Dad Starts Gay-Friendly Scout Troop & It’s Exactly What We Need

Inspiring 11

baden powell serviceJoining the Boy Scouts of America in the 21st century is awfully complicated. There's their history of covering up child molestation charges. There's their stance against homosexuality. And yet... people who grew up with scouting are still looking for something like it for their own kids. Something that gets kids outdoors, setting goals, building fires -- but without all the homophobia. I'm one of those parents looking for alternatives.

So how exciting to find one in my own neighborhood! A dad in Brooklyn, Todd Schweikert, formed a new scout troop where everyone is welcome -- gay, straight, boys and girls. "The tipping point was the BSA's approach to gay scouts and the gay and lesbian parents," he told Huffington Post. "Any form of discrimination, no matter how small, is never OK and not something I can endorse and wish to teach to my children."

Schweikert founded what he's calling the 5th Brooklyn Scouts troop. It's affiliated with the Baden-Powell Service Association, a more progressive scouting organization for boys and girls. Don't you love parents who creatively solve problems through their own initiative? Who is this guy?!? And get this -- the 5th Brooklyn Scouts meets in a building just a short walk away from where I live!

As it happens, I have a nine-year-old son in Cub Scouts. He joined this year after seeing the troop march in a neighborhood parade this summer. My son's father was a Boy Scout -- an Eagle Scout, in fact -- and was enthusiastic about joining our son. But here's the thing: My son's father is gay. (I know, what?!? It's a long story.) So I kind of wondered how long we'd last in BSA.

I like to think that the BSA troop would be cool with it once they found out. After all, there's that BSA group in California who petitioned to allow a gay scout to get his Eagle. But our son ended up deciding to leave his Cub Scout troop for his own reasons. He didn't like how much the den mother yells, and he didn't like how they served junk food for snacks. Oh my god, this is what happens when a gay artist and a writer have a child, feed him organic food, and send him to a super-progressive private school where teachers whisper rather than yell. He's a little different!

All the more reason why we'll probably check out this new scout troop. The world is changing, quickly. We need service organizations that can keep up. But we also still need our kids to learn how to start fires and tie knots. I don't think it's asking too much.

Does the Boy Scouts of America's politics bother you enough to not join?


Image via Baden-Powell Service Association



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there... theresaphilly

NOPE! my son has no interest in boyscouts

Fondue Fondue

Take your negativity elsewhere, billsfan.  As far as "who cares?" goes, those and the parents of those excluded from "traditional" scout troops certainly care.

tnyangel tnyangel

I'm for it. Let them all learn how to make fire with two sticks and sew on their badges together. I wish them much success and no troubles.

Flori... Floridamom96

And, finally, the correct approach to a group whose values you disagree with: start your own. Good for him.

peanu... peanutsmommy1

My son has friends in the scouts and I am secretly hoping that they never ask him to join because I dont want him to participate in an organization that discriminates like the scouts do

kisse... kisses5050

Campfire boys and girls... all faiths all sexual orientations.... a great organization

PonyC... PonyChaser

So you write this great uplifting article about this guy starting a unit that works for his kids and for others, and then you solicit comments about how horrid the Boy Scouts are?

What kind of lesson is THAT for your son? Or do you only teach him that he has to be nice to some people, and not to others?

Look, I'm a Cubmaster. I love BSA and the values it stands for. I also wish that we could find a way to satisfy both sides of the aisle. I truly believe that we can function with homosexual children and leaders. But a HUGE part of our membership belongs to - and our units are chartered by - churches that believe that homosexuality is wrong. Further, the BSA is a private organization, so they have the right to formulate a membership policy that they think is best. That doesn't mean that I have to agree with it; it also doesn't mean that, because I disagree with this one issue that I'm going to (or should) trash the entire organization and wish for its demise.

Why can't others do what this father is doing? If you don't like it, go find/start your own. Don't destroy something that already works for thousands of others.

kelli... kelli0585

To answer the question in bold. . .Yes.  That one issue bothers me enough not to have my son join BSA. 

I can't consciously allow my son into an organization that is intended to positively mold young minds if love, acceptance and inclusion of all is not at the forefront of the lessons taught.  Even if it's only noted in the "fine print."  Good for the troop in California that had to petition for a gay member, but nein danke.

That being said, anyone else that loves the organization can go on with their bad selves without a complaint from me.  There's plenty to like about it, but that one little issue just happens to be a deal breaker for my family.





LeeshaE LeeshaE

I will not let my son join BSA because of their relationship with the Catholic, which includes their views on homosexuality among other beliefs I take issue with and do not want forced upon my child.

belon... belongs2Jesus

we were asked by the local troup leader to let our son join boy scouts we asked one simple question have the leaders been given police checks? the answer NO.


My husband is a leader in a simular groups called Royal Rangers every leader goes through annual police background checks. I am a leader in a group simular to girl scouts called MPact I have to go through annual background checks.

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