Parenting 420

An Advanced Course in Creative Parenting

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Alternative Scouting for boys?
bicrim wrote in parenting420
Anyone have any experience with the alternative scouting groups for boys or boys and girls together? I want my boys to have scouting experience, but we are not welcome in BSA.

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I don't know anything about them, but I know that Camp Fire is a popular thing around here. http://www.campfireusa.org/

I just looked at their website and part of their core values statement says "We are inclusive, welcoming children, youth and adults regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation or other aspect of diversity."

they are the ones I'm looking into. The NJ website is down right now, though. Have you heard good things about them?

From the little I know, they seem to be a more open/inclusive version of the Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts.

Camp Fire has a summer camp in my area and I went there as a child, even though I wasn't a member of Camp Fire. They allow non-members to participate in their summer camps and other activities. I have great memories of it.

FWIW, Girl Scouts is a different program from Boy Scouts. The issues people have with Boy Scouts (religion, discrimination based on orientation) are not an issue with the Girl Scouts.

yeah, I wish I had girls to put in Girl Scouts. They are awesome.

Seconding what aelf said. If Girl Scouting weren't inclusive of all sexual orientations, they'd lose a good portion of their corporate staffing. It's a wonderfully inclusive organization.

You might try to see if there is a spiral scouts hearth in your area.


I looked at the website. My only concern is that they look fairly religious, even if the religion is Pagan. My husband is a pretty hard core atheist, so anything religious will not work for him. Do you know if they are secular or more non-denominational religious?

From what I understand, some of the circles and hearths are religious and some are not, or are non-denominational. I believe spiral scouts allows that flexibility so it may be a case by case kind of thing. You'd probably have to contact the nearest group and see.

My friends had their kids on a spiral scouts group and I believe that one was less Pagan and more nature based secular(ish), though they did cover ancient mythologies.

I can't give you specific recs to scout groups but I can offer my own personal experience growing up (for 10 years +) in a mixed gender wonderfully inclusive scouting group.
In Italy, where I'm from, we have the main stream 'religious' scouts and the 'secular' ones. Both groups welcome both girls and boys without separating them into subgroups, something I find quite utterly ridiculous and at the end of the day counterproductive to the whole scouting phylosophy. The activities were closer to what I would assume are the classic American Boy Scouts with lots of camping and outdoor stuff and I loved every minute of it. The large majority of the kids I grew up with then went on to become chiefs of their own (a volunteer position in Italy and not paid) and the only reason I didn't was because I left the country.
I definitely want my son to have a similar experience and even though I will have a look at our local Boy Scout group since I understand they can change a lot from area to area I would much much rather prefer to send my child to a more accepting kind of group.
Good luck finding a group that will fit you and your family ) I wish you all the best

I've heard good things about 4-H, but have no personal experience with it. Perhaps that might be another avenue to search?

My brother was a Spark (littler Camp Fire kids) many years ago and really enjoyed it. Don't know how much the organization has changed in the last 25 years or so. I'm guessing a lot depends on the troop leaders though, right?

Why no acceptance BSA????

I thought about putting my 7 year old in it, but I met with a couple of people and felt overly judged (I'm 24 with two kids aged 7 1/2 and 4 1/2. So, I can see if you just felt that it wasn't welcoming.

There is the Awanas which I believe is done through churches.

My son did that for a year while he was being watched by my neighbor's mom (their kids did it too).

The Boy Scouts discriminate based on sexual orientation. Our family is queer, we wouldn't be welcome even if we wanted to attend.

I imagine that from what I have heard of AWANA, they wouldn't want us even if we wanted them, as well.

I had no idea they discriminated at all (in that manner). That's terrible!!!! I am sorry :(
I don't understand discrimination for things that people have no business in.

I don't know about the Awanas, but maybe because they are a Christian-base, it may be the same kind of situation (which should be the LAST place for that).

Let me know what you find out. And if you go with the Campfire Kids :)

The homeschool group we used to play with was starting an Earth Scouts group, but I'm not sure if it ever materialized. It looks to be something that can be done on an individual basis -- so you guys could easily start a group if you found other interested families.

Have you asked around at Elliot's school? I would imagine that quite a few of the families there would be opposed to the Boy Scouts, too. I know RVCS has Girl Scouts but I would be shocked if they even allowed BSA to meet there.

i have heard good things about campfire kids :-)

My son is in campfire and it is a lot of fun!

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