scouts-l Mail Archive for July of 2000: Re: Dale Decision - Thoghts
Alexandria Lone Scout (scouts_alex@HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Jul 30 2000 - 11:45:23 CDT
This has little to do with the Dale Decision. Frankly, BSA made its point
and now it it is time to get on with making the program work for the benefit
of the movement. I'm afraid the epistle goes on a bit longer than intended
but the juices are flowing this evening.
The executive summary is that scouting has always adapted to fill the needs
of its members. Where it, or any other organization, doesn't adapt it
withers and dies.
It is more an observation that the scouts and scouters that I grew up with
adapted to the times they lived in. I can well remember attending pack and
troop meetings in the 1950s and 1960s where adult leaders smoked and chewed
tobacco products without thought of impropriety. Roundtables in the early
1970s when I was first an SM had ashtrays on the tables that were sometime
overflowing at the end of a meeting and the air thick with smoke. I can also
well remember outings during which "spirits" were consumed by leaders in
moderation and card games were played for something other than matchsticks
on long winter nights while the wind pounded on the roof. I'm not passing
judgement on those excellent leaders of my youth but making the observation
that at the time those activities were considered benign normal behavior on
outings and at meetings. Now the worm has turned and such activities in the
BSA context are looked upon with something less than wholehearted
If we look back at our BSA roots without rose tinted glasses we will find
that the pristine past actually had some smudges here and there. Segregated
camps amd troops and not just in Jim Crow country. My home council in
southern California had an overlay district that existed only for non-white
units no matter where they were located in the council. There were troops
that had their charters revoked because they were Japanese, or German, or
Chinese, Mexican, or... A bit of trash and some events that are best
unrecorded and forgotten through the attrition of corporate memory. More
than one early council failed because the CE or volunteer treasurer
dinky-dooed with funds. Scouting is made up of people that live and breath
in their time and social context.
I also remember Scouting before women were generally allowed to participate
in the Scout program in any way except hauling scouts, washing filthy
uniforms and field clothing, sewing patches in those pre-iron on days,
cooking meals for potlucks and banquets, and generally getting little
recognition for lots of hard work. Women were the backbone of Cubs but for
some reason the bar dropped down when the uniforms went from blue to green
khaki. The change, whenever that happened, was the single biggest positive
decision made by BSA since I've became involved in 1956. The revolution that
started isn't over.
There was at least one juvenile homosexual in my troop as a youth. He
managed to keep himself in check and had heterosexual scout buddies. Most of
the scouts were not even aware of his orientation. I didn't know myself
until I became SM and his father passed on the information. He was afraid
for his son. This was 1970. Since his son was an excellent scout I had no
problems with it. It was almost as if he had told me that his son liked
girls. So what. He eventually became an Eagle Scout.
I am pro-scouting for everyone that can benefit from the program. There are
few people that can't find some benefit in scouting so it behooves the
program, for its own health, to get a bigger shirt and get on with the
program in all its facets. The program as conceived by the founders was
designed to be inclusive and open to all that wanted to participate.
Sponsors could, and still can restrict a units membership to members of the
sponsoring group but few do. In fact many church sponsored units have few
members that are drawn from the sponsoring church.
Well. Time to bring this to a halt. This reflects my beliefs about scouting
as a movement and organization. My spin and thoughts only. Your miles may
and probably will vary.
Yours in Scouting,
Alexandria Lone Scouts, BSA
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