The Boy Scouts of America scouting organization is inviting “LGBTQ” advocacy at its national jamboree camp in West Virginia.
The advocacy was applauded by LGBTQ advocate Mike De Socio in the Washington Post. “There is value in the type of place it is becoming: one where any kid, of any race or gender or sexual orientation, feels at home,” De Socio wrote.
De Socio has campaigned for an official welcome for gays and lesbians, as well as transsexuals — dubbed “transgenders”– into the national organization. That demand contradicted the organization’s original purpose of redirecting and subsuming young men’s energy to help guide them through their turbulent adolescent years and puberty.
The current welcome for chaotic sexual diversity is being offered to teenagers as the scouting movement shrinks. There were just 15,000 scouts at the 2023 jamboree compared to 40,000 at the 2013 event.
The decline comes despite the welcoming policies, not because of them, De Socio insisted:
The meager attendance reflects the weather-beaten state of the Boy Scouts of America. Though its doors are now open to kids of all gender identities and sexual orientations, fewer than ever are accepting the invitation. The organization lost nearly half of its membership between 2019 and 2020. This national event represents one of its first steps out of a generational nadir brought about by the pandemic, a sexual abuse scandal and an ensuing bankruptcy.
The BSA had barely resolved its struggle over membership policies — fully admitting gay men in 2015 and trans boys in 2017, and then [girls] in 2018 — before facing an avalanche of sexual abuse claims.
But the turmoil had an upside. Scouts within the ranks seized the moment to press for a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. A collective dubbed “Scouts for Black Lives” successfully pushed the organization to commit to a slate of projects, including a new diversity merit badge required for Eagle Scout rank.
The “sexual abuse scandal,” bankruptcy, and membership decline came after intense establishment pressure on the scouts. For example, the establishment media slammed scout leaders for excluding gays and lesbian scoutmasters — and slammed them for not excluding all predatory gays and lesbians from local leadership roles.
The Associated Press reported the subsequent damage in 2021:
Membership for the BSA’s flagship Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA programs dropped from 1.97 million in 2019 to 1.12 million in 2020, a 43% plunge, according to figures provided to The Associated Press. Court records show membership has fallen further since then, to about 762,000.
Yet the new generation of national leaders is doubling down its welcome for teenage sexual advocacy by gays and lesbians — and even by the very different, no-boundaries “queer” and transsexual advocates — in the camps for teenagers, says De Socio:
Paige Morgan is one of the volunteers at the community space for girls. The 19-year-old from Scranton, Pa., also identifies as bisexual and has been glad to see the neighboring LGBTQ community space. “I know the people that are coming through here, like trans, nonbinary youth, the queer youth, are having a great time seeing themselves represented in a space that they love so much, that is scouting,” she said.
The scouts face competition from organizations that follow the scouts’ original focus on teenagers’ character development.
For example, Trail Life‘s mission is “to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure.”
It has hundreds of groups around the nation:
The political and cultural shift in the scouts’ organization was pushed by top business leaders, many who influence outside funding for the organization. Breitbart News reported in 2017:
The scouting group’s board is dominated by progressive-leaning corporate executives, including Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, which is now lobbying against a Texas bill to protect the sexual privacy of K-12 kids, amid pressure by transgender groups to allow boys into girls’ bathroom and shower facilities. “CEOs and top executives from more than a dozen major Dallas-based corporations — including American Airlines, AT&T and BNSF Railway — delivered letters to [GOP leaders] decrying the bathroom bill as a proposal that would “seriously hurt the state’s ability to attract new businesses, investments and jobs,” according to the Texas Tribune.
The establishment’s policy of maximizing diversity — especially via K-12 schools and immigration — is fracturing many civic groups and social norms that help ordinary young people manage their lives amid normal human pressures and the fast-changing economy.