Replies and Thoughts
Sheldon L. Holtz (shel@WELL.SF.CA.US)
Sun, 31 Oct 1993 18:16:27 -0800
I think I had about six or seven topics in my post, "What s On My Mind Tonight."
watchwords, "Don t discuss religion or politics" seems to be right on -- the onl
that seems to have generated any kind of response was about the Girls Scouts and
Well, okay. I appreciate the discussion. Now, my response, most (but not all) of
directed to Mike Kilgore. First off, the Girl Scouts did *not* revise their oath
; they merely
decided to allow girls to substitute the approrpriate proper noun for the word G
understand your argument about the BSA s Declaration, and about the notion that
supposed to be a somewhat generic proper noun, excluding only those beliefs that
recognize a God-like entity. However, as well-intentioned as this may be, the si
mple fact is
that the word "God" is a *Western* word, and *does*, in fact, exclude religions
should not be excluded. In our troop, we have an ASM who is Japanese. Half his r
are Buddhist, he says, and they do not recognize the use of the word God. Howeve
Buddhism is a religion that the BSA *would* want to include.
I m not suggesting the BSA did anything nefarious or evil here. On the contrary,
oath and the principles were written, most scouts were, simply, Western. With th
of other cultures into our society, and the assimilation of those cultures into
day life, most of mainstream America has begun to recognize the need to revise i
language out of respect and deference to those cultures. It s a broadening exper
Girl Scouts, in a desire to *not* be exclusionary, brought those other cultures
fold. IMHO, the BSA should, too.
This is *not* an issue of "political correctness." There is nothing wrong with b
sensitive. I highly recommend the book, "Beyond Race and Gender" by Roosevelt
Thomas, the best work I ve read on cultural diversity.
BTW, I raised Levi Strauss *not* in reference to their contributions practice, b
reference to their compensation practice (employees must live the corporate valu
es as well
as achieve their business goals in order to receive merit/bonus pay). This seems
been lost in the discussion of the company s contributions policy. I might note,
that Levi Strauss is hardly alone in adopting this type of pay structure. Apple
for instance, has done the same. Last year, something like 60 percent of all ann
included language on corporate values, and corporations are realigning their sys
reinforce their values. And, more and more, those values include celebrating cul
diversity. If anyone s interested, I d be happy to do a NEXIS search on the rece
literature on this topic. As a corporate communications specialist working with
500 companies, though, I can tell you from experience and from talking with othe
professionals nationwide that this is TRUE.
I was aware of, and like, the BSA Declaration. Unfortunately, the boys don t rec
declaration. They recite the oath. The oath limits the possibilites to the word
which is, plain and simple, unacceptable to a large number of people whom the sc
organization would like to include.
Why does change scare so many people? I worked in a company that paid weekly, an
when we went to twice-monthly, there was a near riot. Employees wrote letters an
staged protests, claiming that twice-monthly would be a hardship. Later, I worke
d for a
company that went the *other* way -- and we got the same protests and letters! O
the controllers with whom I worked recently suggested that our company name was
word in an obscure language that translated into, "Resist change."
Even the Catholic Church accepted change -- in the Second Ecumenical Council. Th
Scouts change frequently! New Patrols, eliminating Lions, two-year Webelos, revi
advancement requirements, woman Cubmasters and Scoutmasters, male Den Leaders --
come on. When it s right, it s right. Let s be an INCLUSIONARY organization!
Now, on to another topic. Tree-free toilet paper, Mike? Great idea! As it is, wh
en we did
the mummy wrap, the flip side was the kids rolling the toilet paper BACK onto th
e roll, so
it could be reused. That s right! Reusable toilet paper!
To Don Izard, re: merging councils. When I was just wrapping up four years worki
Camp Whitsett in the Southern Sierras, long about 1973, the San Fernando Valley
and (I think it was called) the Los Angeles Council merged. It didn t seem to ma
much of a difference to us kids. There was no doubt, however, listening to both
volunteer and professional scouters, that this was a political issue. One counci
money the other one had; the other needed the membership the first one had. Many
council opposed the merger, and when it went through, there were cries of ballot
stuffing and other improprieties. Of course, with the merger, a number of profes
clerical staff on the "losing" side lost their jobs. The bitterness lasted for s
I agree with you that there should be no US and THEM. The only side that should
is the boys side! Whenever money is involved, though, no matter what the organi
there will be politics, too. Sad, isn t it?
Now, for NEW news! Yesterday, three of us ASMs and the SM met (at the SM's new b
has been keeping him busy) to discuss becoming a more boy-run troop. To whoever
on this list who recommended the Troop Meeting Guides, THANK YOU! I picked up a
prior to this meeting, and took them to the meeting. Tomorrow night, we adults a
to "model" a boy-run meeting using these guides, so our junior leaders (who real
junior -- the oldest is 13) can watch. The following week, we will provide only
guidance. We're also incorporating ideas like awarding points to patrols that wi
inter-patrol competitions, etc. I also convinced them to have an outdoor overnig
every month, even if only two or three boys go. They agreed with the notion that
was the only way we'd ever build any momentum and enthusiasm for the program, an
some of these boys to partake in the scouting program at least one weekend a mon
instead of soccer. I'm very hopeful that this is the start of turning this troop
one that realizes at least a good measure of scouting's potential!
ASM, T549, Granada Hills, CA
Eagle Scout, 1969
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City