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#1 of 28 Old 06-25-2009, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 7 year old son wants to join the boy scouts after hearing his uncles wax nostagically about when they were in. I have some issues with the political views of the Boy Scouts organization and am trying to find an alternative. He's homeschooled so I'd like another way for him to meet/spend time with other kids. I looked into the Camp Fire organization, but there are none in my area.
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#2 of 28 Old 06-25-2009, 11:23 PM
 
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Do you have a local YMCA? Ours has a program for boys and one for girls that are similar to Scouts. I think they are called Explorers or Adventurers or something like that.
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#3 of 28 Old 06-26-2009, 01:04 AM
 
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I also have issues with the boy scouts but want a simpler group for my kids. I have found two :

spiral scouts : www.spiralscouts.org

and earth scouts: www.earthscouts.org

for younger kids I like spiral scouts better. more short term activities and badges and a good age range of stuff to do with lots of crafty things. where i think older kids (teen-ish) would do better with earth scouts, more a more globaly minded angle and long term goals.

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#4 of 28 Old 06-26-2009, 01:09 AM
 
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We really enjoy Adventure Guides through the Y. Many of the same types of activities, none of the political stuff. Lower overall time commitment, which for us was a big plus.
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#5 of 28 Old 06-26-2009, 10:22 AM
 
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OT a bit, but can the OP or someone PM me why they don't like boy scouts.. what is the political issues with it?


My FIL is PUSHING for my boys to be a part of it (DH was an Eagle Scout) and I get weird vibes about it but can't pinpoint it.

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#6 of 28 Old 06-26-2009, 11:35 AM
 
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4-H is another good option.
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#7 of 28 Old 06-26-2009, 11:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lincap View Post
OT a bit, but can the OP or someone PM me why they don't like boy scouts.. what is the political issues with it?
The Boy Scouts have gone to court to prove that they are a private religious organization. As such, they have the right to exclude certain groups as members and/or leaders. They have chosen to exclude atheists and gays. Some chapters are more vocal about this than others and it is possible to be a scout and not hear a lot about this within the actual troupe, especially amongst the younger groups. I suspect it gets more obvious as boys get older and sexual orientation becomes more obvious. Some troupes do make a big deal about it though, especially the religion part. Troupes are frequently sponsored by churches.

Regardless of whether a boy would hear about these stances or not, I personally am uncomfortable paying money/dues to an organization that says this on their website:

http://www.bsalegal.org/faqs-195.asp

Note that Girl Scouts are a completely different organization and do not have the same political views. Also, Boy Scouts in other countries don't seem to be so political either. This applies to Boy Scouts of America only.
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#8 of 28 Old 06-26-2009, 12:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
Regardless of whether a boy would hear about these stances or not, I personally am uncomfortable paying money/dues to an organization that says this on their website:

http://www.bsalegal.org/faqs-195.asp
:Puke Ick, that just reaffirms my decision to never let my boys be in Boy Scouts. Bummer, too, because I have so many great memories of being a scout when I was a kid.

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#9 of 28 Old 06-26-2009, 12:48 PM
 
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I watched a big show about them years ago, made me angry.

That being said, the Girl Scouts are not the same. Not that I'm saying your son should join them, lol, just saying that in case someone has a daughter interested!

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#10 of 28 Old 06-26-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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Ick, that just reaffirms my decision to never let my boys be in Boy Scouts. Bummer, too, because I have so many great memories of being a scout when I was a kid.
Yeah. My DH was an Eagle Scout and a leader for a while (before they got quite as emphatic about all of this). We are glad that there are alternatives out there -- we've been happy at the Y.
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#11 of 28 Old 06-26-2009, 01:10 PM
 
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They have chosen to exclude atheists and gays.
Note that they also in many troops exclude Unitarian Universalists because, I suppose, we're considered agnostics. I know at least one MDC mama had her son refused his religious education badge because they're UU.

I also think it's disingenous to allow female volunteers but not scouts. If you can't get enough "manfolk" to volunteer, that probably suggests something to be taken seriously.

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#12 of 28 Old 06-26-2009, 02:37 PM
 
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4-H is another good option.
Yes. 4-H was the perfect solution for our kids, too.

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#13 of 28 Old 06-26-2009, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here, thanks I'll check out the Y, 4H, and Spiral scouts. I was thinking the 4H was more along the line of raising cows (grew up in the country).
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#14 of 28 Old 06-26-2009, 06:30 PM
 
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They also exclude (last time I checked) agnostics because they are often lumped in with atheists anyway.

