As most everyone knows the BSA recently made a decision to change its membership policy to allow openly gay youth to participate. Here is the release from the BSA regarding their decision:
For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, with a focus on working together to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.
“Based on growing input from within the Scouting family, the BSA leadership chose to conduct an additional review of the organization’s long-standing membership policy and its impact on Scouting’s mission. This review created an outpouring of feedback from the Scouting family and the American public, from both those who agree with the current policy and those who support a change.
“Today, following this review, the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting’s history the approximate 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Council approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place. The BSA thanks all the national voting members who participated in this process and vote.
“This policy change is effective Jan. 1, 2014, allowing the Boy Scouts of America the transition time needed to communicate and implement this policy to its approximately 116,000 Scouting units.
“The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue. As the National Executive Committee just completed a lengthy review process, there are no plans for further review on this matter.
“While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting. Going forward, our Scouting family will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth in order to help them grow into good, strong citizens. America’s youth need Scouting, and by focusing on the goals that unite us, we can continue to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.
As I expected there has been fallout. Many people have decided they can no longer allow their kids to be a part of the program. Many have decided they can no longer be adult leaders. Many have called this the darkest day in BSA.
This last weekend I asked my youngest son what his take on it was. He told me that he didn’t mind that it was changed. He then said that he only thought it was right to allow every kid the right to have the same experiences he has access to enjoy. Mind you this is coming from the mind of a 12-yr-old. He made his Mom and Dad very proud. Scratch up a parenting win for us.
I realize that many people are hurt and upset about this decision. Many feel that the BSA betrayed them by allowing LGBT youth into the program. Hello folks, they were here all along and just hiding the fact that they are gay. Sure many have not been in the program and might join now. Let them come. As my son said, they deserve the opportunity just like he has had.
I encourage every adult that is a leader now to stay the course no matter which side you stand on. Swallow your pride and open your mind just a little. Just because the BSA voted to change a policy last week it doesn’t change the most important thing. There are youth in this country that STILL need you!