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Scouting thrives as it nears century mark

March 23, 2009

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From left, Troop 59 Scouts Ben Seybert, Keenan Wycoff, Chase Low and Scott Ragan pause beside a lake in the Comanche Peaks Wilderness of northern Colorado during a 2007 summer backpacking trip.

From left, Troop 59 Scouts Ben Seybert, Keenan Wycoff, Chase Low and Scott Ragan pause beside a lake in the Comanche Peaks Wilderness of northern Colorado during a 2007 summer backpacking trip.

Matt Pribbenow of Lawrence Troop 53 uses short-wave radio during Pelathe District’s Boy Scout Jamboree-on-the-Air. Chris Armstrong, a ham radio operator and troop leader, provides guidance and suggestions.

Matt Pribbenow of Lawrence Troop 53 uses short-wave radio during Pelathe District’s Boy Scout Jamboree-on-the-Air. Chris Armstrong, a ham radio operator and troop leader, provides guidance and suggestions.

Scouting is alive and well in Douglas County.

Five troops — 52, 53, 59, 61 and 62 — comprise the Pelathe District, which serves the cities of Lawrence, Eudora, Linwood, Baldwin City and Lecompton. Scouting has gone through many changes since its founding in 1910. Today’s Scouts learn everything from first aid to Web design. Yet the tenets of Scouting remain the same.

“If you really embrace these values, it’s hard not to become a good person,” says Mark Stogsdill, Scoutmaster of Lawrence Boy Scout Troop 59.

Phil Wrigley, assistant swim coach at Lawrence High School, began scouting in third grade as a Cub Scout. He went on to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, scouting’s highest rank. Wrigley continues his involvement as an assistant Scoutmaster.

“You develop a long-term relationship with these kids. It’s like a family — you get to see these goofy kids turn into intelligent, articulate adults,” Wrigley says.

Recent activities have included rock climbing at Ibex Climbing Gym in Blue Springs, Mo., visiting the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson and exploring caves in Devil’s Den State Park, Ark.

Boy Scouts: not just for boys anymore

Venturing is a co-ed program, created by the Boy Scouts America, to challenge older scouts between the ages of 14 and 20. Lawrence Venturing Crew 2052 is unique in that it is an all-female crew. Crew 2052 was established in the fall of 2002. The all-female crew is sometimes confused with Girl Scouts, of which some are also members, though Crew 2052 participates in jamborees and activities with local Boy Scout troops.

“Venturing is more of an outdoor program than Girl Scouts. It allows girls to participate in high adventure activities,” says Audrey Taylor, assistant adviser for Crew 2052.

Crew 2052 has an active membership of 15 girls, ages 14 to 18. In the summer of 2004, members attended Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M. Last summer, they traveled to Ireland to attend an international scouting jamboree, celebrating the centennial anniversary of scouting in Ireland.

This summer, Crew 2052 will travel to Arkansas to compete in the White River Canoe Race — a grueling 113-mile, 3-day race.

“We are one of the first groups in this area to participate,” Taylor says.

Girl Scouts, much more than cookies

Many people are familiar with the local Girl Scouts from their annual cookie sale fundraiser. Girl Scout volunteer Cindy Riling wants the community to know there is a lot more to the organization than selling cookies.

“You’re building memories,” Riling says. “There are athletic activities, leadership building programs and community service.”

Service projects Douglas County Girl Scouts participate in include volunteering at the Lawrence Humane Society, participating in clean-up projects at Clinton Lake and collecting musical instruments to be refurbished before being donated to local schools.

In June, local Girl Scouts will host “Sky’s the Limit,” a day camp for girls in kindergarten through fifth grades that lets participants enjoy the outdoors, learn about nature and make new friends. Girls in grades six and higher can gain leadership skills by working as camp aides.

Comments

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 6 months ago

Congratulations to the Scouts!

Remember that Scouting thrives in America despite rabid opposition from the ACLUnatics.

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cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 6 months ago

Scouting has done great things for many people, but I have never understood their practice of discrimination against gays and atheists. It seems contradictory for an organization that touts itself for giving guidance and self-esteem to not give it to the children who need it most.

