Girls, Gays Invited to Join Alternative Scouting Troop
January 18, 2013
© 5th Brooklyn Scouts/Facebook
File this under: If you can't join 'em, beat 'em.
One Brooklyn, New York, dad took such offense at the Boy Scouts of America's policy of excluding gay members and leaders that he went so far as to start his own all-inclusive troop.
Todd Schweikert's new 5th Brooklyn Scouts counts his 7-year-old son as its charter member and welcomes boys and girls alike of all sexual orientation.
"I felt like I had too much respect for scouting to succumb to the rules and polices of the [Boy Scouts of America]," Schweikert, a former Iowa Boy Scout, wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. "So I looked for other alternatives."
Hoping to inspire parents across the country to start their own charters, the 5th Brooklyn Scouts held their first open house Wednesday night, and are planning overnight camping trips to New York's Catskills mountains in the spring. More than 40 families and their kids have reportedly expressed an interest.
Technically, it's not unheard of for individual chapters and troops to flout official policies against admitting girls or gay members, Schweikert didn’t want any of his dues money to go towards an explicitly discriminatory organization. Instead, he asked an alternative scouting service, Baden-Powell Service Association, to anchor his troop.
"The tipping point was the BSA's approach to gay scouts and the gay and lesbian parents," he said. "Any form of discrimination, no matter how small, is never ok and not something I can endorse and wish to teach to my children."
Would you sign your kid up to a similar alternative scouting troop? Let us know.