...some personal, some selfish, some
"sappy"-- ALL which are "valid" reasons.
Some of us *do* defend Scouting as if it was some strange religion.
But Yale, remember at some point in YOUR life, you also defended the
reasons why you joined Scouting to your peers. I had to defend it to
my parents, an extremely hard (and on-going) battle "especially when
those white people down there in Georgia didn't want you in their
program. Why are you STILL doing this?!"; to many of my peers at work
and elsewhere that feels that the BSA is racist, discrimatory, and at
best, not where they want to place their children (and most of them
don't have any); and yes, to some in Scouting circles whom still
believe that black men and women should be "seen in large numbers but
not in positions where they can do damage to the program from".
(don't tell Joe Johnson, the Northeast Region's Director, that...he
may decide to transform the entire Northeast Region into the Black
Scouts of America!! *laughter*)
So with all of that background, let me attempt to briefly respond to
your lenghty posting here (and no, that is NOT a flame...I have posted
long postings here as well):
First, this morning, I *did* re-read the Scout Handbook's explaination
of the Scout Law...something that I have been trying to follow since I
raised my right hand in the Scout Sign for the first time in 1971.
Please allow me to type in here what it says about the points of
Reverance, Obedience, and Loyality:
A Scout is Reverent: A Scout is reverent toward God. He is
faithful to his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.
A Scout is Obedient: A Scout follows the rules of his family,
school and Troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If
he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them
changed in an orderly manner rather than to disobey them.
A Scout is Loyal: A Scout is true to his family, friends,
Scout leaders, school, nation and world community.
(in the "best Scout Handbook written", Hillcourt's "The Official Boy
Scout Handbook", the staff expands on those two statements):
" You show that you are reverent to God by helping other
people, and by following the religious teachings of your parents and
religious leaders....It is our duty to respect others whose religion
may differ from ours, even though we do not agree with them."
" When you are older you can make your own decisions based on
the experiences you have gained."
" A chain is a strong as its weakest link. The success of
your patrol and troop depends on the loyalty of each boy in it -- in
the way you stick to your leaders and pitch in with the team, in the
way you act as a Scout."
As you can read here, Yale, there's no room for Scouts or Scouters to
behave as if the "BSA cannot be touched". Perhaps you are reading too
much into the replies we've sent to the list and feel that we will
defend the BSA to the very end. This too, is unfortunate, because
many of us (and I'll name names, Don Izard and Mike Walton, for two)
*don't like some aspects of the BSA's program* and we will tell you
so, using appropriate language. I don't believe that cults will allow
for such vocal and demanding dissention within their "ranks"!!
Yale, as I've wrote to you before and as we've talked before, the BSA
*won't apologize* to you, me, or the moon. This is one of the things
that the BSA has been known for, and will not change. The national
staff firmly believes that the standards of the BSA that has been in
place since its beginnings don't need any apologies...explainations,
yes, apologies, no. I would really recommend that you don't wait
around for the day in which the BSA will apologize to you for what
occured...because you will get a really great explaination of what
happened and how the BSA won't try to do it again...but as far as
getting the CSE or the Director of Operations to "apologize", don't
bet on it.
The statement that I wrote about the National Council and it's
relationship to the local Councils is true and not just ideology.
While some local Councils are being merged against their will the
MANNER in which their merger is being made is STRICTLY UP TO THE LOCAL
COUNCILS INVOLVED. There are several great examples in which the BSA,
looking at records of financial strenght, youth membership and number
of units (the basis for many decisions), decides that it's in the
interest of the YOUTH to fire or retire one Scout Executive and move
two or three field executives in an effort to deliver the best program
it can to the youth of that community.
One example is how the George Rodges Clark Council, headquartered in
New Albany, Indiana and the Old Kentucky Home Council, headquarted
across the river in Louisville, Kentucky, wee merged. It wass
coming...the GRC was losing lots of money and kids would rather go to
the OKHC's two great summer camps, one located right off from a suburb
of the city of Louisville. So, National told the two that you
must merge. So they met several times, decided that they would keep
BOTH Order of the Arrow Lodges for three years, decided that they
would keep BOTH camp properties for five years, and decided that the
three districts in the old GRC would become two, therefore losing one
executive. They also decided to find a place for the old Scout
Executive of the GRC, whom was within four years of retiring.
