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What do you think about cub scouts? see #53 - Page 2

post #21 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post
i have a problem with them because they don't allow gay people in, they won't allow gay leaders, they are para-military, they have cultural imperlist tendancies (sometimes out right racist) toward native americans, they want you to believe in god, they are very into people follow rules, they are a homosocial (ie only boys allowed) group.

dp was/is an eagle scout. He wants to be able to send his "eagle scout" card thing back and say that he doesn't want to be an eagle scout for all the reason above, except he can't find it to send it back.
These are my problems with BSA as well. As for the only boys (I don't have a problem with that), once you reach the age of 14, there is a branch of BSA called Explorer Scouts that allows girls. My Dh was a scout his whole life and an Eagle Scout. I do have a lot of respect for how his scouting experience made him a better person. Our boys will be in BSA because of my husband's history with them, but he knows my problems with the organization and their thoughts on homosexuality.

I was also a Girl Scout my whole life and then an adult Girl Scout (who incidentally grew up in an area without a GSUSA camp, and the local BSA camp allowed my troop [ages 15+] to attend ever summer even though we were girls). Girl Scouts and Girl Guides are not homophobic. In fact, this organization has done a lot to try to combat the atmosphere that BSA has promoted about scouting in general, going as far to create a line of rainbow GSUSA merchandise that read: "Girl Scouts celebrate diversity!" : GSUSA allows gay members and leaders as well as male adult Girl Scouts. Because of this, I certainly have no problems with the Girl Scouts.
post #22 of 80
Thread Starter 
Wow! Well, my son is sooo excited because they took _all_ the first grade boys to an in school assembly, not noted to the parents first! and he is already having shyness and social problems so now I feel stuck. I am so not into anything that is even don't ask don't tell about being gay. That really bothers me. And while I have no issues with a higher power and the pursuit of understanding and harmony with a person's idea of what that means, but organized religion is something I am not comfortable with. On the other hand, it is about the only group thing available in our area unless we do 4H and add lots of animals to our already large and varied menagerie, and I have no idea how much 'group' ness there is involved. I checked out the cubscouts table at the school open house and the moms I met were pretty cool, but I don't feel comfortable with the organization as a whole, how do I back pedal with my sweet little sensitive boy? The Earth scouts sound great, and I'd be willing to start a chapter if I had the mental tolerance - I'm mentally disabled and can't even keep a job, and we live so rurally and in one of the most Religious Rightwing areas of the country - a little over an hour from Grand Rapids, MI. Sigh.
post #23 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by harrietsmama View Post
Wow! Well, my son is sooo excited because they took _all_ the first grade boys to an in school assembly, not noted to the parents first!
This is one of the things that annoy me. Boy Scouts are allowed in schools as if they're school-sanctioned, yet they don't have to follow federal regulations because they're hiding behind the "private organization" banner. If it were me (and I'm sure it will be in a few years), I would just explain to my son that they believe in things we don't and that we're not going to permit him to be part of them. There are other things I wouldn't let my children do - go to Vacation Bible School at a Baptist church, for instance - and this is just one on the list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harrietsmama View Post
And while I have no issues with a higher power and the pursuit of understanding and harmony with a person's idea of what that means, but organized religion is something I am not comfortable with.
I would have no problem with this. In fact, I would encourage it. They don't really seem to do that, though. If you exclude atheists, then you're not exploring what the pursuit of higher power means for everyone. Plus they don't recognize the Unitarians, so they're no go for me on that, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harrietsmama View Post
it is about the only group thing available in our area unless we do 4H and add lots of animals to our already large and varied menagerie, and I have no idea how much 'group' ness there is involved.
I was in 4-H and didn't raise animals. I went to consumer judging, extemporaneous speaking (I can't remember their name for it now). I learned a lot from 4-H, and it's something I would encourage my children to do. You definitely can be involved and get a sense of group spirit, especially in terms of rooting for the people from your group even if you share diverse interests.
post #24 of 80
My son can't be involved in an anti-gay organization. We will try FFA or 4H when he is older.
We camp on our own.
In FFA, you don't have to keep the animal at your house.
post #25 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by harrietsmama View Post
Wow! Well, my son is sooo excited because they took _all_ the first grade boys to an in school assembly, not noted to the parents first! and he is already having shyness and social problems so now I feel stuck. I am so not into anything that is even don't ask don't tell about being gay. That really bothers me. And while I have no issues with a higher power and the pursuit of understanding and harmony with a person's idea of what that means, but organized religion is something I am not comfortable with. On the other hand, it is about the only group thing available in our area unless we do 4H and add lots of animals to our already large and varied menagerie, and I have no idea how much 'group' ness there is involved. I checked out the cubscouts table at the school open house and the moms I met were pretty cool, but I don't feel comfortable with the organization as a whole, how do I back pedal with my sweet little sensitive boy? The Earth scouts sound great, and I'd be willing to start a chapter if I had the mental tolerance - I'm mentally disabled and can't even keep a job, and we live so rurally and in one of the most Religious Rightwing areas of the country - a little over an hour from Grand Rapids, MI. Sigh.
Heather, 4H isn't all about animals. They do a lot of other things, too, so you don't have to keep animals. You might want to check it out. I know GR also has Campfire Girls and Boys, so there might be chapters out your way. It's worth looking into. When ds1 gets a bit older, we're going to look into either Campfire or 4H. Dh was a boy scout, but for the reasons mentioned by pps, we're not going that route with our boys.
post #26 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
Heather, 4H isn't all about animals. They do a lot of other things, too, so you don't have to keep animals. You might want to check it out.
This is exactly what I was going to say. I did 4H for a year or two after I dropped out of Girl Scouts (the leader was mean), and I never had an animal other than the family dog (who was not involved in my 4H projects). I remember enjoying 4H.
post #27 of 80
Does anyone know if there are any of the same issues with Girl Guides/Boy Scouts in Canada? I'm pretty sure I remember the word God being in the little paragraph you say, but what about the homophobia/atheist exclusion part?
post #28 of 80

