In my opinion

I’ve be a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America for over 10 yrs. I’ve served as a Den Leader, Webelos Leader, Pack & Troop Committee Chair and Secretary, and Unit Commissioner. I’ve served as a Trainer for adults and Den Chiefs. I have been on staff at Wood Badge (this will be my 5th year). I have been on staff at Family Camp and Trailblazers. None of my sons earned the Eagle Scout award, but what they got out of Scouting is even better.

I was a single mom with three sons when my Boy Scouting career came to be. There were no consistent adult males in their lives who could show them how to be excellent men. When we started in Scouting, my youngest two became a Webelo and a Bear. I knew nothing about the Boy Scouts, what was expected from us, what the structure was or anything. When we began, we had no “religion” (according to the Webelo leader) because we were Wiccan. The bulk of the leaders in our Pack were Catholic and had no idea how to work with that. But, the BSA policy said that they couldn’t ask us to leave because we did believe in a Higher Power and that is all that is required by BSA policy.

My sons were exposed to some excellent and not so excellent men. I would say however that because of this exposure, my three sons (teehee) have become excellent men themselves.

As I’ve already stated, over ten years ago, our family lived by Wiccan standards. We celebrated the seasons, prayed to the Goddess for guidance and protection and lived each day with the axiom “Do harm to none.” We accepted all people in our lives for who they were, both good and not so good. Everyone was welcome as far as I was concerned. Then of course it happened. Fast forward a few years and I met a man. One who exuded faith. You could see it in his countenance, he shined with it. We fell in love and he offered me the opportunity to share his faith. After over two years of investigating, I made the decision to accept Jesus as my Savior and  joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Yes, it’s a big leap to go from Wiccan to Mormon, but I definitely have been a better person because of it.

The LDS church has used the Boy Scouts of America program for it’s young men for about a hundred years now. The units are run a little differently and I’ve had a hard time adjusting to it. When my sons became Boy Scouts, I did everything with them. Attended meetings, worked on merit badges, went camping, everything. Imagine my dismay when we went to our very first meeting at an LDS unit, I showed up with my son, I was in uniform and I got the most evil glare imaginable from the Scout Master. At the time, I had no idea that women did not work with the young men aged 12 – 18. Things went down hill from there. My oldest son had already aged out, my middle son joined a different community unit as a Venture Scout, by my youngest decided to stay with the LDS unit.

Eventually, my youngest quit going. I offered to help him find another unit, but Scouting just wasn’t what he wanted anymore. I do blame the leaders for not keeping the unit active, fun and a desirable place to be. The boys played basketball every Wednesday night instead of working toward the Eagle Scout award. I would have gotten bored too.

I continue to work in both the community units and LDS units. The community units are more successful for one main reason, passion. A leader in a community unit is there because they want to be. They volunteer. They are there for the good of the youth who they serve. It is that desire that makes the program in a community unit more successful. The leaders in an LDS unit are ‘called’ by their Bishopric to fill the leadership role. Now, I’m not saying that ALL LDS leaders lack a desire to serve youth through the BSA program. I’ve known quite a few that share the same passion as other volunteers. I’m one of them, I want the best the program has to offer to the youth I serve. However, there are many that don’t share that passion and the program and youth suffer because of it.

Now on to the newest issue, the BSA National Council has postponed the decision on a policy change that would allow people with different sexual orientation to be Scouts and Leaders.

http://www.scouting.org/executiveboarddecision.aspx

So here is my opinion on that. I am LDS, however I still live by “ALL ARE WELCOME”. When I have a conversation with you, I don’t care who you are sleeping with, it’s just not important to me. When I go camping with you, all I care about is that you know or are willing to learn what to do in the wilderness. Again, who you are attracted too is not my concern. If you have a skill to teach that will help the youth I serve, what you do in the privacy of your own home (or literally out of sight of the youth) just doesn’t matter. I am also aware that homosexual does not equal pedophile.

Small note to all those concerned parents, church leaders and politicians, the majority of pedophiles are heterosexual males. 

Should there be a policy change, the local councils will then have the decision to allow LGBT Scouts and Leaders to participate. It even goes deeper than that, each unit gets to make that decision. Each unit has a chartered organization (church, school, community agency), by receiving a charter from the Boy Scouts of America, the chartered organization agrees to conduct Scouting in accordance with its own policies and guidelines as well as those of the BSA. http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Media/Relationships/TrainingtheCOR/03.aspx

Which means, that if it is against the chartering organizations policy to allow LGBT Scouts and Leaders, then they don’t have to, simple isn’t it?

Boys are boys, many love to hike, swim, tie knots and be prepared for life. The Boy Scouts of America and it’s programs for youth from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts to Varsity to Venturing to Explorers is an excellent way to give each youth who wants it the opportunity to gain skills in leadership, service and life skills.

How many more youth can be served by changing the policy? How many more chartering organizations can be gained by a change in this policy? How many more youth can grow, learn and be better prepared for what life has in store for them? How many more parents can know the joy I’ve known and have the satisfaction I’ve had by being a Scout leader? How many more youth can stop hiding who they are if this policy changes?

