All the focus as of late has been on the Boy Scouts of America. I don’t know where the Girl Scouts of America stand, but I’m sure it has standards similar to BSA. Although it saddens me to know that if I had children, they would be excluded from either of these organisations, especially since I was both a Brownie and Girl Scout as a child, then later served briefly as a Scout Leader in my brother’s troop, I don’t feel the need to make a huge deal out of it. If the BSA and presumably the GSA want to foster exclusion, fine. Why do they have to be the sole organizations to teach our children the skills so famously touted by either organization? Why can’t new organizations be started which don’t exclude children or their parents for any reason? Thankfully there is such an organization: Navigators USA. They are small in number as yet, but all organizations start small. None has ever blasted onto the scene with a million members over night. Things take time to grow and thankfully Navigators USA is doing just that.
The Boy Scouts of America, which discriminates against gay Scouts, atheists, and families who want to put their sons and daughters in the same scouting program, has seen its membership plummet in the last decade. Many former Scouts have left scouting altogether. But a number of families fed up with BSA policies have found Navigators USA—a small organization that “welcomes all people…no matter what gender, race, lifestyle, ability, religious or lack of religious belief” and has seen its chapters (comparable to Boy Scout troops) double in the last year.
“We knew the Boy Scouts excluded gays when we started, but we thought that was one of the old, outdated rules on its way off the books,” says Bryan Freed, whose family switched from the Boy Scouts to a Navigators chapter in Los Altos, California, after the Boy Scouts publicly reaffirmed their ban on gay Scouts and Scoutmasters in July 2012. “We told our 8-year-old son, Nathan, what we thought of the official BSA rule on excluding gays, and we let him decide.”
And for any in doubt about what the Navigators can teach your son, here’s their ‘Navigators Moral Compass’:
As a Navigator I promise to do my best
to create a world free of prejudice and ignorance.
To treat people of every race, creed, lifestyle and ability with dignity and respect.
To strengthen my body and improve my mind to reach my full potential.
To protect our planet and preserve our freedom.
Full article available from Mother Jones