So...

UU refused because they agnosit and agnostics refused because they are atheists...

CallMeMommy I'm guessing you were a girl scout, they are a different organization and are more inclusive then the boy scouts.

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#15 of 28 Old 06-26-2009, 10:11 PM
 
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I was thinking the 4H was more along the line of raising cows (grew up in the country).
I think it depends on where you live. We're in a suburban area here and while some kids do some animal raising activities, the groups also do camping, community volunteering, and other scouting type things.

I had a really great experience with the girl scouts (in fact I'm a life member) and I'm sad that the boy scouts is what it is. I hope ds never asks to join or that he much older when the subject comes up.
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#16 of 28 Old 06-26-2009, 11:10 PM
 
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It does make me quite sad as both my brothers were eagle scouts. The organization itself is fine, honestly, there are some references to god in the pledges, but if they just dropped that and did what the girl scouts do they would be fine. It's not like they spend their time rallying against atheists or gays - it really seems to just be an issue at the national level. My brothers certainly didn't come out of it with these prejudices. I feel they were a great activity for my brothers. In fact, as a kid I was jealous I didn't get to belong. I was a brownie for a while, but my idea of scouting involved camping and whatnot, and the brownie troops idea involved making crafts.

However, my brothers were not atheist, and even if I didn't care about boycotting them on moral grounds, I can't subject my son to possible heartbreak if it 'comes out' that we're atheist and the local troop chooses to kick him out. And I cannot abide by pretending to not be atheist in order for him to join.

I did sign DD up for girl scouts though, I read through their policies and they are very big into inclusion and allowing a wide interpretation of various oaths or whatever.

The problem is while there are chapters of the other scouting orgs in our state, there is only 1 in our state and its located 45 minutes away and that really doesn't work well for us.

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#17 of 28 Old 06-27-2009, 08:50 PM
 
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I think the WHYs have all been said but just to add one more point I really don't like that they are not co-ed. I was a girl scout.... i felt there was big difference in the types of activities the boys and the girls got to do... not in a good way.

(boy scouts did have girls for a very short amount of time but no longer do. girl scouts still allow boys but if you read their hand book and such it's very girly - girl. )

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#18 of 28 Old 06-27-2009, 09:28 PM
 
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I think the WHYs have all been said but just to add one more point I really don't like that they are not co-ed. I was a girl scout.... i felt there was big difference in the types of activities the boys and the girls got to do... not in a good way.

(boy scouts did have girls for a very short amount of time but no longer do. girl scouts still allow boys but if you read their hand book and such it's very girly - girl. )
I'm with you, I would have loved to have done the things my brothers were doing in boy scouts!

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#19 of 28 Old 07-16-2009, 08:07 PM
 
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Imo - the differences between activities between the girls & boys is much more to do with the leaders for that particular group than the organization as a whole.

The co-ed thing is a different priority for different people. Personally I think it's really good for boys & girls to have time apart - from a very young age boys & girls act differently around each other than they do when separated.

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#20 of 28 Old 07-16-2009, 08:57 PM
 
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Imo - the differences between activities between the girls & boys is much more to do with the leaders for that particular group than the organization as a whole.
this is very true. in fact, i have a boy scout activity book that i used with my girl scout troop.

it always makes me sad to hear about bad scout experiences because most of the time it's just because they had a crappy leader. when it comes down to it, the leaders are the ones that enforce the stupid rules. it's not like the head boy scout guy is going to come to your town, to your pack to make sure everyone believes in god. it's the leader's discretion.

if my sons want to be in boy scouts (super girl scout has all boys, figures ), i'll let in anyone that wants to join.
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#21 of 28 Old 07-16-2009, 11:16 PM
 
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I think it depends on where you live. We're in a suburban area here and while some kids do some animal raising activities, the groups also do camping, community volunteering, and other scouting type things.

I had a really great experience with the girl scouts (in fact I'm a life member) and I'm sad that the boy scouts is what it is. I hope ds never asks to join or that he much older when the subject comes up.
As far as I can tell, you can do just about ANYTHING as a 4H project. Anything from the traditional animal raising and sewing, to musical performances, art projects, science projects, photography...

Go to your county fair and walk through the 4H building-- it's just amazing. And around here it's a really nicely run program too.
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#23 of 28 Old 04-29-2012, 07:49 AM
 
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I'm looking for a scouting alternative for my kids. Spiral Scouts seems to be a bit too rooted in paganism for my family- as a quasi-pagan myself I'd love it, but I'm not sure how comfy my husband would be with it. I think I'd rather something that was completely removed from any religion.