Wondering As Well

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyamo View Post
Does anyone know if there are any of the same issues with Girl Guides/Boy Scouts in Canada? I'm pretty sure I remember the word God being in the little paragraph you say, but what about the homophobia/atheist exclusion part?
I'm wondering about this as well. I was involved in Guiding in Canada, and my dad and brother were both very involved in the Scouting movement. The politics of the organization weren't something I saw though, not at the community level. The stuff that the kids internalized from their involvement were things like the importance of helping your community, respecting and caring for yourself, self-sufficiency, helping others, teamwork, independent learning and mastery of skills, etc. At the community level I only saw positives.
post #29 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyamo View Post
Does anyone know if there are any of the same issues with Girl Guides/Boy Scouts in Canada? I'm pretty sure I remember the word God being in the little paragraph you say, but what about the homophobia/atheist exclusion part?
Well I know the Girl Scouts of the USA have much better religious guidelines in my opinion (Girl Guides and Girl scouts of the usa are both part of the same Association WAGGGS)

Their religious policy in the USA is that you must pledge to god OR your religion, they changed this to allow for people who are not monothiests (in other words you are not required to mention the word "god" in your pledge like in the BSA)

The Girl scouts of the USA has much gentler verbage in their policy about sexual orientation. It would be nice if they put in a simple "we do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation", but I "No policy" is at least better than the BSA.
Quote:
Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. respects the values and beliefs of each of its members and does not intrude into personal matters. Therefore, there are no membership policies on sexual preference.
post #30 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
For many of the reasons listed above (and the fact that the BSA has a long standing issue with the UUA), we will not sign our kids up for cub or boy scouts, despite them being very popular and well funded in our area. DH was a scout and has many fond memories of scouting. But we ethically cannot have our children involved with the organization which both discriminates based on sexual orientation AND would require our children to state a religious belief that we as a family do not believe.

I am going to my first parent meeting for the Earth Scouts on Thursday, an alternative for boy and girl scouts.
Thanks for the link. There isn't a group in my state yet, but maybe there will be some interest. I always wanted to do girl scouts. I remember my mom took me to one meeting, and then we never went back. Of course Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts are two separate things.
post #31 of 80
I was in 4-H and loved it, and I never had a single animal. I would have loved that too had it been an option, but they had tons of other things going on. It really is a great group.
post #32 of 80
A friend of mine has 3 sons and is very against the discrimination of the boy scouts. I think she explained something about them not being inclusive and allowing all boys in and wouldn't it be terrible if one of their friends wanted to join but couldn't because he was that kind of boy and did they really want to join an organization that didn't let everyone in? Or, what if they found out later that THEY couldn't be in scouts? I think she kind of left it up to them - but with a heavy dose of discussion on what it means to support an organization that doesn't support everyone.
post #33 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoopin' Mama View Post
My son can't be involved in an anti-gay organization. We will try FFA or 4H when he is older.
We camp on our own.
In FFA, you don't have to keep the animal at your house.
4-H doesn't have to involve animals either and they can join at age 5. There are arts and crafts and other skills they can sign up for that aren't animal based. I took cooking, ceramics, knitting etc.
post #34 of 80
Because of the reasons already listed our DS is not allowed to join the boy scouts (or cub scouts). We also do not support them in fundraising efforts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DisplacedYooper View Post
My husband grew up in the boy scouts and says the extent to which the official line is toed varies greatly among individual troops. You might want to see what kind of vibe you get from your local group and go from there.

