scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: ownership Response (long, possible venting beware)( was RE: Drunk Dad)
DeGhelder, James (James_DeGhelder@BMC.COM
Tue Mar 21 2000 - 10:06:48 CST
The letter I received from the Executive Scout of Sam Houston Area Council
states "Sever ALL ties with BSA."
Sounds like I can't participate in any scouting function under the control
I believe that if the leaders of the BSA (Chief Executive Scout/Executive
Scouts/District Executives etc.) says to not associate with BSA then
wouldn't it be a violation of the Scout law to disobey the request of those
individuals and still continue to participate? I believe one of the 12 is
"obedient". I try to follow the rules and if I don't agree with the
rules/rulings I work within the system to change the rules. That is what I
tried to teach the boys during the citizenship merit badges, mainly because
that's what I believe.
Also, there is a question of ownership of the unit. I guess that I disagree
that the Charter Organizations own the unit, they provide guidance and
direction but ownership? usually ownership belongs to whoever pays for the
unit and in the case of liability claims BSA "owns" the unit. Who gets sued
when something goes wrong? I know my Charter Organization cannot afford the
liability insurance that the BSA carries for the units.
Also, BSA provides all the training material, rules, and policies that the
units operate under. In the charter document the only thing the Charter
organization provides is a place for the unit to meet, and to provide the
leadership (COR and CC). So, who really does "own" the unit. It is only
the BSA that can form a unit and once formed BSA can revoke a unit. The
charter organization cannot form a "Scout" unit without BSA, it can form a
youth group and not call it "Scouts". So, if the term Scouts is used then
BSA owns it. Also once a group is designated as "Scouts" they must operate
the unit under the BSA rules, In SHAC the council has even enacted a rule
that specifically outlaws the "family camps" where Cub Scout units would
camp overnight on non-BSA property, They have also forbidden the use of
community services like parks, centers, and historical monuments that
provide overnight resources for Cub Scouts. If the unit wishes to
participate then they cannot have anything that identifies them as "Scouts"
(including the t-shirts with the unit designation so popular with all
units). So who really "owns" a Scout unit? This like all things in life
comes down to who holds the purse strings. And in this case it's BSA.
I am the IH for several units and having an understanding of what is
supposed to happen between the BSA, the unit, and the CO doesn't really help
in real life. I have put in what I thought was a good COR but now it turns
out that he chose to hide the actions of the units from the charter
organization (thus allowing BSA to revoke me without the CO knowledge). You
will probably say "then replace you COR that your prerogative!" and I
thought about doing just that and even had another member lined up to take
the position. But because of the Councils actions IF I try to replace him
now (the revocation occurred at the end of last summer) there are some
political issues(always a problem) where it will appear to be a retaliatory
action and that will have detrimentally affected all the units. I must be
aware who am I harming, and when the answer is the boys I work to find a
When I was coaching little league I always said that the job would be much
easier without the parents(tongue in cheek). The problem wasn't the boys
it's the adults. Me and the boys got along great, My sons worked well
within their patrols, one was even the ASPL at the time of our revocation.
The other had just crossed over six months earlier but was having a
rewarding time (fun, learning, and sharing) with his new patrol, and was
just elected patrol leader.
And by the way, no one from the council ever talked to us to tell us why we
were being revoked to uncover the truth about any information given them for
anything. Do I know why we were revoked? I have an idea but do not know the
specifics as to what we did that so violated the Scout Oath, Scout Law, or
Scout Motto. I'm not saying we were perfect My boys made some mistakes as
all boys are prone to do, we never made excuses for them. When they did
something wrong they had to fix the wrong and make an apology to all parties
involved. They knew that and always accepted punishment with dignity. But
when the "leaders" started dolling out punishment rather than asking boys to
call their parents and remove them until they could participate properly, I
had a problem. I voiced my concern rather strongly. So now BSA is
"punishing" me and my family for our actions.
All the actions taken against us was without due process, Oh don't tell me
that BSA can do anything it wants to. If we are teaching the boys about
this great country, about the justice system, about how men and women died
to provide us with the freedoms we enjoy, including due process. Then the
BSA better practice what they preach. Remember morals are not taught they
are caught. Example is more important. So now my boys are getting a lesson
on how unfair and hypocritical the BSA really is and they are really
anti-BSA and will probably carry it for the rest of their lives. I'm trying
to show them the idea is better and that in their own lives to give due
process to others. But it's hard when something like this happens.
Severing all ties with BSA.