Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: What the BSA is here for
What the BSA is here for
Mon, 9 Aug 1999 15:15:40 -0400
I've gone over this before, and caught some heat for it, but the NJ ruling
has enticed me to go over it again. Basically, the NJ case was about an
adult volunteer who felt that he had some right which was denied to him by
the BSA. I don't want to get into whether the BSA's reasons are just or not
- that's been beaten to death. But what is the BSA here to do?
I believe that the BSA *is* here to train and promote ethical, moral,
leadership among our Nation's boys.
The BSA is *not* here to give adults the satisfaction and sense of pride in
knowing we are making a positive difference in the world, although many of
us (myself included) do benefit from this.
The BSA is *not* here to provide adults with the chance to live in God's
great outdoors, although many of us use the BSA for this purpose.
The BSA is *not* here to offer a social life to adults, where they may get
together with like-minded adults to share stories and other fellowship,
although that type of thing certainly happens.
The BSA is *not* here to bring importance to the lives of adults who feel
they're stuck in menial jobs, although I know of several who use the BSA for
The BSA is *not* here to put any feathers in any adults' caps, giving them
the chance to brag about their scouting accomplishments, positions of
responsibility, knowledge, etc., although I'm sure we've all met more than a
few boisterous individuals.
The BSA is *not* here to give adults an outlet for playing politics, or a
good ol' boys club, or a social clique, although that happens, all too
frequently, I'm afraid.
In short, the BSA is *not* here for adults. Period. We, the adult leaders,
are here to provide role models, support, organization, etc. We, the adult
leaders, are here to help this program along, not benefit from it. Benefit
we do, but it had better never be at the expense of the real purpose.
So unless this NJ man really, really felt that there wasn't enough quality
adult leadership in his area and that the scouts absolutely needed his
presence, then I feel he put himself above the needs of the scouts. His
needs cost the BSA in legal fees, negative publicity, and hurt feelings all
So my suggestion, again, is to stop giving membership cards to adults. By
offering full membership, then we just might be implying rights that, in my
opinion, don't exist. Give us a different card - even a different color,
identifying us as adult volunteers with the BSA. And maybe, just maybe,
it could send a message to the very few adults who are here for personal
benefit at the expense of the boys.
Just an opinion from the trenches.
SMA - Venture, Troop 98