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Controversy over Boy Scouts

November 13, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Would you let your kid join Boy Scouts?

The New York Times Motherlode blog has a posting this week by a mother who was reluctant to let her son sign up for Scouts, despite his very real interest. She objects to the organization's policy against allowing gay men to be Scout leaders.

I was a Girl Scout, but only for a year or two. I never enjoyed knocking on strangers' doors to sell cookies. My experience with the Boy Scouts is limited to the stories I have written about the organization and hearing about the car my brother built my nephew for the Box Car Derby. It sounds like they had fun.

Nationwide, though, it sounds like both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts have had their problems in the past few years. There has been controversy over the Girl Scouts' attempts to modernize. Across the country, Girl Scout camps are being sold and enrollment in Girl Scout troops has declined. Some parents object that the Girl Scouts are now too liberal.

The Boy Scouts have dealt with controversy over decades old abuse allegations by troop leaders, as well as the policy over gay troop leaders. There also seem to be some groups being started as alternatives to the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. Faith-based groups such as American Heritage Girls and the Little Flowers and the newly formed Trail Life USA, plus secular alternatives for "pagan" kids such as Spiral Scouts, are siphoning off kids who might otherwise have been enrolled in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. I don't know if any of those groups have chapters yet in North Dakota.

What has your experience been with Scouts? What, if anything, do you think should be done to help make them better?


Article Comments



Nov-15-13 1:13 PM

It's disappointing. If I go to McDonald's and request a "Whopper" they don't have it, I go to Burger King as that is the sandwich I would like. Now in today's times I can moan and complain, threaten lawsuits even, until McDonald's HAS to carry the "Whopper". Bottom line is this, here is an organization that has it's standards, goals and objectives clearly stated. If you don't like it, don't join, should be that simple. However, we are repeatedly changing everything for that fraction of the 1% of the population. Let the BSA do it's thing already.


Nov-14-13 10:56 AM

It's almost like they know how this works, and so use it to destroy all kinds of thing.


Nov-14-13 10:53 AM

Hmm, where else have we seen THIS dynamic at work???


Nov-14-13 10:52 AM


What should be done to help make them better? Just let them be what they want to be and let the market decide (i.e. will people continue to be involved).

I don't particularly care for the BSA myself, but my issues are completely unrelated to the manufactured controversies daily contrived seemingly for the express purpose of bringing down this organization. There was little need to make it "better" until a bunch of noisy rabble-rousers decided to smear them.

Ironically, these efforts have done exactly what I have said earlier: turn the market against the BSA. Problem is, it has nothing to do with letting the organization be itself. Rather, the organization has tried to satisfy the noisy rabble-rousers by changing, which in turn has alienated those who otherwise might have been interested in being involved.


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