This is just my opinion. I actually grieve for those who can not participate because they happen to be gay. I grieve for that one boy, the one who is afraid to join because he knows he likes other boys. I grieve for that one parent who wants so much to participate in his son’s life, but can’t because his partner happens to also be male. I grieve for those who could get so much out of the Boy Scout program but are excluded because they are attracted to the same sex.

I know that there are hundreds of thousands who do not agree. There are many who site the line in the Scout Oath, “Morally Straight”. My morally straight perhaps is not the same as your morally straight, but that does not mean that we can’t find a common ground. It does not mean that the one boy who happens to be homosexual can’t work just as hard on his Eagle Scout as the boy who happens to be heterosexual.

If your interested, here are other points of view

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-cautions-against-speculation-on-scouting-decision

National Catholic Committee on Scouting. http://www.nccs-bsa.org/BSAComment.htm

The Inclusive Scout Network. http://www.inclusivescouting.net/media/press-releases/2013-02-06-statement-on-bsas-decision-to-postpone-any-action/

Episcopal Church http://www.scoutingforall.org/data/layer02/aaic/010202.html

United Church of Chirst http://www.ucc.org/news/commentary-boy-scout-policy.html

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy_Scouts_of_America_membership_controversies

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Spending time with Carroll

I was very busy this weekend. I was allowed to have Carroll spend the weekend with us. Baby momma needed to clean her house. Carroll has been ill and she never found the time.
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I’ve been in their house many times and it has never been clean. Literally, dishes will go better than a week without being washed. Since the living room also serves as everyones bedroom, you can’t walk in it. The baby has maybe 4 square feet to learn to crawl in. He is kept confined to this space because around the room there are desk chairs, desks for computers and all the wires that go with, a couch, a mattress on the floor, his crib and swing, etc. They heat the room with a space heater which he has pulled onto himself. There is a small endtable which all the medicines are kept on. He is pulling himself up and right now that is the biggest hazard in the home for him. Not that the rest of the conditions are less hazardous, it’s just the one I see as the most immediate danger.

On top of all this, they hope to have baby momma’s 3 year old daughter returned to them next month and baby momma is expecting again. What’s a grandma to do? Many thoughts come to mind, but the relationship is so strained anything I do to help could be taken the wrong way by both baby momma and my son.

I got off on the wrong track there, sorry. Carroll was delightful to have spend time with. He belly crawls but is working on getting on all fours. He pulls himself up on people and couches though he has to work at it since he starts from the belly instead of his knees. Dadadada is his favorite sound right now. He loves breakfast, lunch and dinner or just playing in his highchair while I putter around the kitchen. His favorite past time is bouncing, on your knee, thigh, lap, the floor, and if available a Johnny jumper or saucer (I have neither).

He doesn’t sleep through the night anymore but wakes around 2 hungry enough to drink 6 oz. But then he sleeps until 6:30 or 7:30 before waking up a very happy baby.

I enjoyed my time with him very much and hope that I’ll get to do it again often. I also hope I can figure out a way to help keep this family together without alienating my son and his partner.

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Making a Plan

At the end of 2011, I made a plan. It was to make a blanket for each of my adult children, including spouses. That made a total of 13 or 14 blankets, crocheted or knitted with love for each of them. The plan also included that I would work on them and have them complete in plenty of time for birthdays.

I managed to do well and had all the blankets done for all birthdays through August completed by mid June. Then a grandson took precedence on my time for three months and I fell behind. I managed to nearly complete the one September birthday blanket and finished a couple of October blankets, but kind of sputtered out and I have three incomplete blankets and three more to start. I will get them done, but probably not for a few months.

I also managed during 2012 to crochet 6 baby blankets (for all the new grandbabies), knit several hats, learned to knit with double pointed needles (made baby socks), created 5 snuggies, and designed, created and produced 9 or 10 critter pillows.

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So my plan for 2013? Don’t have one yet. I will finish the projects I’ve started, but don’t know yet what new things I will create yet, but whatever I end up doing, you can be sure it will be done with love.

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Nearly There

Christmas gifts are nearly complete. Jeff and I finished up the tree ornaments for each of the grandchildren. Even for the ones we have never met and are likely to never meet. But no matter, our love goes out to them and there is always a place for them in our hearts and home.

Very early in the year I began making snuggle blankets for the youngest. I only managed to complete 5 before more important tasks entered my life. Three months of caring for a newborn grandson derailed my plans for the year, but it was worth it.

Pillows for the older kids were on the agenda, but again these things take time and I still have birthday blankets to complete.

Many items are destined to be shipped today so I will get those out and then finish what I can before Christmas.

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Getting Started

I’m not a great blogger, but it helps me to get a few thoughts down occasionally.

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I’ve had a few exciting things happen, this being one of them. When I reluctantly joined Boy Scouts in 2002, I did it for my boys. They begged incessantly for weeks before I caved, mostly to shut them up. Now here we’re are ten years later and my boys are grown and I’m still a Scouter.

None of my sons earned Eagle Scout. I’m not totally disappointed though. Because their dad wasn’t around as much as he could have been, Scouting offered some terrific male role models and my sons are better men because of it. For me, that is more satisfying than any award they could have earned.

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