Now if they were a private organization, they could discriminate against anyone they wanted, however the scouts receive federal funding through the military since their official tax charter is a "Patriotic Charitable Organization". They get government sweet deals to hold their meetings on federally funded land (schools, courthouses, etc) for little or no money, and their annual jamboree is held on a military base, during which the scouts pay $1 for rent and staff during the entire event, the taxpayer forks up the rest.

Again, I'm not badmouthing anyone involved with scouting, but the agenda of those in charge (which has been the Mormon church since the 70's. hmmmm...) needs to be objectively analyzed if our government is going to continue it's interaction with this group, as the average taxpayer may not know that their money is funding practices of bigotry.

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ranger73 5 years, 6 months ago

Josh get your facts straight- There are a lot more than just five Troops in DGCO. Cthu you also need to get your facts straight-your post if filled with so much incorrect information it's hard to figure out where to start.

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cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 6 months ago

ranger...I would be happy if you gave me a place to start. All of my information should be verifiable if you do some research, but please correct anything you see fit.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 6 months ago

"Cthu you also need to get your facts straight-your post if filled with so much incorrect information it's hard to figure out where to start."

You could start with pointing out which information is incorrect and in what way, rather than just saying that it is. There were some rather specific factoids to be proved or disproved in there, so you could pick one or two and show the error, if you really want to enlighten.

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cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 6 months ago

"scouts pay $1 for rent and staff during the entire event, the taxpayer forks up the rest."

This sentance does need correcting, though, as it makes it seem like the taxpayer is paying for the staff and security at the event. The staff is made up of volunteers from the military and scouting organizations. The $1 goes toward the usage of the land only.

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Chris Golledge 5 years, 6 months ago

There are more than 5 troops, and there are a lot of Packs for the 1st through 5th graders. I'd suggest that Josh contact the Heart of America Council, Pelathe District, for some fact checking.

A judge ruled that the Boy Scouts are a private club and therefore allowed to make their own rules about membership. No comment on the federal support received by this private club.

What I read on the matter lead me to the conclusion that the current policies on where indeed driven by the Mormon Church, which basically said, do what we want or we'll pull our boys out. And, the national leadership caved.

The policies on homosexuality are contradictory. The policy is that Scouting is nondenominational, yet their policy is based on the policies of some, but not all, of the religious policies of the membership. For instance, the Episcopal Church does not discriminate against homosexuals and I believe there are a fair number of Episcopalians in Scouting.

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Chris Golledge 5 years, 6 months ago

For what it's worth, the Scouting organizations in the major European countries, if I recall, I think France, Britain, and Germany, make no stance on homosexuality or atheism. They are non-issues for them.

Typo on previous post: "...the current policies were indeed driven..."

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imastinker 5 years, 6 months ago

Scouting is and always has been a religioius - nondenominational organization. Look at the scout oath:

On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my Country To obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

I find it interesting that people who aren't members of the Scouts are trying to force it to be something other than what it is. I have no problem with the scouts changing direction and debating what it's mission is and goals are, but that pressure should come from within the scouts - not from outside influences. It is a PRIVATE organization.

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Chris Ogle 5 years, 6 months ago

I was the only that got the Way-below honor.... all my buds were jealous.

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cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 6 months ago

"I have no respect for an organization that takes federal or state funds and complains when they force them to accept degenerates into their club."

You're right, and I'm happy that they let you into their club.

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ranger73 5 years, 6 months ago

Sorry-working so had to cut the post short before I could expound on the inaccuracies... As you already corrected, the jamboree staff is made up of volunteers. As also stated, courts have ruled that the BSA is a private organization and can restrict it's membership. BSA does have a Charter from the US but as far as receiving any type of funding from the government, no. As far as any "sweet deals" to use facilities, most meetings are held at the local unit's Chartering Organization, churches, VFW's, American Legion halls, etc. The use of schools and having schools charter scouting groups have seen a decline recently, I would guess partially because of some of Scoutings policies. Even so, school use is strictly first come, first served for whomever signs up to use the facilities, and usually the first ones are the athletic groups for practices. Lastly-for now anyway-Scouting isn't religious-Scouting teaches Reverence-slight difference. The oath says a "duty to God" but it doesn't define who or what God is. That is up to each Scout to define their own "God" or beliefs. They do need to show reverence, however, for anyone's beliefs. I am the last person to get into a religious debate, becasue I could care less-you believe what you believe-I'll believe what I believe, and no one is going to sway the other-Kind of like politics. Scouting doesn't say you have to believe one thing or another, but you should believe in something. Is that really that bad?

