This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
by chri s tucker


MEMBERSHIP Our ‘Family Discussion’


by bryan wendell


When the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its long- held membership policy last  coverage and national atten- tion to the issue, some leaders thought this signaled an end to the conversation. Not so, as you no doubt


know. As BSA President Wayne Perry recently said, many unit- level volunteers weren’t aware of the policy barring openly gay Scouters and Scouts before the reaffirmation. “What we  that it started a very intense conversation,” he said. In that eight-month conver-


sation, Perry emphasized that he didn’t speak with outside special-interest groups with no affiliation to Scouting. Instead, he said, “I heard only from Scouters, people with different views than my personal views. “It was hard, because people told me their Scouting commitment, and it touched you; it touched your soul. These are good people. They are people of faith that have a different view than I do.” That’s why Perry, Chief


Scout Executive Wayne Brock, and National Commissioner Tico Perez—the National Key  call a “family discussion” that will continue through May. Who’s invited? The


 organizations; council and district volunteers and profes- sionals; volunteer committee members; and Scouters and


6


Scouts. Local councils spent the past months contact- ing volunteers and gathering feedback. The result of this “family discussion” is expected to be a resolution presented in May at the National Annual Meeting  voting members of the national council, a group consisting of volunteers from every local BSA council who have already been named as voting del- egates. Much like the Electoral College, the number of del- egates is based on a council’s membership; larger councils get more voting delegates. Nothing has been decided.


The resolution, which will be distributed to voting members  can be viewed on our blog, blog.scoutingmagazine.org.


Why now? This dialogue didn’t come out of the blue. The reaffirma- tion prompted the National Executive Board to launch discussions about the issue, including a conversation about potentially amending the policy to allow chartered organizations to accept Scouts and Scouters consistent with their organiza- tion’s principles or beliefs. And throughout this dia- logue, National Commissioner Perez said he’s heard from passionate Scouters on both sides of the issue. Out of that passion, emerged something positive. “At the end of the day,


SCOUTING ¿ 


we’ve learned one thing: We are the Boy Scouts of America. America cares about who we are. America cares what our brand is. America cares about what we do, and that’s the silver lining in all this,” he said. “That’s pretty special—[I received] 


A big tent Scouting’s a big organization.   You’ll find packs, troops, teams,  states and even some in Scout units overseas. As is true of our country as a whole, Scouts, Scouters, and Scout parents have diverse beliefs about a number of issues—religion included. “We’re a big tent,” Perez


said. “We accept and welcome all faiths. There are a lot of faiths in this movement.” And Scouts are taught to


respect others, regardless of any perceived differences. That’s why Perez, Perry, and 


stressed that they aren’t pushing Scouters to take one side or the other. They’re merely presenting feedback from coun- cils and volunteers and helping to empower stakeholders to make an informed decision and do what’s best for the BSA. - lar purpose in mind: to grow Scouting,” Perez explained. “To take Scouting to as many boys and girls as we can in America. To make certain that we, who are America’s last, greatest hope, continue to thrive over 


What now?


When the BSA announced on Feb. 6 that it would begin a three-month review of the membership policy, it also vowed to leave no stone unturned. That means commit- tees are reviewing the concerns of youth, chartered organiza- tions, and parents, in addition to discussing financial, fund- raising, and legal concerns. (Continued on Page 8)


ROGER MORGAN/BSA FILE


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60