Today's Mighty Oak

Scoutmaster’s Minute



I honestly didn’t expect to be doing so much writing so quickly, I didn’t expect the BSA to move as fast as it has.  But I’m more than happy to have come out, guns blazing, if it means making the world a better place for those coming after me.

The first post of the week (The case against discrimination), was something I had worked on in the past, and of course, wish I had more time with.  I still obsess over word choice and phrasing and presenting the best case I possibly can.  But, I didn’t have any more time to wait.  I’m not sure if it changed anyone’s mind, but I certainly hope it helped or at least showed the science and logical proof to ending this ban.

I’ll be getting back to working on the feature “The secrets of the slideshows” and more regular blogging as well, I’m sure you’ve all missed that (again, let me have my fantasies that I have a massive, world-wide audience).  The slideshows themselves were very cathartic, actually.

They were the one gift that I could give the entire staff.  I worked with so many staff members, that honestly, unless you were around for three or more years, were a key staff member I worked with on a daily basis, or really screwed up your paperwork, I wasn’t going to remember you.  It was just the nature of the beast, sadly when you have about 250 staff members and C.I.T.s at Heritage and CSM, not to mention the staff I worked with at Guyasuta (I didn’t do Twin Echo staff, but I think that was going to change).

But the slideshow let me give everyone a gift.  Yes, the pictures were fun, and sometimes there were themes that emerged, but it was the music that I loved the most.  And if you listen to the music, you can probably hear hints of me in the selections I made.  I hope you’ll go back and watch the slideshows if you were on staff those years, I’ll be working on that series over the next few weeks.

But for the last post in this special series, I wanted to reproduce a Scoutmaster’s Minute:

Whose camp is it?

Scouts who come to Heritage Reservation for the first time ask “Who owns Heritage?” Well,
the answer to that is pretty simple. The Laurel Highlands Council, and because your unit is
from this area, that makes you a part of the Council. So in a way, you are a part owner of this
wonderful place.

But you are an owner of Heritage Reservation in a more important way. Every youth who
camps here leaves a little bit of themselves with this camp. The improvement project you
participate in, your care of the land and the water, your responsibility in not littering or
destroying any living thing or damaging any property stays here as part of you. That not only
makes you an owner of Heritage, it makes you a permanent part of it.

Pittsburgh (Plum, specifically) is the home of W. D. Boyce, the founder of the BSA.  He was a newspaper titan, and on a trip to London, got lost in the fog and was helped by a Scout, who refused to accept a tip from him.  He was so impressed by the program that he brought the program back to the United States.

And as it turns out, Boyce’s grandson, William Boyce Mueller, was gay.  Boyce never lived to meet his grandson, but do you really think he would have wanted the organization he founded to exclude his own relative?  Only a monster would expect that.

It’s an easy point to make, but maybe that just means it’s too easily overlooked: the Scout Law calls us to be trustworthy, friendly and kind.  The admonition of the Order of the Arrow calls us to love one another.  It’s not hard to treat one another with dignity and respect, and in doing so, supporting the children who may need the organization the most.  I’m not asking for much, just for a common recognition of our humanity.  We’re all in this together, after all.

I’ve neglected it, but I have to give a special shout out to Alpha Phi Omega.  The brothers I worked with in the past (I was the advisor for a section conference as well as started Scouting University at SVC), have been very supportive.  APO has always had a close relationship with Scouting, and they’ve had their own issues to work through, mainly the integration of women, but they tend to move forward much faster and with much less drama.

And a special thank you to everyone who has read along, commented and sent me messages.  I never expected to get anywhere near the reaction that I have.  It’s been wonderful to talk with you all, reminisce about some fond memories, and also realize that I have much more support than I thought I did.  So thank you.

I hope that you can see why I think people should be judged on their actions, and their works, not on how they were created.  Why should a simple difference in hormones (in utero no less) be more important that the work I did over 11 summers (and five full-time years).  I think that if you worked with me, you can understand the sentiment.

A very good friend likes to call me “the glue” (and a couple others have picked up the phrase as well).  I still argue that I wasn’t that important, that I was easily replaceable.   But I look back and see the 10,000 people I got registered for camp each year, the 100+ hour week I put in for MountainFest (including the marathon 20 hour day of registration), the program we put together for 10,000 campers at Campaganza, the 700 people at Volunteer Celebration and the untold sold-out Winter Weekends, and the myriad of other weekend events, website launches, graphic design projects and insurance thrown at me, and the fact that it took two people to “replace” me, maybe I was a little important.

I mentioned it before, but I think it bears repeating, especially after this week of posts.  Oftentimes, I forget that I’m out.  There are much more interesting things about me, and quite frankly, unless we’re dating, my sexuality isn’t going to affect you.

So it is my wish that people can look past who I love (but I’d rather welcome you to that celebration, anyway), and remember the work ethic, and the smile.  And realize, we’re not so different.

I hope you enjoyed this week of posts and I hope you learned something along the way.  I’ll be back, we still have a host of other rights to fight for, but for now, I just hope I made a positive impact.  Thanks for reading.

All my best,

Mike

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