Ok, now you can start in again.

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kmat 5 years, 6 months ago

The one thing I learned about scouts, from my nephew who is an Eagle Scout, is that the best drugs are found through Scouts. I had no idea that doing drugs was what they do while on their "camping" trips. All the good kids that the Scout leaders think are so awesome were stoned out of their minds. I bet a lot of the Scout leaders were too.

At least my nephew got some cool trips out of his years in the Scouts. Luckily he didn't become a druggie from it.

What a good, wholesome group they are.

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cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 6 months ago

" As also stated, courts have ruled that the BSA is a private organization and can restrict it's membership."

I am aware of this. The Lions are a private club, the Freemasons are a private club. That's fine, neither of these insitutions carries a government charter and recieves funds from the government, and I can't become a Lion or a Freemason if I don't meet their internal qualifications. The Scouts, however, are endorsed by our government in the form of their charter (which you acknowladge) and practice discrimination with public funds. Also, the funding I mentioned comes in the form of those rent deals, which may be indirect, but still happens.

"BSA does have a Charter from the US but as far as receiving any type of funding from the government, no"

Then why bother keeping this charter? The purpose of having a charter with the government is to decide what kinds of funding they can receive. Not to mention that their charter as "Patriotic Charity" is laughable as discrimination isn't very patriotic, and I don't believe that any other organization has carried this particular charter in close to 100 years (might be wrong on that).

"As far as any “sweet deals” to use facilities, most meetings are held at the local unit's Chartering Organization, churches, VFW's, American Legion halls, etc. The use of schools and having schools charter scouting groups have seen a decline recently, I would guess partially because of some of Scoutings policies."

This may be true, but even you only acknowladge that "most meetings" use these facilities, not all. School involvement may be down, but it's not gone. Until it can be said that %100 of all scout meetings are conducted on a piece of property at the same cost that any other "private club" would pay, you cannot say that the federal government does not fund the scouts, because they do. On this topic, I find it interesting that you didn't comment on the jamboree. Do you acknowladge that the scouts get to use a huge tract of government land for the paltry price of $1 every year, for an event that most likely costs millions? If you do, then this is one example of your tax dollars directly funding discrimination, and our funding "sweet deals" debate is over, as the jamboree deal is the sweetest of them all!

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cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 6 months ago

cont'd:


"Lastly-for now anyway-Scouting isn't religious-Scouting teaches Reverence-slight difference. The oath says a “duty to God” but it doesn't define who or what God is. That is up to each Scout to define their own “God” or beliefs. They do need to show reverence, however, for anyone's beliefs. "

I completely agree with you on this point, and I never brought up religion except to illustrate the time period during which the Mormon Church effectively hijacked the boy scouts, and began practices of systematic discrimination using taxpayer money. It didn't used to be that way. The original boy scout leader's handbook from the early 20th century actually says that the scout leader is ill-equipped to deal with questions about specific religions and sexuality, and that he is most likely not qualified to do so. It's funny how that message changed after the Mormons took over. The official stance today on not allowing homosexuals is that they aren't "morally clean".


"Scouting doesn't say you have to believe one thing or another, but you should believe in something. Is that really that bad?"

I don't know, but, in it's current form, the scouts are telling a small, vulnerable, portion of young kids that what they believe and feel is wrong. Suicide is the number 1 cause of death among gay youth, and government sanctioned institutions like the scouts denying them normal childhood experiences are no doubt part of the reason. As I said in my first post, if their mission is to give guidance in self-esteem, why deny it to the children who need it the most?

Didn't mean to rant, and I promised myself I'd never post a two-post message, but I want to make you that you understand that I'm not operating out of a bias or emotion or to try to prove you wrong, but out of fact, all of which are easily verrifiable.

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Chris Golledge 5 years, 6 months ago

OK, not everyone got my point the first time. What if your religion teaches to treat homosexuals the same as everyone else, but the religious aspect of Scouting is leveraged to treat homosexuals differently? Does that not introduce a contradiction of Scouting's non-denominational policy?

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