I am a very proud, tried and true, died-in-the-wool, Adult Volunteer Scout Leader… I am involved at every level of Scouting in my region. I proudly proclaim that I am or have been, Cub Scout Pack Leader; Boy Scout Troop Committee Chair, Vice Chair; District Leadership Committee – Communications Chair; Newsletter Adviser for my Lodge in Order of the Arrow; Adviser Council Marketing Committee; Adviser Marketing Committee Liaison to Council Membership Committee; BSA Merit Badge Counselor (Archery, Astronomy, Communications, Computers, Music, Public Speaking, Salesmanship, Theater); and Religious Emblem Counselor, Catholic Committee on Scouting for the Archdiocese in our area. My Son is an Eagle Scout; My Daughter is a Girl Scout working toward her Gold; and my Wife has been a Girl Scout Troop leader for years… OK? I get it. I know and love Scouting.
So, for the past few months, I have been watching this debate rage all around me about whether or not the BSA should alter its current policy toward allowing openly gay youth and leaders into the program. It appears that the national BSA is going to vote to divide the baby in a week or so anyway when they take the incremental step by allowing openly gay youth, but not openly gay leaders — which is likely the best they are able to do for now with the competing pressures coming from both sides. Funny thing is, most of the youth just don’t care. They are past all this.
What this issue points out is really only a reflection of the broader transformation taking place across our society as a whole. Just look at how far this debate has moved just since Congress enacted the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. A majority of the country now believes that was a mistake, but we still have many people who are threatened by the LGBT lifestyle. It is understandable, given the history and origins of many in our society and the beliefs and mores that have long been in play with regards to such matters. But, let’s face it, for all practical purposes, the debate is moot.
This entire matter is a ten-year-or-less issue. The current youth in the BSA program will filter this out themselves as the pass through and eventually out of the Scouting Program and become our next generation of leaders. The youth currently approaching the end of the youth portion of their Scouting Careers will raise children that are even less concerned with this than they are — and statistically, they are very unconcerned as it is. Therefore, it is a matter of import only to those of us that are of a certain age to have one foot in the old way of looking at this while already facing the inevitable new way.
So, whether we support the current policy or not, it is likely about to change… and in ten years, those of us that are blessed to still be around, will look back and see that it was only a matter of time before all of it fell away anyway. The next generation of Scouting will have far bigger fish to fry. IMHO