Re: BSA National Update (Week...
Peter Sanger (peter@DUTMPW1.TUDELFT.NL)
Sun, 16 Oct 1994 15:41:44 MET
Dear readers of SCOUTS-L,
On Fri, 14 Oct 1994, Michael A. McDonald (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
> Important clarifications on what BSA positions non-US citizens may
> hold. Summary: Non-US citizens may not register as unit leaders or
> den leaders or Charter Organization reps. They may register as
> assistants in most unit positions well as committee chairs and
On Sat, 15 Oct 1994, Kathie Cerveny (email@example.com) wrote:
> Actually no adult may register in our country's Scouting movement
> without written permission from their country of citizenship, AND the
> approval of the CR for the unit.
- permission from country of citizenship:
The authorities in my country (the Netherlands) will refuse to give
this written permission. Not because they don't want me to join
BSA, but just simply because they don't see it as their task to
give or deny permission for their citizens to join private
organizations in other countries.
But I guess what's meaned is that I would need written permission
of the national scouting organization in the country of my
citizenship. As to this, I don't expect national scouting
organizations are really interested in doing this kind of paper
work. They therefore will give this permission automatically,
just because this is the way bureaucracy works. Don't ever expect
added value of these kind of rules. BSA has its own responsibility
in accepting and registering members. Given the cultural
differences between countries, only the local national scouting
organization can answer the question whether somebody is able
to bridge the cultural (and perhaps language) gap and contribute
in a useful manner to the scouting group he/she wants to join.
An other point is that if somebody has a foreign nationality
this does not imply that he or she has ever been a member of
a scouting organization in the country of citizenship.
Any member of Scouting Nederland, could ask, before going abroad,
for a Letter of Introduction. It is merely a document that states
that the bearer is a member of Scouting Nederland and asks foreign
scouting organizations to offer this person the facilities it
offers to local scouts (accommodation, camp sites, scout
activities etc.) It is given to every member that asks for it,
without looking in his/her scout record.
- approval of the CR of the unit: Whats the CR? Please keep
in mind SCOUTS-L is an international list. Try to avoid
these abbreviations. Nobody outside the USA understands it.
> Why? 1. It is in our rules (as it is in most countries) ...
I really hope that you are very wrong on stating that it is in
the rules in most countries. In my country (The Netherlands) it
certainly is not. A rule like this would even be in conflict with
the law (and therefore automatically invalid) as it is regarded
as discrimination on basis of nationality.
> ... as we ask
> our leaders to say the Pledge of Allegiance to OUR flag (not some
> other country) and to be a "participating citizen" thus enabling each
> adult to be an example of the "participating citizen" (in this country
> - as that means different things in different countries) we are
> charged to teach each boy we work with or indeed near in Scouting.
Change the rules: say the pledge of allegiance to the flag of BSA
or to the flag of WOSM. You are not only citizen of the USA. You
are in the first place a citizen of the world community. Your personal
responsibilities include the well-being of people outside the
> It would be VERY difficult for me to lead a little boy in India in
> supporting his government, as an American, I do not know that
> government, culture, etc. The same holds true here and everywhere.
If you choose this comparison, you are making it a somewhat
demagogic argument. If a Canadian comes to the USA or a German comes
to the Netherlands, I don't see a problem. These cultures are
much the same. My wife (Dutch citizen) is a scouts leader in
Sweden. I never heard her complain on this subject.
All that matters is if somebody has an eye for and knows how to
respect the existing differences. Once this is overcome, there
is only added value, because knowledge of the social and legal
system of an other country helps you very much in understanding
and appreciating the values and benefits of these systems.
There are a lot of things in life that people take for granted,
just because they never have asked themselves why it is as it is
and do not realize that things could be organized in a different
manner. Foreigners may start to question things because they know
that in their home country things are different. This is a good
starting point for identifying the advantages or disadvantages
of habits in a country. You therefore do not need to understand
all of a culture in order to contribute to the education of the
youth members or even leaders in the scouting pack joined.
We don't have to learn the boys and girls how to support their
government, but we have to educate them exploring their own values,
in developing their personal opinions and values and awareness of
responsibilities to themself and other people. Once they know
this, they know how to support their government as a good
citizen, but also when not to support their government, because
unfortunately, governments are not always doing the right
> > Is this a good policy? If so - why? If not - why not?
> Yes - if we plan to uphold our aims of the
> Boy Scouts of America program ---
> 1. Good character
> 2. Personal Growth
> 3. Participating citizenship (in our country---we can only hope that
> other adults and countries do not proport to know every country, and
> try to develop citizenship for lands unknown.)
No - if the BSA limits the concept of participating citizenship
to citizenship of the USA. I think that citizenship comprises
citizenship on several levels, varying from family, class room or
local community scale to national and even international scale.
This awareness is one of the reasons that scouting organizations all over
the world have decided to cooperate in WOSM and WAGGGS.
The most valuable thing we can learn the boys and girls on
citizenship is not what the rules and obligations are but why we
have rules and obligations towards other people. This is
independent of the citizenship of a specific country.
Yours in scouting,
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City