I don't know dues is split between local and national levels, but too much direct support of BSA national would be a no-go for me now matter how inclusive the local troop was.
But keep in mind that your money and your time is still going towards a xenophobic organization. There are other options out there and if ALL of the people currently in boy scouts who disagree with their policies left, the other organizations would thrive OR the boy scouts would be forced to reconsider their stances.
post #35 of 80
I am a GS leader, my daughter is a junior GS, both my DPs are former Boy Scouts and my son just started Tiger/Cub Scouts. Girl Scouts in my area does outright state that they do not discriminate based on sexual orientation (or race, religion, economic status, disability, etc). While my DD was at GS camp, her camp counselor stopped one of the children from talking excessively about the Bible and said "Some people aren't religious, so we shouldn't talk so much about the Bible here." My DD's respect for the organization doubled at that point. As for Boy/Cub Scouts, I was very much against the idea in the beginning but I believe in giving things a chance to prove me wrong. So when DS wanted to do it, and our old homeschool friends needed another 1st grader for their Tiger den, I relented. Now, his dad is very much involved too and dad is not straight, nor Christian, so I am trusting him to decide if we should be supporting this activity or not. But as a child, I don't think my DS would see the justification of his sister being a girl scout and him not being able to be a boy scout. I think it may seem sexist without a broader understanding of the politics. When he's old enough for that, I'll explain and let him decide to keep going. In the mean time, this is helping he and his dad bond and helping him with his social skills (not an opportunity to pass up with a kid on the autism spectrum).

For the record, both kids are also Spiral Scouts. While that organization is much more accepting of our family structure and spirituality, it is not as organized as GSUSA or BSA and often frustrates me.
post #36 of 80
Thanks for all the info! Every boy around these parts seems to be in boy scouts, and DS seems to want to do it, too. Boy Scouts itself is not an option for us b/c of their discriminatory stands.

So I was looking into Adventure Scouts instead. They seem to be fairly religious, too? Does anyone know if that's true? I don't mind if they encourage kids to learn about their own religions, but I wouldn't want anyone telling my child that their beliefs are not acceptable (we have uncommon beliefs like reincarnation). In fact, I would prefer that there not be much discussion about the specifics of religion at all.

I do like that they seem to have groups for all ages, so DD (4) could join, too, and not be segregated by gender.

Also, how would I find troops in my area? As far as I could see, the Web site doesn't point you to specific troops... Is this a YMCA thing? Should I call them?

I'm glad I stumbled on this discussion b/c I really am opposed to the Boy Scouts organization, but love the idea of the activities, camping, etc. that they do.
post #37 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post
But keep in mind that your money and your time is still going towards a xenophobic organization. There are other options out there and if ALL of the people currently in boy scouts who disagree with their policies left, the other organizations would thrive OR the boy scouts would be forced to reconsider their stances.
The money supporting these organization at the national level trumps, for us, any good/positive things that would come from participating on the local level. Even if sexuality or religion were never mentioned at the local level, I still can't write a check to the overall organization.

Unfortunately, in many parts of the country the Boy Scouts serve as the defacto teen/youth group for local Catholic and Mormon churches and they are unlikely to support any chance in BS's stance on these issues. I suspect they would outnumber those who might leave for the opposite reason.

We explained our issues with boy scouts to DS as a 1st grader and he chose not to join. But then it was a very concrete thing from him as all of his godparents are gay and he could really understand not being part of an organization that disapproved of these people that he loved.

To the OP -- is there a YMCA near you? DS and DH have really enjoyed their Adventure Guides program and it has a more inclusive stance on both religion and sexual orientation. Despite the fact that the "C" in YMCA is "Christian", they seem to have moved way away from that.
post #38 of 80
We just signed my son up for Adventure Guides through the YMCA. They have a huge organization here in northern Illinois. I like it because it isn't as much of a time hog as the scouts seem to be. You meet once a month and that usually includes a fun activity.

Not sure if we will do scouts or not. I think my son would absolutely love it and the activities as he is really into the outdoors.
post #39 of 80
I live in the Czech Republic and there are scout troop here too. I'm not sure about their policy regarding homosexuals, but you don't have to be religious to join and you don't have to ever mention god, nor do they talk about religion much, if at all.

What bothers me about the scouts here as elsewhere is that they split boys and girls apart and much of their activity is paramilitary. Keeping sentry at camp all night, being marched around for miles, being dropped off miles away form camp and being told to find your way there blind, etc... (I don't know if they do this in the States, too, but here they still do) I love the idea of a kids' troop that explores nature and goes camping, helps out in the community and all that good stuff, but for my son I will be looking for an organization that is integrated and treats children with respect, so not the local boy or girl scouts.

DH and SIL were both scouts here and while they made some good friends and it was a learning experience and they had a beautiful camp, DH is also very critical of his experience and he left his troop at 15 and never looked back. He supports me in not enrolling our DC with the scouts.
post #40 of 80
Dh is an Eagle Scout, and while he'll put it on his resume (employers tend to look favorably on that), he never pays dues and will never recommend anyone to join the BSA because of its religious and anti-gay stances.
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