The Boy Scouts of America will vote on whether to lift the ban on gays holding leadership positions and allowing openly gay youth to participate in the program.
Jeff Purdy, a scout executive with the Buckskin Council of West Virginia, said the Boy Scouts of America are obligated to adhere to any national policies. That’s what the council intends to do once the final decision is made later this week at the BSA National Convention in Grapevine, Texas.
At this point, Purdy said leaders and members of local troops are focusing on their future, including a massive event being held in their back yard, the National Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scouting Center in Fayette County.
“We’re sending four Boy Scout troops to the national jamboree and we’re gearing up for typical summer programs,” he said. “We’re just really busy and we need to stay busy focusing on what we do which is deliver quality scouting programs to our kids.”
The Buckskin Council met in March in Charleston to discuss lifting the organization’s ban on gays. The council heard from parents, leaders, scouts and donors and passed those comments on to the National BSA.
The board will use those comments and others from 240-plus councils around the country to make their decision, expected to be levied Thursday.
No matter the decision, Purdy said the council’s mission does not change.
“We’re going to try to get kids outdoors, camping, teach them leadership skills and teach them to be good scouts.”
There hasn’t been much backlash here in West Virginia over the controversial issue, but it has impacted the Jamboree. Musical acts Carly Rae Jepsen and Train, set to perform at the event, pulled out because of the Boy Scouts’ ban on gays.
Train has said it will perform at the event if the ban is lifted.