The web site occasionally receives e-mails from current scouts and/or parents of scouts who enjoy scouting, but disapprove of the BSA’s practice of discrimination. The BSA’s position places them in a moral quandary; do they stay or leave the BSA?
If they say that they can change the BSA’s policies by remaining a member, I politely inform them that there is no possibility of this happening. The BSA is NOT a democracy, nor does it operate on any form of democratic basis. However, if they enjoy scouting or their son/daughter enjoys scouting, then they could remain if the following conditions are met:
- The unit they belong to does not condone any anti-LGBT name calling, pejorative/insensitive jokes, bullying, etc. amongst its members.
- Their unit leaders are opposed to the BSA’s policies, or at least do not plan to expel any member who is LGBT or non-theistic.
- Their unit is amenable to taking steps to convey their opposition to the BSA’s discriminatory practices.
If these conditions are met, then one could in remain in the BSA and take some or all of the following steps to deprive the BSA of their most precious value — money:
- Your family refuses to participate in any FOS or other council fund-raising activities.
- Your unit ceases to participate in any FOS or other council fund-raising activities.
- Encourage other scouting families and units not to participate in any FOS or other council fund-raising activities.
- Whenever possible/practical have your unit NOT participate in any district council events (eg: camporees, scout fairs, etc.). Any event that requires the unit to pay the BSA any fee is fair game to boycott.
- Have your unit conduct its own summer camp, rather than attend a BSA owned/operated summer camp. There are many state and national parks that are available for one or more troops to camp at and allow the older scouts an opportunity to plan and run a week-long camp program.
- Don’t buy any non-essential equipment/accessories from the BSA (eg: ScoutStuff). While advancement badges have to be purchased from the BSA, there are other alternatives to saving money and boycotting the BSA:
- a unit uniform bank can be established to reduce the number of uniforms bought from the BSA;
- a unit library can be established so that BSA literature will not need to be purchased as often;
- the use of a copier and other electronic means to reduce the number of handbooks purchased (Note-Copyright law provides an exception for copying portions of published items for educational purpose);
- don’t buy those district/council patches, commemorative or otherwise — there is a fairly high mark-up on these items.
- Does your local United Way chapter provide funding to the council? If so, then that is more than likely a violation of your UW chapter’s non-discrimination policy. Given the recent events in the news, it will be harder for a local council to convince the UW chapter that “they” don’t discriminate. If they do, then simply ask the UW chapter to contact BSA national to verify that the council does not follow national policies!
- Are you, or any family/friends employed by companies which participate in UW fund drives? If so, then bring to the company’s attention the UW chapter’s funding of the local council, especially if the company’s non-discrimination policy is in conflict with the BSA’s – which is ALWAYS the case, as the BSA continues to discriminate on the basis of religious discrimination.
- Write letters to the editor denouncing the BSA’s policies. If you are not a registered adult member, then there should be no repercussions. If you are, then the local council could seek to have your membership revoked. So far, there has been no public account of the BSA revoking the membership of a youth member for speaking out against the BSA policies.
- Have your unit adopt and enforce a non-discrimination policy. There have been units whose charters have been revoked for taking such actions and publicizing them. So, as long as the parents, unit leaders, and chartering organization are all on board, then whenever a prospective member is recruited, that their parents are informed and required to agree to the unit’s policy.
- And lastly, speak out and defend any LGBT/non-theistic youth in your council from abuse.
These are just a few ways that you can impact the BSA where it hurts — money. Talking to other families and scout leaders and encouraging them to take these actions might not get the policies changed immediately, but they will send a message to the BSA.
If you have any other suggestions on what youth members and/or their parents might do to express their opposition to the BSA’s policies, while remaining within the organization, please let us know.