I've been involved with scouting most of my life. My brother was a scout. My husband a scout. Both of my sons are Eagle Scouts. I was a Den mother for cub scouts, a committee member for Boy Scouts and a committee chairman, despite my dislike of camping. During this time, I've seen a lot of boys go through the program - five at the very least who were gay. Granted, the individual troop I was with was a fabulous troop. As long as the boys followed the guidelines to the best of their ability, we leaders didn't give a damn if the boy were gay, atheist, straight, Catholic, Jewish, Wiccan, Special Needs. You know why the parents were involved - because we cared about the individual boy. Recently, Boy Scouts of American changed a longstanding policy and no longer deny a boy entry into the organization based upon sexual orientation. They do stipulate, however, that any sexual activity is discouraged - a policy I support - since Boy Scouts is limited to boys under the age of 18.
Now, lots of people have argued both in favor of and against this change and many of these folks have very well thought out, reasonable arguments. Personally, I'm happy with this change. In my mind, a kid is a kid. Camp is fun for many of them (NOT me!!!). City kids get to experience mosquitoes and fishing. Small town kids get to practice tying knots. Country kids get to go star gazing. The titles of "city," "small town," and "country" fade away and they all simply become "KID" and, hopefully, "friend."
My opinion is just that - an opinion. Now, the new policy does not change the Scouts' position for gay leaders who are still banned, as are atheists and non U.S. citizens. But still, this is a step, I hope, in the right direction. Knowledge is power and the more knowledge we can give our kids, the more powerful and, with luck, tolerant, they will become. Here's hoping for a more tolerant, kinder future.