Boy Scouts of America - sold out to evil empire


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Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 1, 2013 - 12:57am PT
My grandfather devoted many years to the scouts and was given a life-time achievement award.

My father also participated in scouts as a boy and as an adult.

As a boy, I worked up through all the levels to the God and Country Award, then volunteered for years as an adviser and trainer in mountaineering, survival, and wilderness rescue.

My son also worked up through Cub Scouts into the Boy Scout levels.

I bought my home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, in appreciation that much of the adjacent redwood forest lands had been donated into the care and safekeeping of the scouts and is zoned for no timber harvesting. The local manager, Sonny Payne, assured me he would never allow logging there.

My next door neighbor, a retired programmable gate array designer, has devoted his retirement years to caring for the redwood trees.

That was then, this is now...

The scout's current management policies appear to result in their membership crashing. The response seems to be logging off their forests for cash to support management salaries, and then selling the land to developers.

Last week's local cover story in nearby Monterey County is all about how the scouts are logging off their land in that county, in spite of the presence of endangered species which are sure to go extinct as a result of the logging. One of their most senior local advisers who objected strenuously, has been banned from ever setting foot on their land again.

Since the beginning this summer the sound of chain saws in scout owned redwood forests below my property has been continuous. Every few minutes another great redwood tree comes crashing down, and the logging trucks are running all day along route nine.

Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Aug 1, 2013 - 01:09am PT

The Boy Scouts of America is now firmly under the control of religious triumphalists who see the planet as something given to the domain of true believers. A tree cut down by the BSA is in the interest of paying for the eradication of gay teenagers.

Sorry that what your grandfather and father put their backs into has been co-opted by religious freaks.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Aug 1, 2013 - 01:23am PT
Tom, Bummer to hear that. Especially logging out the adjacent property. That smarts!

I've been very active with the BSA out of LA Area Council that last 12 years running a Troop out of central Hollywood.

The uphill battle is against TV, video games and a life of entertainment and comfort. I talk to lots of kids. Scouting is as uncool as ever. Kids mostly have no interest in camping, ever. There are bugs and bears and it's scary, especially when they have pretty much seen all the really scary movies before age 10 that they shouldn't be watching.

The battle over admitting openly gay Scoutmasters cost us dearly in donations and support. The local council here in LA was really suffering and then to top it off the Scout camp was hit by a bark beetle infestation and then a massive wild fire. Fortunately the fire was so bad we all rallied and got enough donations to rebuild the camp and the local headquarters.

Prior to that, some land was sold which ruined the skyline of local camp that is such a beautiful property, it should be a national park.

BSA is a franchise that is controlled nationally and sponsored primarily but some of the USA's largest churches. These few men at the top are steering the ship, they mean well but I think they are a little out of touch with where we are all heading. I've done my best to give my input but I'm one voice in 10,000.

What the BSA should do:

1. Recognize the civil rights of gay men and boys and respect them while at the same time differentiate between gays and pedofiles. Continue to work hard to prevent pedofiles and prosecute them fully when found.

2. Embrace the outdoor industry and leverage funding through sponsorships and licensing. There is a fortune to be made here.

3. Quit wasting money on advertising that doesn't work and hire some real marketing people that can actually get results.

5. Start franchising more unit levels for girls. The current program starts at age 14. It should be younger.

Rather than hating on the BSA I am inside it working to change it for the better. There are others with me. We will prevail.

Aug 1, 2013 - 01:31am PT
Wow, so sad Tom.

Corporations are people now, and they can buy whatever they want.

Recently went here, a beacon of California Scout history:

Boy Scout Troop 1 Base
Boy Scout Troop 1 Base
Credit: MisterE

Credit: MisterE


Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Aug 1, 2013 - 01:45am PT
That is sad Tom. Are they taking all the large old growth and also clear cutting it?

Aug 1, 2013 - 02:08am PT
I was a Boy Scout for about 6 months as a a kid. Then our troop leader embezzled us, emptied our account, the troop was disbanded. His name was Richard and this was about a year after Nixon. It was a good education.

The Boy Scouts have been logging their land for years, across the country. Here's an article from 2009
Penty more of them. Sorry to hear it's come to your backyard.

They'll win in court but you can beat them in a PR battle.

Aug 1, 2013 - 09:28am PT

"Last week's local cover story in nearby Monterey County is all about how the scouts are logging off their land in that county"

Story written by...? And of course you know that you need a permit to cut your own trees don't ya, being California and all....

Trad climber
Aug 1, 2013 - 09:43am PT
Its a shame to hear the BSA has gone to pot. When I was a boy in the mid-1960s there were so many boys wanting to be a scout that the existing troop had to turn kids away. My father and a couple of others started a troop from scratch. We loved it, though it wasn't always easy being the scoutmaster's son. Scouting instilled a life-long love of the outdoors for me, along with a love of learning outdoors-related skills. It felt really good to be able to be able to locate a campsite properly, start a fire from scratch, compass-orient through the woods, etc. This transferred over to climbing, I'm sure.

