Cincinnati Reading the paper on the plane my eye caught a piece about the Boy Scouts in north central Alabama.
True confession — I was a boy scout — many people accuse me of being one to this day. My brother was a boy scout. My son was a boy scout. We weren’t just scouts, we were 100 percenters — we were camping, jamboreeing, merit badge sashed, Eagle Scouts.
My last letter to the scouts though was a note to my son’s troop asking that they take me off of their list of merit badge counselors and eliminate me from their mailing list, because we just flat disagreed in principle over their assertion that they had the right to hound out of scouting young men who were gay. We were not that kinda people and had to part ways until they got right.
Boy Scouts are old school though. And, the article about Alabama’s problems went to the heart of that. They were trying to raise some money by moving scouting to low income areas and getting some grants and support to do so. When the FBI investigated a report of something fishy, they discovered that the Alabama scouts had padded the rolls for 3 years in this district by 13,000 names. The upper ups had told the down unders — who were good volunteers and parents — to add some names here and there to keep the money rolling. Finally, someone coughed and now it comes crashing down.
Trustworthy, honest, and so forth seems to be slipping out of the scouting code along with compassion and a commitment to building strong men and women, regardless of the consequences.
June 4, 2006