Please note, Yale, that these decisions in a great part were made by
VOLUNTEERS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL, and not by a bureucrat at either the
old Southeast Region or by professionals at National. They did get a
lot of support from the BSA's Council Support Division, and from the
new Southern Region's Operations office. But the FINAL SAY on how it
would be done, what the new name of the Council would be (Lincoln
Heritage, for the car trail that goes right through the area of the
Council) and when it would be implemented was the LOCAL COUNCIL's
Councils ARE local franchases...and "each one individually owned and
operated in a geographical area for the benefit of the youth residing
there". The BSA does NOT OWN them....
The Boy Scouts of America is part of a greater organization, the World
Association of Scouting Movements. However, the World Assocation is NOT a
organization in the true sence of the word. It only serves as a
clearinghouse for information about "local organizations" like the
BSA. In this sense, look at the WOSM as the "international Council"
to the BSA's National Council.
What you have heard about our past Chief Scout Executive and what I
was told are two separate instances...and I refuse to go into "not,
so, not, so, infinity...." discussions with you or anyone else on why
exactly he retired. Ben Love was perhaps not one of our better Chief
Scout Executives, but he tried to do his best in an extremely
difficult job with extremely hard pressures on all sides. He retired
so that the program could continue with a new outlook, a new
perspective and I am sure that Jere (Ratliff, the current CSE) will
bring his many talents and skills to the job and do an even better
The professional service of the BSA is NOT a special class, and I
bring Chief Ratliff's name up once more to remind you that at ONE
TIME, he too, was a volunteer...a Scoutmaster...a member of the
program...and a District Chairman *before* he joined the profession.
Yes, professionals tend to stick together...but so do most others.
Remember in school when all of the black kids (and a few white ones
that would dare to "buck the system") stuck together...sat together
and even defended each other?? Remember in college when folks started
talking about "those @#*&#-F0*#($ fraternities".... "they think that
they're so special with their letters and crap..they aren't any more
special than I am"?? Remember what you told them?? I can remember what
*I* said on lots of occasions: "It's not the letters...it's the
Same here. There's a LOT of bad in anything, no matter WHAT
organization or part of it you're wanting to talk about. Wanna talk
schools?? I can tell you about the way people are treated at
universities and colleges. Wanna talk churches?? I can talk about how
theres loads of problems with so-called "independent churches" that
"don't report to anyone except God Almighty". Wanna talk communities?
I can show you a quiet little town whereby they are *still living like
the 50s was still going on...* (they would not let my "mixed breed"
daughter and my white girlfriend go to SEVERAL "broken bathrooms"
during our visit). The point here is that for every BAD thing, there
are equally good things every place (like the white man that gave me
a full tank of gasoline and a hot meal when I needed both badly; like
the church in Iowa that not only opened up their arms to both Jessiann
and me, but also made us feel so at home that I wanted to live right
there...; like the school that wanted me to come to work there but
could not afford the salary I was asking for and gave me EVERY REASON
for coming to Florida to work for almost nothing.
I could, Yale, go on feeling terrible for myself at the fact that my
former wife took me for every penny I had and then some, only to leave
me for our next door neighbor...but I saw the good side of this...once
I got over the pain and anguish (and public embassment!!) that it
caused me then.
My grandmother (and I am sure yours as well) has a saying..."what goes
around, comes around" and I do believe that once you decide to move
FORWARD with your own live and stop trying to recapture everything
you've lost, no matter how painful, that those that were responsible
for your loss *will get theirs*. The SE that gave me the BSA form
letter got his three years later, along with another that terminated
his association as a professional forever. See, that's what I mean.
Yes, as I've discussed with several other people in this forum and
through private mail, the BSA can over-react and try to "rid itself"
of "what is perceived as problems" for the organization. It is a
PRIVATE ORGANIZATION. They can do those things AT WILL. Nobody --
volunteer, professional, kid -- has a "private contract" with the BSA
to stay in forever.
To answer your direct question on how many cases have I heard about
that the BSA has been working on...I cannot answer your question
accurately. I can say that I have heard about cases going back to
1974 of professionals and volunteers that have been "caught" in
uncomprising situations with kids and they have been told to leave
the program. But to sit here and spout out undocumented numbers, I
There are some parents and others that will "take the money and run".
