So, Boy Scouts: evil, pure evil, or sometimes non-evil?

The Boy Scouts have their own multi-decadal epic pedophilia scandal going on. Astoundingly similar to the one afflicting the Catholic church.

Story #1:

News organizations and child advocates are awaiting an Oregon court’s ruling on whether thousands of internal files documenting suspected pedophiles in Scouting should be released to the public.
The so-called “ineligible volunteer” files are kept at the Boy Scouts’ national headquarters in Irving.
Spanning two decades between 1965 and 1985, they tell unspeakable stories.

Story #2:

With the Vatican in the grips of a pedophilia scandal, the spotlight in America is being turned on U.S. scouting, which is accused of keeping quiet about decades of alleged sexual aggression by its leaders against young boys.

The Boy Scouts of America are being sued by a man who said he was abused five times when he was between 11 and 12 years old by his then-scoutmaster in Portland, Oregon.

The identity of the alleged victim, now 37, is being concealed for fear of reprisals related to the 29-million-dollar sex abuse lawsuit he brought against the Boy Scouts of America and its local Portland branch, the Cascade Pacific Council.

Etc., etc., etc.

This is all very depressing for me, as we have two kids, a girl (almost 6) and a boy (just turned 3). My wife is starting up a new Daisy Girl Scout troop. The Girl Scouts seem like a good organization – my wife speaks very highly of the moms she’s met through there. And Lord knows there’s nothing wrong with the concept of an organization dedicated to making positive experiences for kids!

But the fucking Boy Scouts… man, not only do they have this pedophilia thing going on, but they also have their astoundingly offensive anti-atheist, anti-agnostic, and anti-homosexual membership policy. As far as I know, the Girl Scouts have none of these things. I am vehemently opposed to all of these policies, and so I have severe qualms about letting my son anywhere near that organization.

So my question is, are there any other organizations (whether local to the Pacific Northwest where I live, or nationwide) that have similarly valuable functions as the Boy Scouts? All-boys organizations would be fine, or co-ed, it doesn’t matter. Basically I want my son to have some kind of Scouting-like experience, without the evils of the actual Boy Scouts themselves.

Edit: Did I mention our family is Unitarian Universalist? Turns out our church has already had a falling out with the Boy Scouts of America. DEFINITELY not gonna go there now!

Wouldn’t the classification of the pedos as “ineligible volunteers” suggest that they are in fact making some attempt to exclude them from working in their organization?

Well, to give them credit, the their astoundingly offensive anti-atheist, anti-agnostic, and anti-homosexual membership policies were their attempts to keep all the sexual predators out. Unfortunately for the kids, nobody realized until it was too late that it’s actually the religious men doing most of the molesting.

I’d go with just evil.

They don’t have the catholic church history of:

[li]Siding with oppressive regimes against the vast majority of population.[/li][li]Using the religion excuse to send millions to die for land.[/li][li]Fucking up the Jewish people during WW2[/li][li]Coming up with new and improved torture techniques and using them enthusiastically[/li][li]Support the killing of 22 million indigenous people in central America alone[/li][li]Protecting child abusers[/li][li]Denouncing feminism and women’s rights movements as sinful.[/li][li]Making a full third of the wold population think sex is dirty and unnatural.[/li][li]Using the “but we also DO GOOD!” excuse so people can’t blame them for any of that terrible terrible shit.[/li][li]Using the “hey, that was a LONG TIME AGO” defense so people can’t blame them for the previously mentioned shit.[/li][li]Keeping third word countries fucked with their anti sex ed, anti birth control practices[/li][li]Keeping third world countries fucked up with their support for ultra conservative regimes (see #1).[/li][li]See # 9 and # 10 again, and again, and again.[/li][/ol]
I’d say scouts are downright angelic in comparison.

fwiw, during my many years as a scout I never encountered pedo behavior, not to say it wasn’t there, at least me and my troop buddies never heard about it. We thought it was stupid in many things, but we never heard or encountered any child abuse, nor have we heard of any news about in my country in, what, the last 26 years or so.

The Scouts weren’t pedos when i was a scout for about three months, just assholes. They ditched me after a scouting meeting and locked me, apparently unnoticed, in the pitch black church basement when i was 10. Hehe, yea, i got the hint.

You might want to check out to see if CampfireUSA is active in your area. It was originally a girls’ alternative to Boy Scouting, but now includes both girls and boys.

Edit: And for what it’s worth, I think that the Boy Scouts of America have come under increasing influence of the Conservative Christian groups, a development that has contributed to their anti-gay position. Girl Scouting specifically forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation. Other Scouting organizations around the world find that sexual orientation is a non-issue. I don’t believe that Canadian Boy Scouting discriminates, for example.

Good luck in your search. My brothers enjoyed the Y Indian Guides, though the organization is, I think, disbanded due to the racism inherent in some of its portrayals of Native Americans. Their experiences with Boy Scouting were mixed. In the US, the quality was pretty meh. They had a great time with their scout troops in England, though.

CampfireUSA would seem to fit UU principles too.

Past allegations alone doesn’t mean an organization is bad. Likewise, you can’t pretend that no past exposure means any particular venue is safe. From what I’ve seen of the statistics on child sexual abuse, you have to maintain a healthy sense of skepticism about everyone, particularly the people you trust the most. I’m not saying this to defend the scouts or the Catholics, but just because it’s what I believe.

