Around 160 local Boy Scouts of America registered leaders, parents of registered scouts and donors met Tuesday evening in Charleston to discuss what effect ending a longtime ban on gay leaders and scouts would have on the organization.
“Bring our stakeholders up to speed on some of the national issues facing the Boy Scouts right now concerning membership standards and the issue of allowing or not allowing homosexuals to be leaders or scouts,” said Jeffrey Purdy, Scout Executive for the Buckskin Council.
The meeting was held at the Scouts’ Buckskin Council headquarters on Kanawha Boulevard and was not meant to result in a decision being made, but rather just getting the information out there and getting feedback from members.
Purdy said they got some good feedback from members.
“The people there were very passionate about scouting. Some of them had very strong opinions and there was differing opinions represented,” said Purdy. “But at all times people were respectful and acted in a very scout-like manner.”
The Boy Scouts discussion regarding whether to allow gay members to join openly began after the organization started receiving backlash from equality groups earlier this year.
Tuesday night’s meeting was just one of numerous similar meetings that have been or are expected to be held in the coming months across the nation regarding this issue.
“We will be using the data and feedback that we got from our stakeholders to formulate what we would call an impact statement for our Buckskin Council and then send that to the region and then the region sends it to the national to cumulatively add these things up from the 290 Boys Scout Councils nationwide,” said Purdy.
All the feedback and data from councils nationwide will be gathered by May at which time the national organization will then propose a recommended course of action based upon the data collected.
The organization will then take a vote on the proposal sometime during its next meetings on May 22, 23 and 24.
The Buckskin Council oversees Boy Scouts in 19 counties in West Virginia, three in Virginia and one in Kentucky.