Created on Friday, 24 May 2013 Written by REUBEN MEES
On a local level, Thursday’s decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay members is not a major concern yet, but future decisions about whether to allow gay den and troop leaders may cause some organizations to withdraw support.
Jim Mason, who is in charge of Logan and Champaign counties’ Boy Scout programs for the Tecumseh Council, released the following statement shortly after deadline Friday:
“Tecumseh Council’s focus remains to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. The information our council provided on this issue helped provide perspective to the process, and we respect the integrity of the national decision-making process,” Mr. Mason wrote.
“As the District Executive for Logan and Champaign counties of Tecumseh Council, I believe this update to our policy will allow all kids who sincerely want to be a part of Scouting to experience this life-changing program while remaining true to the long-standing virtues of Scouting.
“While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting. Tecumseh Council believes good people can disagree and still work together to accomplish great things for youth. Going forward, we will work to stay focused on that which unites us.
“Tecumseh Council serves more than 4,500 youth and nearly 1,800 adult volunteers in Logan, Champaign, Clark, Greene and Clinton counties. In Logan County, 400 youth (both young men and women) benefit from Scouting’s programs.”
“There hasn’t been a lot of discussion yet,” said Pastor Ron Irick, who is also a member of the Tecumseh Council’s board of directors.
“Actually, what they voted on yesterday hasn’t even been an issue. These are kids under 18 years old and their sexuality is not an issue.”
The real question is who should be with the young boys when they are away on trips, Pastor Irick said.
“The question is, ‘Do you allow homosexual leaders to take boys out for the weekend camping in tents and swimming?’ You have to draw a line, but when you do, you get smacked down. If you don’t have a line, you don’t have control.”
He said there have never been any issues about allowing boys who may be gay into local troops and the issue of gay leaders has never arisen.
“There has been no individual concern with any one boy or one family in this part of the world,” he said. “I can’t think of anybody locally who has been excluded. Why would we do that for sexuality when these are boys under 18 years old?”
Donald Corwin said leaders of the northern Logan County communities served by Troop 51 are waiting before making any decisions.
“I’m neutral on the position right now,” he said. “We’re waiting to see how stuff shakes out at the local, district and council levels and see how the other organizations react.
“The announcement came out from national council yesterday; so it is really too early for anybody to make any commitment,” he said. “The big question is how does it impact the program around here?”
Pastor Irick said each supporting organization or individual has its own decision to make about whether to continue to support the program.
“It’s going to come down to each individual supporting organization. Each can set its own standards of what they want to support and they have every right to do that,” he said.
Local scouting troops include First Christian Church’s Troop 94, Bellefontaine; the First United Methodist Church’s Troop 184, Bellefontaine; DeGraff United Methodist Church’s Pack 191, DeGraff; Monroe Community Church’s Pack 316, Pickrelltown; and Rushsylvania Church of Christ’s Troop 51, Rushsylvania and Belle Center.