Re: Boy Scouting and Sexual Morality
Jim Smith UT (jsmith@SAREK.OSMRE.GOV)
Tue, 17 Sep 1996 08:41:23 -0600
Although I do not pretend the following covers all Scouting situations,
I believe it is a (perhaps-too-obvious) answer that covers how at least
a large group of Scout leaders should be able to deal with questions or
situations regarding sexual morality.
Many (a majority?) of Scout Troops are chartered to religious
organizations; not only churches but also Knights of Columbus, etc. SM's
and other leaders in such Troops should not hesitate to expect the
Scouts to follow, at a minimum, the teachings, beliefs, and doctrines of such
sponsering organizations concerning sexual morality. There will, of
course, be Scouts who experiment or rebel or just plain goof-up, but the
standard, as appropriate to the age of the Scout, should be clear and
reenforced by the examples and words from the Scout leaders. How
deviations from that standard are dealt with within the Troop should be
consistent with the teachings of the chartering organization AND with the
spirit of Scouting, and be consistent from case to case.
If the SM or others are not comfortable discussing the subject of human
sexuality and sexual morality (and other aspects of morality also), the
sponser should be prepared to provide someone who can. These discussions
may range from one-on-one counseling (within YPP guidelines) to group
discussions or formal lessons or presentations. Parents should be involved
at least to the point of being informed what the principles and standards
of the chartering organization are and that the Scouts are expected to
follow those principles and meet those standards.
Even non-religious organizations may well have a moral or ethical
standard or policy that covers this question, and it should be honored.
As a non-religious source for help in this area, I suggest
your local government for materials and perhaps instructors on Sexual
Harassment Prevention, either for the leaders or, if appropriate, for the
youth. Even this may be going beyond the goals or methods of the Scouting
program and pushing Scouting into areas better left to the family or to
other counselors or organizations.
James D. SMITH
Utah Div. of Oil, Gas, and Mining
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Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City