If that was me, I would have opted for the public trial and not be
so greedy. But since I am *not* a part of the "establishment", I
cannot fully answer the segment on Day One (which as you stated
before, you ONLY received the transcript from...) on that particular
As for Blake Lewis (the BSA's hired spokesman...the BSA don't do their
own external communications anymore; they hired a public relations
firm based in Dallas to do that for them..and the results have been
really, really bad all the way around...it was a cost-cutting move
that saved the BSA lots of money, but at the same time, enpowered
Blake and his counterparts to speak about Scouting when he has no
*real idea* what he is explaining), he is being paid to communicate
the Scouting story to the press...and NOT to answer specific claims
about cases. You want to fire him, write National and tell them to
fire their PR firm and get in there professionals that KNOW the
program and are willing to take the heat for the BSA.
I have been recommending that for the years that I was associated with
the BSA on the national level...and the bottom line has been "we can't
find a professional with the skills needed and the willingness
neccessary to represent the BSA every time something like this
occurs _and_ to do all of the administrative things we demand from
that office". Unacceptable to me, too!
What was the application process that the first Scoutmaster had to
complete?? Would it stand up to today's demands for equal protection
and privacy?? Would it stand up to today's demands for knowledge of
his or her background?? Would it be discriminatory toward women, or
Catholics (remember, Yale, that the BSA did not have a kind eye toward
Catholics until the Catholic Commission on Scouting was formed in
1917)? How about other racial minorities, particularly Hispanics??
My *personal estimate* of 500 cases per program year comes down to one
and a quarter cases per local Council....and it's incidents that I am
counting. Many of the incidents happen away from the "standard BSA"
activities...summer camps, camporees, etc. and happen during
"non-aware" events. These are events the BSA is *strongly
discouraging* whereby the Scoutmaster or Explorer Advisor calls up the
kids and say "HEY! Let's go camping at......" or whereby the youth
leaders come to a planning meeting and state, "...oh yeah...we've been
there before...my dad (or some other adult) took (a group or a couple
of Scouts) out there before...it's not bad" , to the shock of the
Scoutmaster or adult leadership.
To take ANY group of Scouts out ANYWHERE requires a local tour permit
now. I don't like it, because it does take away an aspect of Scouting
that I grew up with (and you did to), the independence of the unit
from the local Council and other authorities....it creates more
paperwork for the unit...at the same time, it DOES PROTECT THE YOUTH
_AND_ THE ADULTS _AND_ THE LOCAL COUNCIL_ from "allegations" that
someone did something to or with someone.
The Scout Executive's Code, in part, "respect all local Council and
national policies..." is the reasoning why I don't tell everything I
know about every case. If it does not have some relevance to the
administration and operation of my role as a professional, I don't
talk about it. Yes, there are several professionals that will take
that to an extreme, and yes, there are several Council/Scout
Executives that issue blanket "whatever goes on here don't leave the
office" statements to their staffs, but in either instance, this is
the same thing that goes in ANY large or small corporsmion or or
agency (for instance, at Lifeskills, I am forbidden from talking about
my clients to anyone...).
I will have to discuss the other aspects of your posting when I return
from work this evening, as I am already late for work.
Suffice it to say, I feel that the BSA is doing the best it can in
this area...and yes, like we all, we mess we messngs right and do some
really bone-headed things.
But we are ALL trying...and I would hope that someday, you too will
come around to doing the same. T and once again help out.
Settummanque!@Hey! I have GOT to get to work!!
Mike L. Walton
Scouter et. al...
( Settummanque, the blackeagle... ) )
( (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (among other "endearing" names) ( )
( AIS/MR Recreation/Leisure Specialist, Lifeskills Inc. ___)_ )
( Phone 502-782-7992 (home) 502-842-2274 (office) |-=-|] )
( 3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -------- )
( WALTOML@WKUVX1 / "No such thing as strong coffee, only weak people" )
( KYBLKEAGLE@AOL.COM (America Online) / (available Scouting speaker) )
( "I don't speak for Lifeskills, Inc. or WKU...but man, do I speak!!!!" )
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City