Policies must be in Scouts' best interest
BY BILL HAINES
Saturday, February 09, 2013
2/09/13 at 4:14 AM
This week we will celebrate scouting's 103rd anniversary, and our focus has remained the same, working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.
Sexual orientation is one of the most complex and divisive issues in society today. The Boy Scouts of America does not have an agenda on the matter and discussing this issue is not the role of scouting or the focus of the organization. However, the BSA has become one of the focal points in society's ongoing debate on the issue.
It is clear that no single policy will accommodate all viewpoints within the scouting family on the issue. Nor can scouting be the place to resolve divergent viewpoints in society.
For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, providing its youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. In the past two weeks, scouting has received an outpouring of feedback from the American public. It reinforces how deeply people care about scouting and how passionate they are about the organization.
After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America's National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy.
To that end, the executive board of the National BSA directed its committees to further engage representatives of scouting's membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns. This will assist the officers' work on a resolution on membership standards. The approximately 1,400 voting members of the national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May 2013.
America needs scouting, and our policies must be based on what is in the best interest of our nation's children. We believe good people can disagree and still work together to accomplish great things for youth.
Going forward, I'm asking all of you in our scouting family to work with us and to stay focused on that which unites us, reaching and serving young people to help them grow into good, strong citizens.
With your help, we can accomplish incredible things for the young people and the communities we serve.
Bill Haines of Tulsa is Scout executive/CEO of the Indian Nations Council, Boy Scouts of America.
Bill Haines: We believe good people can disagree and still work together to accomplish great things for youth.