So a couple days ago (2015-07-27), Boy Scouts of America announced it would let gay leaders into scouts. I am a very passionate scouter and have been with the organization for many years now and a couple of people have asked me how this decision affects me.
First off, I am a scouter (adult volunteer) with Scouts Canada and Scouts Canada has allowed scouters and youth without discrimination based on sexual preferences since 1999.
While I understand people’s concerns with an adult who naturally has an attraction to males, people have to understand that female adults have been allowed at camps forever and male leaders have been at events with female youth for decades as well (in scouts and girl guides). While Scouts allow female membership in youth and volunteer roles, guide programs allow male volunteers but still allows only girls. They have made great strides with a few male youth who think of themselves as gay and some who actually consider themselves females. Guide organizations have been fighting over this for a while now and in 2011 a male youth accused the UK Guide organization of discrimination. American Guides allowed their first LBGT member in 2012.
So we allow male leaders in Guides where, for all intents, 100% of participants are female. We allow male and female volunteers in Scouts where there are male and female participants as well as youth from all gender identifications.
While all of these scenarios carried with it some inherent risk, Scouts Canada has so many safety nets in place for the youth that I really don’t think this is a big deal. Scouts has a two-deep rule that ensure no youth are ever supposed to be alone with a single leader, regardless of gender or sexual preferences for either.
There are PRC’s (Police Record Checks) for every adult volunteer which will catch any adult with a criminal record. Interviews and reference checks, as well as security measures like the two-deep rule, are also in place. The larger risk to youth is other youth with confusing sexualities. If handled properly, youth can learn acceptance while learning about the personal choices of other people.
While I anticipate these issues posing great risk to our youth in the future, the issues have long since invaded our school system and society and there really is no escaping them. The larger problem now is correctly training volunteers to handle them and that is a task that Scouts Canada will be handling in due course I am sure.
If you, as a parent, do not want your youth exposed to youth or adults with non-standard views on sexuality, you might want to pull your children out of scouts and guides. You might want to also start home schooling. You should probably consider preventing your family from visiting the local playground and grocery store. Convince your children that virtually every organized sport is no longer available to them. They could get into singles figure skating or start taking dance classes but then the likeliness of them changing their own sexuality goes up dramatically.
Okay, that was a joke. Please do not come after me because I hate figure skating and dancing. I have tried figure skating myself and put several of my kids through dance classes.
If you want any additional information on Scouts Canada views, please see this document.
NOTE: I don’t need friends and family coming after me for my new views. My views have not changed. I still accept people with different choices with their own sexuality. I still disagree with it to some degree and most of this is due to my inherent lack of understanding, but I do recognize that it is a personal choice. My acceptance will not be celebrated and I will unleash my wrath on anyone who says that I have to celebrate it (yes, I am talking to you psycho liberal housewives).