My husband and I had been puzzling over the Boy Scouts of America for some time. My husband was a scout, and we assumed our boys would be too. There are so many positives to the club – building life skills, fostering peer relationships, and helping in the community. However, when we learned of the anti-LGBT policies of the scouts (currently banning non-heterosexual parents from leadership and expelling gay scouts), we were dismayed. We weighed the variables.
We live in a rural area, and there isn’t a plethora of choices. BSA talks about re-assessing their policies from time to time, so maybe they’ll change their stance before our kids are older. My husband and I are not in the LGBT community, so while we oppose the policies, it wouldn’t prohibit us specifically from participating. And my 7 year old has classmates joining the local troop. In the end though, we just couldn’t do it. We felt that joining would send the message to the Boy Scouts, our kids, and the greater community, that we can turn a blind eye because this bigotry doesn’t affect us directly. We couldn’t reconcile that.
Before going on, I need to say that there are people in my life whom I respect and admire tremendously, who are amazing parents, and who do participate in the Boy Scouts. I don’t judge them nor am I addressing their specific decisions. I’m writing this to share why we made this choice for our family.
Since my husband and I decided to walk away from the idea of scouts, we were left to come up with an alternative. I decided to ask some local friends if they would be interested in forming a club. We could get the kids together once a month to work on life skills and socialize….sort of like a playdate with projects. If it sticks, over time we can consider appropriate community service endeavors. It would be open to boys and girls, and either moms or dads would be welcome to participate. I found several families who liked the idea and were willing to share the load of hosting monthly meetings and picking out projects for the kids.
So we recently had our initiation meeting at my home. I gathered the kiddos around to pick a club name. They had many suggestions, but voting results deemed “Awesome Club” the winner. Once we had our name, I had them come up with ground rules for our meetings. Check out their list:
• Treat others as you want to be treated.
• Keep your hands to yourself.
• Don’t interrupt.
• No swearing or hurtful words. Encourage each other and be positive.
• Respect your resources. Use the project materials and tools properly, and take care of the host’s property.
• Don’t touch people’s stuff.
• Give each other space.
Once we were all on the same page, my husband took the kids outside for their first project: cleaning their bikes’ chains. Then we sent them loose on our collection of homemade ramps and jumps.
We’ll see how the club goes from here. Life gets busy, and I suspect people will come and go as it works. However, we have about 10 kids in the mix with meetings and projects scheduled through the summer, including a campout at the local park. It’s a good start and definitely feels like an “awesome club” for our son.
How do you decide which clubs are right for your children? Have you had a moral dilemma when selecting an activity, and how did you resolve it?
This has been an original post to World Moms Blog by Tara B. of Washington (State) USA.
Photo credit to the author.