Boy scouts struggling to recruit new members

By: WEAU 13 News Staff Email
By: WEAU 13 News Staff Email

The local boy scouts say a decision by the Eau Claire school district is making it tougher to recruit new members.

Gary Gilger with the scouts says for years they would go into the schools and talk to kids about scouting. But recently the Eau Claire School District decided against allowing them in to do that, because it could conflict with a federal equal access law.

Gilger says the organization is down about 75 1st grade students this year. But school leaders say they had to make this decision.

Tom Leibham with the Eau Claire School District says, "Under the equal access law, if we allow the scouts to come in and promote, then other organizations can promote. And that really gets to be a bit dicey, and those things are best left to parents and children, and not the school district making those decisions."

Leibham says the school district is in the process of gathering information from community organizations so parents can see what is offered in both a mailing and on the district's website.
The scouts have a recruitment night scheduled for October 25th at Chaos Water Park in Eau Claire.


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  • by Anonymous on Feb 25, 2010 at 03:00 PM
    I grew up in Eau Claire and I wish this had happened while I was still going to school there. All they have to do is let atheists have a club of their own. But they'd rather disallow the BSA from school than deal with that. What a sad world we live in. It's like saying, "oh, it was cool if the Christian's were doing it" but as soon as an atheist tries to get involved it's all "we shouldn't have been allowing that anyway, everyone must suffer from this now". Are these really the kind of school officials we should be trusting with our childrens education?
  • by Sam Location: Minneapolis on Feb 25, 2010 at 02:56 PM
    I grew up in Eau Claire and I wish this had happened while I was still going to school there. All they have to do is let atheists have a club of their own. But they'd rather disallow the BSA from school than deal with that. What a sad world we live in. It's like saying, "oh, it was cool if the Christian's were doing it" but as soon as an atheist tries to get involved it's all "we shouldn't have been allowing that anyway, everyone must suffer from this now". I think Christians should just call themselves hypocrites as their official title, because they base so much of their fundamental beliefs on equality but at the same time try to destroy any kind of equality amongst any one they don't agree with.
  • by Bruce Location: Orlando FL on Dec 7, 2009 at 07:26 AM
    I am an Eagle Scout and and atheist. The public will misinterpret this as the atheists stopping the wonderful Scouts when in fact the atheists only asked for equal access. The atheists, as usual, are refused. Black kids in the pool - no way - the pool is closed today. The issue is the gov't (spelled school board) considers Scouting discrimination=acceptable and non-Christian beliefs=dicey. I want to challenge Scout access during class time in my public school system but I know full well my family and my property would become the target of retaliation and shunning.
  • by Z on Dec 4, 2009 at 04:55 PM
    Like Aaron in Eau Clare, I would like to be able to go into the public schools to tell students about Camp Quest, the first secular summer camp in the US for the children of nonbelievers. Camp Quest does not proselytize non-belief, but encourages campers to question. All requests to present our program in the public schools in our district have been denied. Because of the Equal Access Act, our school district decided that in order to continue to deny access to Camp Quest, they would also close the schools to all outside groups. This is the sort of bigotry rampant in this country -- entrenched religious views cannot stand to share the stage with alternatives, even those that don't enter into their demographic they cannot stand competing views.
  • by Aaron Location: Eau Claire on Dec 4, 2009 at 09:30 AM
    I want all the bigots to know that I, as a leader of an atheist organization, would be able to go into public schools and "recruit" your children if Boy Scouts of America were allowed to go to public schools and recruit. However, I would not discriminate. I'd allow anyone to join and discuss atheism. The Equal Access laws would protect that. So, after I made this aware to the board, they had to decide if they wanted to pass out atheist pamphlets along with their Boy Scout pamphlets. :) They decided it was best to not endorse either.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 26, 2009 at 12:26 PM
    Actually as a christian I do not feel left out. I feel myself and others who are christians should be allowed to practice our faith. We should not back down because someone does not believe as we do (I do). the same some could be said of the atheist. I am wondering why homosexuality is brought into question with BSA. Does a child fully understand his sexaul orientation at 7 years old when he can first join. I have never heard any one in our BSA troop speak about someone's sexual orientation. So lets keep it to what it really is about and that is faith.
  • by Marie Antoinette Location: Paris on Oct 19, 2009 at 07:48 AM
    You can't have your cake and eat it, too, BSA. Now tell me, how does it feel to get left out?
  • by 4 Digits on Oct 16, 2009 at 07:04 PM
    Using religion as an excuse for excluding homosexual and atheist children is still, discrimination. Their right to do so, is not the point. The point is that they discriminate and no organization that excludes any one group of people, should be allowed within a school building. Try looking at it this way. There's a wonderful and fun organization that comes to your child's school. All the kids are jazzed to join. Your kid comes home begging you to sign him or her up. You then come to find out that this organization will not allow your child to join because of their weight or their hair color or because your child is an evangelical Christian and not a Catholic Christian? That's discrimination. It's the same thing. It doesn't matter what a person is discriminating against or the reason why... It does NOT belong in schools.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 16, 2009 at 04:41 PM
    My understanding is that BSA was built on christian values, the belief in God and Christ. This is a component of the program. The boys not only have the opportunity to engage in leadership roles and clinics to obtain further education in different areas, but also given the opportunity to participate in programming about their own individual faith be it Lutheran, Catholic, non denominational and Jewish etc. It is what it is. Discrimination? I think it is an organization just like a church. Some of us chose to believe in God some of us don't. Some of us attend a church or other organization to engage in similar beliefs about God and Christ Jesus others don't. That is the same with Boy Scouts. Unfortunately I do not know of any other organization that is available with these experiences for those who do not believe in God. But we as citizens all have the choice to believe in what we want. I chose christianity, therefore my child will be involved in christian based programs.
  • by Mike Location: Ladysmith on Oct 16, 2009 at 04:35 PM
    Kris, you can say the same for people on death row and prisons all over this country. Some of the worst criminals were Eagle Scouts too... One of my closest friends growing up was an eagle scout and he was one of the biggest thieves you'd ever meet. Also turned into a big druggie as well. I was in boy scouts for all of maybe 6 months and I didn't like it. Fast forward 30 years we took our son to a boy scout meeting. The meeting brought back memories and my son has not been there again....
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