scouts-l Mail Archive for May of 2000: BSA rules and policies
Wed May 03 2000 - 11:36:48 CDT
I want to thank all those who responded to my inquiry about mixed sex
leadership on mixed sex campouts. The basic response was "it is black letter
rule, there is no question or interpretation, you just do it." This, by the
by, is an interpretation I agree with. I would like however to stir the pot
just a bit more (actually circumstances are forcing me to make this further
I observe that the Guide to Safe Scouting has many rules and policies as well
as interpretive material (non bold face stuff). I note that one of those
bold face policies or rules defines unauthorized activities (in IX Sports and
Activities): "The activity commonly referred to as "War Game"-in which
individuals shoot paint or dye at one another-is an unauthorized activity."
I am aware of troops in my council who engage in this activity. I am aware
that there are posters on this list who are members of troops which engage in
this activity. Sometimes there is an attempt at justification or hair
splitting by saying that, well we didn't do it as a troop activity, so its
all right. But by and large the activity is at least condoned by some
The mixed sex leadership rule (for mixed sex campouts) is a rule given equal
importance in the Guide to Safe Scouting. They are both "black letter"
rules. Does this list have any sense that there is an ability to pick the
rules you have comfort with, or reject the rules you feel you can justify
rejecting? And how would you carry this out? Would you inform parents that
there is a rule and we are not going to follow it? Or would you just do it,
and assume nothing bad will happen (because after all you felt justified in
doing the activity). Is the troop liable to have its charter revoked if we
persist in this activity? Or is the SM subject to some other sanction?
I have always felt that we sign onto Scouting meaning that we sign up
agreeing to follow all the rules of Scouting. Therefore I try to follow all
the rules, uniforming, Guide to Safe Scouting, etc. But there are those who
disagree citing a higher purpose, including some on this list who argue that
not all the rules are good and they intend to wear synthetic BDUs or cammo
because "cotton kills" or some other justification. I am just having real
philosophic trouble with this issue of rules, especially since we seem to be
able, as Scouters to pick and choose what we wish to follow, "because of the
special circumstances that National cannot understand."
Help me out people.
Yours in Scouting,
G. John Marmet
Troop 156, Glenview, IL