June 19, 2013; WNEP (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA)
NPQ is watching carefully the shape of the aftermath of the historic May decision by the Boy Scouts of America. Will sponsors withdraw en masse? How will donors treat the troops? No matter what decisions are made, it will take a long time for it all to roll out.
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The Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way in Central Pennsylvania has decided to cut more than $11,000 of funding to the Susquehanna Council of Boy Scouts because its decision on including openly gay scouts did not go far enough; the ban of gay adult scout leaders did not go over well with them. The United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area made a similar decision not to re-fund the scouts, a decision that will cost the local troop $60,000 over two years, presuming they were to have been funded at the historic rate. “Allowing opening gay youth into the Boy Scouts is a great step in the right direction,” said Brenda Episcopo, United Way Executive Director. “But it’s still not fully inclusive, therefore they are not eligible for funding.”
It was expected that some, or even many, churches might decide to withdraw their support of troops they sponsored, and a number of troops who are being dumped by sponsors are already looking for new homes. After being disaffiliated from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, Troop 550 of McHenry County, Illinois still doesn’t have a home, though it has reportedly received offers of sponsorship from area religious organizations. In Orangefield, Texas, the First Christian Church has withdrawn its sponsorship of a Cub Scout pack, but the pack leader has declared they are on the lookout for a new home, and that their pack was “not going to disband.”
That’s the right attitude to have in these challenging times. With another sponsor, the pack won’t have to.—Ruth McCambridge