In New Jersey, we were very happily members of Pack 20 and I was a co-den leader. I loved doing Scout stuff with my son.
I come from a long line of Scouts and Scout leaders -- I actually spent three summers living at a Girl Scout camp since both my folks were counselors. I loved getting to know the kids in my den, and encouraging friendships between them.
I also loved getting to know all the parents -- some were in different schools and had older kids, and I was so grateful for their friendship and advice. If not for Scouting, we would have never known these talented, dedicated, and welcoming folks. We are an agnostic family and I am an atheist, and I fibbed in my application to be a den leader.
this was from the meeting we taught the kids to tie a tie.
If for some reason a family that came in contact with me feels betrayed, I'm sorry. I was involved with the Scouts because I had a strong family connection with them and I always thought that my dad and brother's involvement in Scouting helping make them the awesome men that they are.
I was friendly with lesbian families who were thrilled to be active members of the Pack, because their son thrived in it and he got to hang out with boys and wonderful, caring men. I also knew special needs kids who were thrilled to be part of something larger, and who were completely accepted.
the yearly winter campout. ice fishing, archery, sledding, candle making.
some of my favorite memories of my boys.
When we left SOMA a year ago, my oldest son was excited about starting a third year of Scouts. We contacted the pack in our new town of Burbank CA and joined up. We quickly became overwhelmed with the move and acclimating the kids to their new school and home, so we took a year's sabbatical from Scouting. The local pack was also sponsored by a church and was poorly organized and deeply religious. My six-year-old son came home from kindergarten with a recruitment flyer and really wanted to join, and my oldest expressed a desire to rejoin in time for Webelos.
And then this all happened. And between the hyper-religiosity of BSA out here in SoCal and this ham-fisted and mean-spirited edict from BSA proper, we are done. I am looking into the Studio City Unitarian Church youth group. My boys have been attending camp at the local Nature Center, and we will just have to teach them how to camp, and build a campfire, and sing songs and do all those wonderful scouting things on our own.
Or we will just wait a year when my youngest kid will join Girl Scouts, and the boys will get dragged along with me and my daughter. Because I have been waiting my entire life to be a Girl Scout leader, and those of you that know me in real life know this.
If I was still in SOMA, I would be writing a different letter to BSA. But currently I am writing a letter about how I was a co-den leader, an active participant in planning and fundraising, and how I brought the head art director of a major comics company and the art director who makes action figures and comics collectables to put on a great Pack meeting. We got all those kids interested in comics and showed them that there is an actual, doable career path in a field you love. You might end up being an accountant or a editor or a designer, but if you love a field, there are plenty of opportunities to be involved. I relished an opportunity to inspire these kids, and I like to think that I did.
But then all of this went down. And my husband and I told our boys that we weren't going to do Scouts anymore, because the Scouts think that families like our best friends are wrong and immoral. And then I had to explain what gay people were (they just thought that most people marry folks of the opposite sex, but we know plenty of families with 2 mommies or 2 daddies) and that someone might actually think that they are wrong. And then I had to explain what "immoral" meant.
My 9-year-old was completely perplexed and 100% loyal to our friends. He understood. He was horrified.
My six-year-old is easily distracted by bright shiny things.
If I was still local, I might feel differently. SOMA's Scout family is full of wonderful people who want to change from within and you should support them. But it's different elsewhere.
SOMA's packs and troops are the future, whether BSA likes it or not.