We tried out scouts with my son, but I found it lacking. He seemed mostly ambivilant, and I couldn’t get into hanging out with the scouts. I boogered up my hands trying to carve a wooden race car (half a dozen bandaids on my fingers and palm) and that was the last straw.

The girl scouts in the PNW are amazing. They have money–big tracts of undeveloped land by the waterfront, where they have camps setup for the girls. They also have tons of paperwork. If the boys did something, it was just like a few dads deciding who would drive, who would make the costco run, etc. If the girls scouts do anything, the first thing that happens is a dozen forms go home, all of which need to be filled out in triplicate for your child is to do anything. I kind of liked that anal sort of organization, but it was funny how deeply different the one organization was from the other. I did a cookie drive once and my daughter still goes to camp. Good luck!

The different trajectories of the Girl and Boy Scouts really does seem in some way to symbolize the different ways gender roles have developed in society. Where the Girl Scouts were originally just a “me-too” wannabe Boy Scouts, they have developed into this robust positive organization nationwide that is the equal in every way to where the Boy Scouts used to be. While, otoh, the Boy Scouts is being crushed by the reactionary socio-political fights irrelevant to its mission and its leaders’ desires to transform it from within into a boot camp for foot soldiers in the culture wars.

They have money–big tracts of undeveloped land by the waterfront, where they have camps setup for the girls.

I never thought I’d hear someone praising the girl scouts for their huge… tracts of land!

I’m not sure what it’s like in Honduras, but for the most part international boy scout units don’t seem to have that much in common in with the motherland’s. The scouting group I was a part of seemed to have gone to great lengths to be an official Boy Scouts of America (!) chapter abroad as opposed to a Costa Rican Boy Scout organization that existed separately from us. My troop did go much more Christian in later years (around 1993, iirc) and while it was more the Ned Flanders brand of bullshit than Jesus Jihad, it was definitely clear that people uncomfortable with that message should leave. Pity, as it was a good way to get to do a lot of different things before the badges and sieg heil took center stage.

I don’t have any direct experience, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about Campfire as well.

Do you guys have Cadets? They do in us commonwealth countries and although they are for older kids, usually, they can be a great alternative.

Here in NZ I went to Sea Scouts (one does cubs until about 11 or 12, I forget, then scouts). It was fun, we mucked about on boats and went on coastal holidays with them, etc etc.

That’s a good point. I don’t have as much to do with the girl scouts, but I know one of the dad’s on the boy scouts turned me off by talking about a homosexual boy, or maybe an atheist boy. He told me this story about a boy who was being marginalized and I said, “That’s fucked up,” or something like that and then I realized we were approaching the story with different points of view. He was very generous about it (I was in his car, so that was kind of him). But I was surprised to find that attitude here in the excruciatingly PC Pacific Northwest.

Scout troops vary hugely in their interpretation and implementation of BSA’s official values, as well as in pretty much all other respects.

The troop nearest me when I was a kid had a Scoutmaster with one leg. They never went camping or hiking; they did some public service and had discussions of various topics and that was it. I never heard of them encountering any controversy whatsoever.

The troop I joined was some 70 years old, and so was the Scoutmaster. We went camping and hiking all the time thanks to some energetic Assistant Scoutmasters, including my dad, but often we were subjected to rambling, near-nonsensical lectures about God, duty, guns (?), and not cussing or gambling (?!). Our numbers included kids who were serious discipline cases, including pyromaniacs and animal torturers. One Assistant Scoutmaster was arrested for molesting boys who lived in his neighborhood, though as far as we know he never laid a finger on anyone in the troop. The fact was acknowledged at a meeting without much comment (it had already been in the papers), and there was no “he was a sinner” aspect to the announcement. On one campout, two notoriously hyperactive kids were caught engaging in anal sex in their tent. They were separated but not punished or kicked out.

A third troop in our county was a sort of crazy cult of personality centered around their Scoutmaster, who added all kinds of weird rituals and extra rules to the ones in the manual, like yelling “GOD BLESS THE COOK” after every meal. Mostly these would be considered conservative rules, but he also let girls join. That got him in trouble with BSA, and he left the national organization to go independent, but IIRC his troop finally dissolved when he slapped a kid across the face.

A fourth troop included the first open racists I ever met in my life, when I was inducted into the Order of the Arrow, the secret society within Scouting. The two boys assigned to supervise our group informed me that I went to “a nigger school” and that they’d heard my troop was “a nigger troop.” One of them had a Confederate flag patch on his uniforms under the American flag patch, which is way, way not in the manual. Oh, and he also told me that I “look like a Jew.” They were just two guys, to be fair, but I sure didn’t hear anyone talking like that in my troop.

So in other words, YMMV.

I was going to blow this crappy forum, but now I have to stick around to see how John Many Jars made out in the Adventure of the Order of the Arrow!

Order of the Arrow was boring as hell. It basically means you do extra work at the campouts.

In first or second grade I was a Campfire boy that was attached to the only Catholic Church in the county. I think my parents steered me away from the local Boy Scout because they knew the neighborhood kids were assholes.

I don’t really have a lot of strong memories other than they didn’t molest me (either organization). And no stupid uniforms.

You guys and your wussy boy scout trips. I scoff at you wimps. In my youth I went to altar boy camp and survived. The staff was entirely Catholic priests.

No molesting going on that I was aware of, but maybe I just wasn’t pretty enough :(

Your scouts suck. Scouts in Sweden were much better.