My husband and I had been puzzling over the Boy Scouts of America for some time. My husband was a scout, and we assumed our boys would be too. There are so many positives to the club – building life skills, fostering peer relationships, and helping in the community. However, when we learned of the anti-LGBT policies of the scouts (currently banning non-heterosexual parents from leadership and expelling gay scouts), we were dismayed. We weighed the variables.
We live in a rural area, and there isn’t a plethora of choices. BSA talks about re-assessing their policies from time to time, so maybe they’ll change their stance before our kids are older. My husband and I are not in the LGBT community, so while we oppose the policies, it wouldn’t prohibit us specifically from participating. And my 7 year old has classmates joining the local troop. In the end though, we just couldn’t do it. We felt that joining would send the message to the Boy Scouts, our kids, and the greater community, that we can turn a blind eye because this bigotry doesn’t affect us directly. We couldn’t reconcile that.
Before going on, I need to say that there are people in my life whom I respect and admire tremendously, who are amazing parents, and who do participate in the Boy Scouts. I don’t judge them nor am I addressing their specific decisions. I’m writing this to share why we made this choice for our family.
Since my husband and I decided to walk away from the idea of scouts, we were left to come up with an alternative. I decided to ask some local friends if they would be interested in forming a club. We could get the kids together once a month to work on life skills and socialize….sort of like a playdate with projects. If it sticks, over time we can consider appropriate community service endeavors. (more…)