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Glad I was never a boy scout

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Glad I was never a boy scout

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:36 pm

So i was never a boy scout and never really wanted to be one. There was no particular reason other than I learned to live off the land and problem solve on my own. I was fortunate to live on a larger plot of land with some wooded areas behind me. This article reaffirmed my thanks.

Boy Scouts 'Perversion' Files Show Locals Helped Cover Up Child Sex Abuse By Scoutmasters

At the time, those authorities justified their actions as necessary to protect the good name and good works of Scouting. But as detailed in 14,500 pages of secret "perversion files" released Thursday by order of the Oregon Supreme Court, their maneuvers protected suspected sexual predators while victims suffered in silence.

The files document sex abuse allegations across the country, from a small town in the Adirondacks to downtown Los Angeles.


Jeebus Christ this is as bad as the Catholic Church. What is wrong with these people. What makes matters even more fucked up is that the organization is vocally homophobic. I just wonder how much of this still occurs.

So, any of you ever boy scouts?(or girl scouts) What was your experience? Did you feel it shaped you into a better person? Did I miss out?

I do wish I could tie better knots.
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Re: Glad I was never a boy scout

Postby rabble » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:47 pm

I am now in a state of amazement that I made it through puberty. I was brought up Catholic, I was an altar boy, and was an active Boy Scout from 12 to 18. Never got touched by a priest and our scoutmaster was one of those Normal Rockwell salt of the earth guys. He had a Saint Bernard the size of a Volkswagen, a nice wife and told great stories.

Jeez. And all the while me and those other kids were having fun and learning stuff, blissfully unaware of the carnage everywhere else. Worst thing that happened was old Father Fahey, who we all knew liked to go heavy on the wine during mass, got retired to the old alcoholic priest's home.

Hm. At least that's what they told us...
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Re: Glad I was never a boy scout

Postby wallrock » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:06 am

I was in the Scouts from 3rd grade on to Eagle at 16 and I had a very good experience with it. I'm from a small town but a good number of boys from my school joined (around 16-20) and I'm still friendly with most of them. We had a small camp in town by the lake where we would have our meetings and occasional camping trips, and I went to the week-long camp up in Mauston every summer and for a weekend in the winter as well. I took part in four trips: canoeing the Flambeau River, canoeing the Quetico Provincial Park in the Boundary Waters, hiking in the Porcupine Mts State Park in the UP, and camping at the Indiana Dunes State Park near Chicago. Did my years in Scouting make me a better person? Unequivocally. When I was in middle school I was really high strung and shy but assuming leadership positions like Patrol Leader and Senior Patrol Leader helped me mature a lot. The summer camp experiences were always great and whenever I meet up with friends from the Scouts we'll eventually reminisce and tell old stories from Canada and the UP. Raising funds and managing the process for my Eagle project was also a very formative experience. I still suck at knots though.

My father became one of the adult leaders when I was a Webelos and he did this in some capacity for 20 years, resigning from the local board a couple years back (actually in part because he didn't feel like dealing with all the background check requirements the Council office in Madison started requiring). He's still partially active with the Troop and helps with the annual popcorn sale and the pancake breakfast. All of the other leaders when I was in the Troop were fellow Scouts' fathers with a few old guard guys on the board after their sons had already gone through. We weren't very church-driven though. I've spoken with my father about this and we were really lucky as there wasn't a strong vein of conservative ideology with the adult leaders. After I'd gone to college I know one man enrolled his sons but ended up leaving and attempting to found a Young Marines group since my local Troop was not conservative enough for his liking. I wasn't religious growing up and I never ran into any issues as a non-believer in the Scouts, even when I went in for my Eagle. I know that most of the higher leadership in the Scouts is very conservative and discriminatory which is why I cannot support the organization as a whole. However I still go down for the annual pancake breakfast and support my old Troop.
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Always wanted to be a boy scout

Postby jman111 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:21 am

I'll never forget the disappointment of not being allowed to join the scouts. Perhaps I should be thankful, based on recent revelations.

As a member of the WELS in my youth, I was instead offered only the oportunity to be a "Lutheran Boy Pioneer"- the less-secular (!) alternative to scouting. [I really don't remember the specifics (and never really did understand the conflict), but the synod rejected the scouts as an institution based on false idolatry or some such nonsense.] We did similar activities, but I was always disappointed that I wasn't able to share the scouting experience with my school classmates. Because the pioneers were so limited by congregation size, there was generally only 1 or 2 others of the same age.