 

Earth Scouts looks good, if a bit serious. Does anyone belong to a group? What do you actually do at meetings? I like the idea of teaching earth stewardship, but while my kids are young I'd like that to remain a positive and light message (let's take care of mother earth by picking up this trash and planting some seeds!) than getting into heavier political topics (global warming is killing the polar bears!). What's the dealio?


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#24 of 28 Old 04-29-2012, 08:06 AM
 
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OP here, thanks I'll check out the Y, 4H, and Spiral scouts. I was thinking the 4H was more along the line of raising cows (grew up in the country).

4-H covers just about everything, but not every group focuses on everything.  Some groups do just focus on livestock, horses or dogs, others are non-animal.  Our 4-H is an open, community group, but even still don't have leaders for every subject.  You can do the work on your own.  In fact, you can start a 4-H group yourself, or be enrolled as a family group.  Not exactly the experience you might be looking for do it that way, though.  

 

I went through this thought process, wanting a boy-scout-like experience for my girls.  I did find (not a scout group) but wilderness classes we can take as a family.  And I am still interested in doing a homeschool coop (well, and schooled friends, too) that focuses on scouting, camping, and hiking skills.  

 


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#25 of 28 Old 04-29-2012, 09:46 AM
 
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I have my issues with both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scout organizations, but I would like to say that I was a female Boy Scout. I was part of the Boy Scout Explorers (for kids who might want to get into law enforcement) program in High School (also, don't believe the hype about this program. My training involved basic BASIC cop training stuff. We never even held firearms, real or otherwise). I did Girl Scouts from preschool to 9th grade (my mom was a leader). From my experience, the political aspects of the organizations are pretty invisible to the average participant. I had no idea Boy Scouts was a Christian organization.

 

I'm still undecided about scouting for my own kids. 4H sounds like a good compromise. I did FFA in high school and really enjoyed it.


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#26 of 28 Old 04-29-2012, 06:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Katielady View Post

I'm looking for a scouting alternative for my kids. Spiral Scouts seems to be a bit too rooted in paganism for my family- as a quasi-pagan myself I'd love it, but I'm not sure how comfy my husband would be with it. I think I'd rather something that was completely removed from any religion.

 

Earth Scouts looks good, if a bit serious. Does anyone belong to a group? What do you actually do at meetings? I like the idea of teaching earth stewardship, but while my kids are young I'd like that to remain a positive and light message (let's take care of mother earth by picking up this trash and planting some seeds!) than getting into heavier political topics (global warming is killing the polar bears!). What's the dealio?

 


We are starting a Spiral Scouts Hearth for our kids. We chose it because, even though it is created by a Wiccan church (we are Pagans, but NOT Wiccan), it doesn't focus on the religious aspects of that beginning at all. It divides some of the activities into the elements, but it is logical (Gardening is earth) and flexible (they encourage you to create your own badges). If you look at the activities for the badges, there are a lot of choices for what each child can do to earn the same badge AND it is up to the local leaders to determine if the badge has been earned. So you can make up what works for your family.

We also like that it is not gender-specific/conformist in it's activities.

 

The Earth Scouts looks like a good group, too, but as you said, too serious. And it seems to be better suited to older kids (mine are 2 & 6).

 

The alternative is to create your own type of group. The format for a scouting group is pretty basic and can be used to build a group of your own creation.


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#27 of 28 Old 04-30-2012, 02:25 PM
 
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I am proud to say that not only we won't let our son join the scouts, but we successfully stopped a chapter from forming at our charter school. Bigtory and religous discrimination have no place in our lives. Although I will be going to my newphew's Eagle Scout ceremony this weekend.

 

And as far this not being an issue in more liberal/urban parts of the country, IT IS: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/dear-boy-scouts-let-a-gay-mom-lead-the-pack/ Scouts just hounded out a lesbian den mother.

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#28 of 28 Old 05-02-2012, 06:56 PM
 
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After much thought my husband and I decided to let our son do cub scouts. We enjoy our local pack, but do have issues with the organization as a whole so we try to match any money we put into scouts with an equal donation to PFLAG or the HRC. Kind of like driving a car even though it produces emissions and then buying a carbon offset... (not perfect analogy since discrimination is much more personal than global warming, but not a perfect system either).


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