scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Re: Arrow of Light
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM
Sat Nov 20 1999 - 20:39:06 CST
> From: Scouts-L Youth Group List [mailto:Scouts-L@listserv.tcu.edu]On
> Behalf Of Maryellen
> Sent: Saturday, November 20, 1999 9:17 PM
> But.. the question here is, in regard to the rules set before us, do we
> have the right to deny?
Absolutely. A unit can reject any application for membership, youth or adult,
for just about any reason they want. About the only thing that MIGHT cause
some flak would be racial discrimination. If we've heard, for example, that
Johnny is a problem is school we have no obligation to accept him in our troop
just because he wants to be there. Membership in the BSA, and in any
particular unit, is a privilege and, as such, can be denied, with or without
> The boy meets all of the requirements.. in no where does it say that the
> boy has emotional requirements.
Right, except that if you are asking other people to accept responsibility for
the health, safety, and welfare of your child they have the right to decline
to do so, for whatever reason.
> We can not go along making arbitrary rulings based upon what we feel
> is in the boy's best interest when National guidelines for AOL stipulate
> that the boy can earn it when he is "six months out of 4th grade"
We have to live every day of our lives making those decisions and since there
is nothing that prevents us from rejecting the application, to not do so when
we believe doing so is the right thing to do would be indefensible.
> And the Troop guidelines say that he may join the Troop when he has
> earned his AOL.
He has met the requirements to join the Boy Scouts. That doesn't mean he has
the right to join any particular troop. If troop A doesn't want him, go find
troop B. Or, maybe, try to objectively evaluate the situation and decide
whether or not the troop might not be right.
> I have yet to see a Troop reject a boys application as long as he meets
> all of the guidelines for membership.
It isn't done often, but they have the right to do so.
> And how do we know it is in the best interest of the boy when we don't
> know him and we are grouping him in with a generalization? Youth
> these days are maturing at faster rates than we did when we were kids
> and IMO National recognizes that fact in making allowances for boys to
> enter Scouting at all different ages.
We don't KNOW, but we can only act on what we believe to be in his best
interests and, if there is a difference of opinion the family is free to go
> If you have a SCOUT (note that word) not Parent, that has earned his
> rank, then why is it in their best interest to turn them down for their
Because when you put a 9 year old (remember this started with a Scout who
skipped a grade or two) in a Boy Scout troop there is a real possibility that
he is not physically or emotionally ready to carry his weight in the unit and
also a real possibility that his presence will have an adverse impact on the
experience of the rest of the Scouts in the unit, which is another thing that
the leadership must take into consideration when making the decision. This is
not just about what is right for the applicant, it is about what is right for
all of the other Scouts and families in the unit.
> In the case of my son, he has worked to earn his AOL on his own.. he
> was the only Webelos in his pack and he had to treat it like merit
> badges.. look at the merit badge counselor list and come up with
> somebody to contact that can teach him the pin, call them himself and
> find out what he needed to do and then do it and meet with them for the
> rest of the requirements. I of course went with him to these meetings
> but he had to do the work, not mom. I told him if he wanted to earn it,
> he could or he could wait til he was old enough to join the Troop.. either
> way was fine. He had quit the other unit that he was with because he
> was unhappy there (I don't want to go into the reasons, but they were
> valid to him enough to make him want to quit Scouting altogether and
> there were no other units at the time in this area that had Webelos (we
> live in a rural area) ) The fact is here, that he did the work,
> and is ready
> to move on..
This has never been about your son, and he may very well be ready to bridge at
10 years and 2 months. BUT that does not mean that any troop you approach is
required to accept him.
Bruce E. Cobern
Founders District, Queens Council, NY