And yes, I still suck at knots.
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Re: Glad I was never a boy scout

Postby Dust Mite Rodeo » Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:10 pm

I was in a troop of a Milwaukee-area suburb. Years I after I quit the Boy Scouts, the scoutmaster was arrested for trying some pedophile stuff on some teens that worked for him in a store he owned.

At the time I was a scout I didn't have much of an inkling of anything going on, other than overhearing some of the other kids laughing about something this guy had said.

Thing is, it was a very good troop, did a lot more trips than the other troops.

The lesson is that where there are activities where adult volunteers put themselves forward to have contact with kids, you gotta watch 'em like a hawk.
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Re: Glad I was never a boy scout

Postby Madcity Expat » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:50 pm

Dust Mite Rodeo wrote:The lesson is that where there are activities where adult volunteers put themselves forward to have contact with kids, you gotta watch 'em like a hawk.


I suppose this is true, but it's unfortunate. I was in Scouts for years - starting in cub scouts and reached star rank in boy scouts before the teen years of driving, girls and beer distracted me from further advancement. On the whole it was a strongly positive experience and I was never aware of any inappropriate adult/kid behavior.

When I was 12 our scout master took me and 7 other boys on a 5 day/night 50 mile canoe trip on a northern Wisconsin river. It was an absolute highlight of my later childhood years - almost a "Stand by Me" right of passage (but w/o the dead body). I'm still in touch with a couple of the other guys on that trip and they say the same thing. The scout master was the only adult present for the entire trip - although some of the other dads caught up to the group for an evening campfire here and a half-day canoeing there. I don't expect that anything like that would be permitted (or, regrettably, should be permitted...) these days - certainly not after the revelations of last week.

Anyway, I've felt a bit disillusioned the last few years with BSA's intransigent stance towards homosexuality. I feel really some grief about this latest news. This has the potential to end Scouts as we've known it for decades... and if the BSA really colluded in a systematic way in covering up these crimes, then I supposed the BSA deserves it.
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Re: Glad I was never a boy scout

Postby Steve Vokers » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:11 pm

One of the guys listed in the file was a volunteer with my troop. I never heard of him molesting anyone I knew (doesn't mean it didn't happen, but I never heard about it if it did). He was asked to leave after he got caught taking pictures over a bathroom stall in the church where we met. A couple of years later he got busted for making child porn. A real sweetheart.
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Re: Glad I was never a boy scout

Postby david cohen » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:27 pm

And to think that the BSA was so concerned about lesbian den mothers...
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Re: Glad I was never a boy scout

Postby Igor » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:27 pm

Madcity Expat wrote: This has the potential to end Scouts as we've known it for decades... and if the BSA really colluded in a systematic way in covering up these crimes, then I supposed the BSA deserves it.


From reading the summaries, it seems like the BSA was attempting to keep problem people out of leadership, and it was hamstrung by local folks (BSA and otherwise) that acted differently. The biggest issue for the BSA nationally seems to be that they didn't just automatically relay every report to the police. Given that the time frame looks like 50's - 1985, it is probably the unfortunate case that most other children's organizations didn't do much better.
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Re: Glad I was never a boy scout

Postby Igor » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:54 pm

Madcity Expat wrote:Anyway, I've felt a bit disillusioned the last few years with BSA's intransigent stance towards homosexuality.


I know that most here won't agree, but the BSA is in a no-win position currently. Unlike the Girl Scouts, each unit is sponsored by both BSA and a Charter Organization. (school, church, service club, etc.) This gives BSA units more continuity than GSA, and also gives the BSA groups support in the way of meeting rooms, storage, etc. Both BSA and the charter group must approve all leaders.

A large number of troops are sponsored by conservative churches. During the Dane County United Way debates of 5 or 6 years ago, it was made clear by the representative of the anti-BSA group that letting each chartered organization make their own leadership decisions would not be an acceptable compromise. So, BSA has the choice of either continuing to prohibit gay leaders, or force troops sponsored by Mormon or Southern Baptist church to accept them. I think that everyone knows that there would be a few folks that would make sure to provide "test cases" to ensure the new standard was being followed everywhere.

So, making this change in policy will result in a significant drop in the number of boys and leaders, which may be on the minds of the folks involved.
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