This could also be called “Why My Son is Not in Boy Scouts – And Never Will Be.”
Maybe my son will grow up to talk about how much he suffered for my political choices. OR maybe he’ll grow up to appreciate and admire that I stuck to my values and voted with my dollars as an advocate for social change.
Either way, I have no regrets. I refuse to let my son join the Boy Scouts of America. And here’s why.
I’ve had this discussion multiple times. With friends, my partner, and various family members. I’ve spent hours mulling over this decision. I’ve had to explain to my disappointed child after he is bombarded at school with the troop leaders trying to recruit him. But my answer remains the same. No way.
I love what the Boy Scouts teach children, at least on the surface, when it comes to surviving in the outdoors, gaining an appreciation for nature, practical skills, comradery, teamwork, etc. My son has my partner’s old Boy Scout manual and reads it regularly. I even purchased him a Boy Scout uniform shirt from a local thrift store, so he can learn the skills and feel as though he looks the part. We work through the book together and it’s a great bonding experience for the 3 of us.
Why not just join? Well, after all of the mulling and discussions, I’ve decided that the Boy Scouts, as an organization is not one I can support.
At its very core, it is an organization that has a history of exclusionary and discriminatory practices, especially when it comes to religious beliefs and homosexuality. I won’t go into a lot of detail, a little Googling and maybe the viewing of Penn & Teller’s talk about the Scouts can fill you in.
I just can’t support an organization like that. I have always tried to vote with my dollar. I refuse to shop at places that don’t reflect my values, or at least those who publicly and vehemently go against them and those whose business models depend on poor business practices. This is a right that I exercise regularly.
I can’t find conclusive evidence of where fundraising money goes or where uniform/patch/etc purchase money goes and that alone is enough to make me think twice about giving them my money.
I understand that every troop is different and not all discriminate, but I feel more comfortable skipping out on this childhood experience. It’s that important to me.
That being said, I can completely respect other families’ choices and would never chastise another parent for allowing their child to join. And there is no judgement there, every family is different and every family has different needs. This is a completely personal choice.
P.S. The Girl Scouts are another matter entirely, but not one that I have to deal with in this capacity since I don’t have any girl children. However, I will say, I do support the Girl Scouts because I feel that they better reflect my values.