BSA’s Commitment to Act Against Racial Injustice

Hi everyone,

I’ve had several parents reach out to me to better understand where Pack 735, and specifically BSA, are on Racial Injustice, Inclusion and Black Lives Matter. You can read more on BSA’s (the National Org) stance and commitment below my own comments (see string).
First, Cub Scout Pack 735 does not tolerate racism or exclusion. We are 100% Parent led and assuring kids feel welcome is OUR shared responsibility. This isn’t radical. It’s simply human.
  1. We are stronger together and our diversity has provided richness and friendship, period. Exclusion & racism is not acceptable or tolerated.
    • We clearly state this every year to our Scouts and Parents. Our parent volunteers commit to this and youth protection training/CORI to assure our kids are safe and can enjoy Scouting.
  2. If your child is of Scout Age (K-5th grade) and attends JW Killiam Elementary or Joshua Eaton Elementary then you are welcome and encouraged to be a part of our Cub Scout Pack.
    • The only exclusion we make is related to Elementary Schools.  If a child attends an elementary school which is not JE or JWK then we encourage them to join the Cub Scout Pack from their specific Elementary School.
      • We do this to strengthen programs at each Elementary School and Reading has excellent Cub Scout Packs at each school specifically Pack 702 (Birch Meadow and Woodend) and Pack 733 (Barrows).
      • Yes, a youth must attend their specific grade level rank (Kindergarten-Lions, 1st Grade-Tigers, 2nd Grade-Wolf, etc). We do this to assure optimal Den size and to assure kids have friends from their class level which makes it easier for us to maintain & grow healthy Den’s.
    • Regarding inclusion of girls- two years ago, our Committee made a clear and strong stance on inclusion, coinciding with National’s inclusion of girls into the Scout program. This positive decision has helped us grow and deliver fun, community service and adventure for families.
    • Inclusion not only makes sense for families juggling multiple events for multiple children but also strengthens our Pack’s Volunteers who are 100% family members of Scouts in the Pack.Diversity in Cub Scouts enables committed parents to participate longer.  We welcome boys and girls of any background, religion or ethnicity, so long as they go to JW Killam Elementary or Joshua Eaton Elementary.
    • Yes, St Athanasius Parish is our Chartered Org. No, you don’t have to be Catholic or Christian to be in Cub Scouts. Yes, Father Rock (who is an Eagle Scout) shares our views on inclusion, diversity and equality, both racial & religious.

That said, I recognize that some of the most challenging issues we’ve faced are around Parent inclusion and we’re working on that.

  • This spring we were piloting ways for parents to meet each other and develop friendships…sadly COVID hosed our plans for the March, April and May events which included some really fun ideas/program to help our parents meet each other.
  • We know that parents who make friends in the Pack tend to have kids who make friends in the Pack and making friends can be hard when you are new to Scouting, Pack 735 or Reading. That is on us and our committee.
  • I know that when I started, I felt like there was some strange club that I wasn’t a part of… until I made relationships in the Pack with other parents. Five years later, my best friends in Reading are from Pack 735 and most of those friends are people I might not have known without Pack 735
Last thing, nothing is perfect, especially not volunteer organizations-
  • If for any reason you or your Scout hasn’t felt comfortable or welcome, please let me know. Our Parent Volunteers/Den Leaders and Committee members truly want all of our Scouts to have a wonderful experience.
  • I can’t say enough, getting involved is fun and the fastest path to having a voice. I’ve had a wildly positive time in Pack 735. I’ve grown in my own POV. I’ve had to challenge my own way of seeing the world. I am better for it. That is Scouting: Adventure begets your best self.
Below is BSA’s statement. This was sent to Unit Leaders and Councils tonight. It shows positive growth for the organization and a POV that frankly many feared might not materialize. I believe this is one step towards building a thriving org that can fulfill its mission to serve all communities and develop leaders. I also hope it addresses the concerns that several of you shared with me this week. I stand behind this. We all have work to do to make a better world for our kids & community.
ChadL! Cubmaster at Reading Pack 735
———- Forwarded message ———
From: Boy Scouts of America
Date: Mon, Jun 15, 2020 at 8:48 PM
Subject: BSA’s Commitment to Act Against Racial Injustice

 

View Online
Boy Scouts of America
BSA’s Commitment to Act Against Racial Injustice
Dear Scouting family,

As our country reckons with racial injustice, we all must consider our role and our failures and commit to meaningful action.

The twelve points of the Scout Law that define a Scout are all important, but at this moment, we are called on to be brave. Brave means taking action because it is the right thing to do and being an upstander even when it may prompt criticism from some. We realize we have not been as brave as we should have been because, as Scouts, we must always stand for what is right and take action when the situation demands it.

There is no place for racism – not in Scouting and not in our communities. Racism will not be tolerated.

We condemn the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and all those who are not named but are equally important. We hear the anguish, feel the heartbreak and join the country’s resolve to do better.

The Boy Scouts of America stands with Black families and the Black community because we believe that Black Lives Matter. This is not a political issue; it is a human rights issue and one we all have a duty to address. That is why, as an organization, we commit to:

  1. Introducing a specific diversity and inclusion merit badge that will be required for the rank of Eagle Scout. It will build on components within existing merit badges, including the American Cultures and Citizenship in the Community merit badges, which require Scouts to learn about and engage with other groups and cultures to increase understanding and spur positive action.
  2. Reviewing every element of our programs to ensure diversity and inclusion are engrained at every level for participants and volunteers by applying a standard that promotes racial equality and denounces racism, discrimination, inequality and injustice.
  3. Requiring diversity and inclusion training for all BSA employees starting July 1 and taking immediate action toward introducing a version for volunteers in the coming months.
  4. Conducting a review of property names, events and insignia, in partnership with local councils, to build on and enhance the organization’s nearly 30-year ban on use of the Confederate flag and to ensure that symbols of oppression are not in use today or in the future.

These are our next steps but certainly not our last.

We will also continue to listen more, learn more and do more to promote a culture in which every person feels that they belong, are respected, and are valued in Scouting, in their community, and across America.

As a movement, we are committed to working together with our employees, volunteers, youth members, and communities so we can all become a better version of ourselves and continue to prepare young men and women to become the leaders of character our communities and our country need to heal and grow.

Yours in Scouting,

The Boy Scouts of America National Executive Committee

Dan Ownby
National Chair
Roger Mosby
President and CEO
Scott Sorrels
National Commissioner
Devang Desai
Jack Furst
Skip Oppenheimer
Nathan Rosenberg
Alison Schuler
Michael Sears
Thear Suzuki
Brad Tilden
Jim Turley
Prepared. For Life.

 

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