Boy Scouts' Stance on Homosexuality Causes Official to Retreat from Retreat
8/8/2012 (Updated 11:18:11 PM)Citing the Boy Scouts' recent re-affirmation of it's policy to ban openly gay boys from membership, Binghamton Youth Bureau Director Colleen Wagner has refused to attend the Broome County Youth Bureau retreat at Camp Tuscarora on August 14th.
Camp Tuscarora is a Boy Scout facility.
The group offered use of the camp to the county Youth Bureau free of charge for it's retreat.
"As a city employee I took an oath to be inclusive to work for all youth. Would I like them to move it? Sure, that would be great. Because I feel as though my participation would be beneficial to the retreat," said Wagner.
Sean Massey, like Wagner, is a member of Binghamton's Human Rights Commission.
"When I was growing up the Boy Scouts was the after school program. I was a Cub Scout and was very, very into it. Knowing today that as an out gay man that I couldn't be part of that organization is very disappointing," said Massey.
The Director of the Broome County Youth Bureau says there are no plans to change the location of the meeting, and that Wagner raised no objections as the retreat was planned over the past month.
He says feedback from the board has overwhelmingly been to keep the meeting at Camp Tuscarora.
"'I think there's a lot of positive momentum moving us forward and would hate for our work to get derailed.' So the members of the board who have communicated with me have all been very concerned that Miss Wagner put out this letter. They want our Youth Bureau to move forward," said Art Garrison, Director of the Broome County Youth Bureau after reading one of the comments he says he received from a board member.
Roger Hoyt, Scout Executive for the Baden Powell Council and member of the Broome County Youth Bureau, wrote in response that the Scouts won't, "Sacrifice it's mission and the many youth who become caring, good, strong citizens."
Hoyt also says his program, "Teaches youth to respect other people, including other viewpoints." Some of those other viewpoints are expressing strong opinions.
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