It's hard to imagine that boys would find the outdoors creepy. Does anyone know: Are other outdoors programs in the US like NOLS having similar difficulties? Are other countries (e.g., UK) similar, or is it just the BSA?

Jim Henson's Basement
Aug 1, 2013 - 10:00am PT
Wow.. That's a bummer to say the least. Seems like everyone sells out in the end. Makes me very sad.

The worst part.. it just seems like with some creative thinking the boyscouts could drag themselves out of the 50s and reinvent themselves. They need to get with the times and change the program to appeal to the current generation of little monsters. There's tons of opportunity to raise revenue if they were more creative. Simply selling the trees is the lazy solution...then again the "evil empire" evidently views it as a sinking ship and doesn't care.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Aug 1, 2013 - 10:12am PT
I had a great time in the scouts, Troop 13 Riverside Ca. early 70's.
Our scoutmaster then (Mr. Brophy) was more about giving the troop wilderness adventures than wearing uniforms and earning merit badges.
Bummer to hear that the leadership is now selling out.

A Scout is Trustworthy,..........


Aug 1, 2013 - 02:31pm PT
No locker. And no, 58 yo dudes can't join sororities either. :-(

Trad climber
Aug 1, 2013 - 02:31pm PT
my troop was fun until an ex military sargent took over as troop master. then it was all about learning to march in circles around the gym. I didn't last long after that. ha

I think there is a great opportunity for a totally new organization to start up. Lose the BS image and take kids out to scare the sh#t out of them climbing and rafting and what not. What kid doesn't love to be scared a little bit now and then. I don't believe video games are the problem. They are the fall back when the BS programs fail to deliver excitement and challange. Outdoors adventure has been booming for the last 20 years. Pretty hard to fail in that envirnment, but then General Motors managed to go from 60% marketshare to what, 10%. Out of touch managment can kill anything without really trying.

Wade Icey

Trad climber
Aug 1, 2013 - 02:36pm PT
BSA is an anachronism of the Christian Fundamentalist 'American Dream' and 'Manifest Destiny' ilk. Duty to God and Country, Indeed.
Sredni Vashtar

Social climber
The coastal redwoods
Aug 1, 2013 - 04:18pm PT
regards UK scouting, I think its not as popular as it was but its hanging in there, Bear Grylls as big chief has made it more current. I grew up in scouting, growing up in the country everyone did, my mum was the cub pack leader (Akela) and my dad was 'skip', the scout leader.My dad built the scouting hut himself (still there), we camped heaps and built killer rope swings, whats not to love about that.

My favourite vicar was openly gay in a very conservative farming community, no-one gave a sht as he was an awesome guy and made church current and fun (read 'flamboyant'), this was in the 80s and we werent all running scared from the notion being gay meant being a paedophile.

sorry to hear those redwoods are coming down, i don't see why they have to be harvested when faster growing species can be plantation grown.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Aug 1, 2013 - 04:31pm PT
Doesn't it seem like all large organizations, no matter how nobly they began, succumb to the Peter Principle as well as greed and moral corruption? Very sad.

Trad climber
Aug 1, 2013 - 04:58pm PT
BSA is an anachronism of the Christian Fundamentalist 'American Dream' and 'Manifest Destiny' ilk.

I think it actually started in England. We had kids from different faiths, and whatever your faith or lack of faith, it was private and it was all good. It sounds like it has changed, though.

There was definitely a part that was about building character and becoming a responsible member of the community--being prepared, being trustworthy, stepping up and doing good deeds and all that. I actually liked some of that as much as the outdoor activities. But society is much different today than it was in the mid-1960s. That stuff doesn't seem to be of value anymore. I'm not really sure what is valued these days, but it doesn't seem to be being a Boy Scout. Too bad.

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
Aug 1, 2013 - 05:13pm PT
I think I smoked more pot than any other scout in history.

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Aug 1, 2013 - 05:44pm PT
I enjoyed being in the Boy Scouts. I grew up with a single mother, saw my dada few times per year, and the Boy Scouts was my first opportunity to go on backpacking trips. Weekly meetings were fun, with contests like building a tripod and making kids hang on it, etc. Summer camp learning first aid, wilderness survival, etc.

I hung in there for about a year after our first scoutmaster quit. Another dude took over, couldn't take us backpacking (bad back), used us for fund-raising campaigns which he embezzled, and then when we went car camping at a beach, he stayed in camp and ate all the food we personally bought, while we were out surfing. So much depends on the person leading the group.

I would like to see another group with no religious affiliation fill the niche of boy scouts- a national franchise that uses the outdoor experience and related skills to distract kids from video games and an urban culture afraid of nature.

Morality can be taught without religion.


Trad climber
Aug 1, 2013 - 05:56pm PT

Troop 324

I'm a Norwegian stuck in Joshua Tree
Aug 1, 2013 - 06:02pm PT
Merit Badge in logging?
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