Boy Scout Exec Hasn’t Heard Local Criticism About Lifting Ban On Gay Leaders
The Boy Scouts of America's action Monday to lift a ban on gay leaders so far hasn't met with opposition among scouting programs in Wyoming, its state executive director said Tuesday.
"We had conversations with different organizations within Wyoming that sponsor (Boy Scout) troops and (Cub Scout) packs and they indicated to us that they were not going to leave us," said Matt Myers of the Greater Wyoming Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
The sponsoring churches and civic groups, as well as the families, know scouting is good for boys with its emphases on building character and citizenship, said Myers, who came to Wyoming three years ago. He's been involved with Boy Scouts for 24 years and has worked in California, Detroit, Texas and Oregon, he added.
Wyoming's independent spirit may have something to do with attitude he's seen, too, he said. "Maybe they're not worried about decisions that are made far away."
The Casper-based Greater Wyoming Council covers most of the central and northern areas of the state, Myers said.
The council, composed of six regional districts, includes 210 chartered organizations of troops, packs and Explorer Posts (for older scouts) with about 3,000 members, Myers said.
Of the chartered organizations, about 75 percent, or about 158 units, are affiliated with churches, he said. Of those, about 60 percent, or 95 units, are affiliated with congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The rest are affiliated with congregations from other denominations, he said.
The remaining 25 percent are affiliated with service clubs such as Rotary and fraternal organizations such as Elks clubs, he said.
Each troop committee members of the chartering organizations choose the leaders, Myers said. "We've let the individual units decide on their leadership."
The benign reaction he's seen so far is reminiscent of his experience from two years ago when the Boy Scouts lifted the ban on gay youth to be members.
Reactions elsewhere varied from anger, especially among Southern Baptists, to gratitude among other troops and their sponsor organizations, he said.
There may have been some objections in Wyoming, but no troops left and no board members quit, Myers said.
"When that happened, we didn't lose any members, we didn't lose any board members, or any affiliations with troops or packs (of Cub Scouts)," he said. "It didn't change things for us in Wyoming, and in fact our membership continued to go up."