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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Leading Scouts September 23, 2008 8:21 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Of Interest, Scouts
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Last night I took a break from programming to do something important to me. As a Boy Scout Leader, I mentor boys between the ages of 11 and 18 to help them develop life skills and build character. I have skipped the past 3 meetings or so to work as well as the past couple of outings. Scouting is a volunteer organization in which you practically pay to participate. The activities are often expensive and there is enough training and time sinks to turn Scout leadership into a full-time job. There are professional Scouters and I personally think that would be a blast! I derive as much from the Scout program as the boys. My leadership skills stay sharp and grow better. I am reminded of my lessons as a Scout in wilderness survival, first aid, and just being a good person. I also learn new skills, particularly cooking. I work with a great group of intelligent, achieved adults and the boys in the program are outstanding. These are our future leaders!

Cliff Stoll implored us to "teach a class" and he was meaning to take 4-5 days a week and teach children in a classroom setting. Scouts does not meet his 4-5 day request but is still teaching. I relate to Clifford Stoll’s meaning. I hope you too teach children in some way be it Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, a church, or just interacting with them in your neighborhood. Be a mentor!

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1. Morgan - September 23, 2008

My little “goddaughter” just joined girl scouts and she is so excited. I would have killed for the opportunity to be a scout of some sort as a kid. My sons dad has his Eagle and my son did it a while, got his arrow of light, then lost interest. His group was one sponsered by his dads church, the mormons so I wasn’t too upset he lost interest. However, when I found out their exclusion of athiests and homosexuals I was a little disenchanted.

I feel very strongly about mentoring. Both my boyfriend and I had adults step in and give us guidance when our parents were less than helpful and these people really do help shape your life and make you want to give back to your community. I try to give my sons friends guidance when any chance presents itself and would love to help teen mothers, since I was one myself.

2. Doug McCaughan - September 24, 2008

Penn and Teller on their program Bullshit did an excellent piece on The Boy Scouts of America. Interestingly enough, if you go to minute 7:48 in this Youtube video, they discuss that the discrimination of atheists and homosexuals did not come around until the early 80s and they attribute it to the Mormon Church.

This shit about throwing out gays and atheists is all fairly new. It’s got nothing to do with the Boys Scouts we grew up with. It was in the early 1980s that the BSA began pursuing a vigorous policy of excluding gays and atheists from their vision of America.
What happened to the Boy Scouts is that during the time I was a boy member, the Boy Scouts was essentially kidnapped by the religious right and in particular the Mormon Church.

[Source, Penn & Teller Bullshit, P&T Bullshit The Boy Scouts Part 1, 7:48-8:18]

In the second part, they cite the 1972 leader manual as an example of how scouting changed in the 80s.

All of which is ironic, when you consider that in the scout master’s 1972 handbook it says "You do not undertake to instruct Scouts, in any formalized manner, in the subject of sex and family life. The reasons are that it is not construed to be Scouting’s proper area, and that you are probably not well qualified to do this." Of course, 1972 was pre-Mormon Boy Scouts[Source, Penn & Teller Bullshit, P&T Bullshit The Boy Scouts Part 2, 1:44-8:18]

I’m sure Youtube will yank all these videos soon enough. In the mean time, you can catch Part 3 here. Penn and Teller’s Bullshit is far from objective reporting and this episode makes one squirmy. However it is eye opening to BSA policy, the Scouting program is still excellent and each troop unique. I bet you can find some troop’s that are more tolerant than others. And once a boy or girl (Girl’s are allowed into the BSA’s Venturing program) joins a troop or crew, they can always transfer to a different troop or crew for any reason. Find one that fits!I have spoken to adult leaders who have hinted at their lack of faith. That does not mean they are not good leaders or that they are incapable of helping the scouts find their own spiritual path. I am sure there are very capable homosexual leaders in the scouts who stay in the closet to be able to lead. Personally, that bothers me none.

Hearing about adult mentorship helping you at your time of need gives a good feeling. When you are ready to help those teen mothers, I’m sure Cathy or TN Voices for Children could get you in touch with the right people.

3. morgan - September 24, 2008

Actually I own the first 3 seasons of Bullshit and its what largely made me upset with the BSA. I’m sure troops not run by the church are more inclusive, but it made me sad the one leader couldn’t teach boys the joy of scouting because of his sexuality.


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