... threw Scouting out of the schools ...
Alan Houser (troop24@EMF.NET)
Sat, 17 Dec 1994 09:54:09 -0800
John Waidner <JTWaidner@AOL.COM> asks:
>What do you mean that "...they threw Scouting out of the schools"?
That was my statement. Back about 4 years ago when the gay issue hit
the fan, Berkeley (remember - home of PC-ness) decided that there was
no place for a discriminatory organization like BSA in the schools.
The issue was brought up by a parent in my Pack, an Eagle Scout at
that. The School Board voted to disallow any BSA unit to use school
facilities for meetings, and classroom recruitment was also prohibited.
I argued before the Board that Berkeley needed Scouting more than
Scouting needed Berkeley, but nothing would change that vote except
the right words from Irving, Texas.
The previous year Pack 1 had recruited about 20 kids (giving us about
55) and a dynamite group of parents who jumped into the program and
filled the positions. We were hot. Then came the United Way fiasco
(anybody remember that it was a $9000 grant for outreach into the
Hispanic community that triggered the whole thing?), and I lost all
but one of those parents, and he left the next year. Without classroom
recruiting, we managed only four new Wolf Cubs the next year. By the
middle of the next year, that den was gone. Our membership dropped to
the mid-thirties over the next two years (deceptive because there were
two large Webelos Dens who would leave after those two years), but we
were not recruiting any strong parents to take over. When my youngest
sons bridged into the Troop, the remaining parents didn't feel confident
that they could recruit, so they merged with a nearby Pack that was also
suffering from the same recruiting problems, but had some stronger
Since then, the school district has relaxed somewhat (the hardline
superintendent is gone), and classroom recruiting is back, sorta. The
combined Packs (both charters are still active) have had two successful
years of recruiting, and a third Pack is starting up next month, so Cub
Scouting in Berkeley may recover from that eventually. But it is now
taking its toll on the Troops: one failed to recharter this month (it
had actually folded much earlier in the year), and several others are
struggling. In Troop 24, we have exactly 2 Scouts recruited from that
two-year period (a third one transferred in from an East Coast Troop).
Fortunately, we have a solid core of older Scouts and a strong group of
younger Scouts who will be ready to move up when needed.
Alan R. Houser ** Scoutmaster, Berkeley Troop 24 ** firstname.lastname@example.org
** WWW page ** http://www.emf.net/~troop24/t24.html **
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City