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Author: TriSec    Date: 07/25/2016 00:38:26

Good Evening.

I hope some of you may have noticed the story working its way around Facebook last week. Imagine my surprise when it was printed on page A13 of the Boston Sunday Globe. (among others, I would presume.)

NEW YORK — There were dire warnings for the Boy Scouts of America a year ago when the group's leaders, under intense pressure, voted to end a long-standing blanket ban on participation by openly gay adults. Several of the biggest sponsors of Scout units, including the Roman Catholic, Mormon and Southern Baptist churches, were openly dismayed, raising the prospect of mass defections.

Remarkably, nearly 12 months after the BSA National Executive Board's decision, the Boy Scouts seem more robust than they have in many years. Youth membership is on the verge of stabilizing after a prolonged decline, corporations which halted donations because of the ban have resumed their support, and the vast majority of units affiliated with conservative religious denominations have remained in the fold — still free to exclude gay adults if that's in accordance with their religious doctrine.

Catholic Bishop Robert Guglielmone of Charleston, South Carolina, whose duties include liaising with the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, says he knows of no instances where a Catholic unit — there are more than 7,500 — has taken on an openly gay adult leader since the policy change. Gay sex and same-sex marriage are considered violations of church teaching.

The Boy Scouts' national leadership "has been wonderfully supportive," Guglielmone said.

Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention were unhappy with the BSA's easing of the ban on gay adults, but did not call on individual churches to disaffiliate with troops that they sponsored.

A year later, the number of Southern Baptist churches that did cut ties with Scouting is "in the double digits," far outnumbered by those who continued their sponsorships, according to Ted S. Spangenberg Jr., president of the executive board of the Association of Baptists for Scouting.

"We kind of like the way it looks," Spangenberg said. "if you're faith-based, it's within your right to select the adult leaders who are going to uphold the tenets of your faith."

Naturally, this generated some talk among the leaders at camp last week. You know where I come from; we always felt that Boston was the national leader here, and we're pretty pleased the rest of Scouting has finally caught up to us.

We're just back from said camp - and things went very well this year. My guys earned a grand total of 20 merit badges among them. We had new scouts participate in the "Trailblazer" program for new scouts, and one of the leaders *cough*TriSec*cough* even completed the Mile Swim. Some new boys stepped up into leadership positions, and indeed came back as different young men than what they were just a week ago when we headed out. It's all part of the process.

There are some random musings I have from last week...since it's Sunday evening, off we go.

I ran into a friend that is differently-winged than I, but we were able to have a civil conversation about the goings-on. As a Republican, he's pretty disgusted by his party, and sadly noted that he probably wasn't voting this year. But then he went on to further observe that being Scouts probably makes us different than everyone else - he knows where I stand, and we talked about it like normal adults. I have a hard time imagining the same conversation happening online.

My very dear friend from another unit was unable to make it to camp - she is one of the leaders for her co-ed Venture crew, and they didn't send any young ladies to camp this year so she bowed out. Both her own children were at camp though, one on staff, the other in the Provisional Unit for most of the summer. They are all wonderful people, upstanding citizens, and well-established members of society. Except one day, her 15 year old son will probably be harassed by the police for no reason other than the color of his skin. Doesn't matter if he's on the Eagle Track or not.

Camp being camp, there was a SNAFU. It was also "Eagle Week" last week, with an extra 52 young men in camp expecting to work on many required merit badges for the rank. Except the scoutmaster had his dates crossed up, and he had to back out - and many counselors also did not appear. The poor camp staff called an emergency Scoutmaster meeting and begged us to help out. I'm a counselor for First Aid merit badge, so of course I stepped in to help. We were promised a "special thank you", but none of us expected anything. We're Scouts - there is a need, and we volunteered to help. Not a single leader that was a counselor said no, and we were able to ensure that many scouts completed their requirements instead of having a disastrous week at camp.

I've said it before - in many ways Scouting is a closed society. We spent the week out in the woods, away from the media and the internet. Probably 500 persons of all races and genders spent the week doing what we do. It's always a shock to return and find out what we've missed.

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