Scouting leaders focused on Jamboree, not gay vote - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Scouting leaders focused on Jamboree, not gay vote

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Deadly shooting at a large party in Beckley

    Man dies after a Shooting during a Party outside of Beckley, Now the Search is On for the Suspect

    Man dies after a Shooting during a Party outside of Beckley, Now the Search is On for the Suspect

    Sunday, September 14 2014 3:10 PM EDT2014-09-14 19:10:52 GMT
    The Raleigh County Sheriff's office responded to a shooting at a party just outside of Beckley early Sunday morning. As a result of these gunshots, Roland Howard Frazier, 23, was hit and later died.
    The Raleigh County Sheriff's office responded to a shooting at a party just outside of Beckley early Sunday morning. As a result of these gunshots, Roland Howard Frazier, 23, was hit and later died.
  • UPDATE: Beckley Police catch suspects involved in shooting on Summers Street

    UPDATE: Beckley Police catch suspects involved in shooting on Summers Street

    Sunday, September 14 2014 2:48 PM EDT2014-09-14 18:48:51 GMT
    After 19 year-old Tyrell Smith was shot twice on his hip and wrist, the suspects have been found. Detective Bragg with the Beckley Police Department said they quickly got tips as to where the suspects were. Once they found the vehicle near Antonio street, there was a short pursuit, then police caught the suspects.
    After 19 year-old Tyrell Smith was shot twice on his hip and wrist, the suspects have been found. Detective Bragg with the Beckley Police Department said they quickly got tips as to where the suspects were. Once they found the vehicle near Antonio street, there was a short pursuit, then police caught the suspects.
  • A Tazewell County Mother Says Eric Smith Will Not Be Forgotten 10 Months After His Disappearance

    A Tazewell County Mother Says Eric Smith Will Not Be Forgotten 10 Months After His Disappearance

    Saturday, September 13 2014 8:51 PM EDT2014-09-14 00:51:17 GMT
    It's been ten months since a man was reported missing in TazewellCounty.Police said Eric Smith, a General Mine Foreman at Buchanan Mine No. 1 in Buchanan County,Virginia,was reported missing onNovember 8, 2013after he failed to return home from a hunting trip.Eric Smith's mother, Dreama Smith, said she will never let Eric be forgotten.Dreama said, "We pray everyday that something will open."Cedar Bluff Police Chief, David Mills, said they are constantly checking leads.Mills said, "Everyday so...
    It's been ten months since a man was reported missing in TazewellCounty.Police said Eric Smith, a General Mine Foreman at Buchanan Mine No. 1 in Buchanan County,Virginia,was reported missing onNovember 8, 2013after he failed to return home from a hunting trip.Eric Smith's mother, Dreama Smith, said she will never let Eric be forgotten.Dreama said, "We pray everyday that something will open."Cedar Bluff Police Chief, David Mills, said they are constantly checking leads.Mills said, "Everyday so...
  • BusinessBusinessMore>>

  • ASBDC to honor small business coach

    ASBDC to honor small business coach

    Sunday, September 14 2014 4:00 PM EDT2014-09-14 20:00:15 GMT
    America's Small Business Development Centers recently announced James Epling has been selected as the West Virginia 2014 State Star. The ASBDC State Star honors outstanding employees from Small Business Development Centers.
    America's Small Business Development Centers recently announced James Epling has been selected as the West Virginia 2014 State Star. The ASBDC State Star honors outstanding employees from Small Business Development Centers.

  • Frontier, Dish to award small towns

    Frontier, Dish to award small towns

    Sunday, September 14 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-09-14 19:00:16 GMT
    Frontier Communications will help revitalize small towns through “America's Best Communities,” an $8.5 million, nationwide prize competition.
    Frontier Communications will help revitalize small towns through “America's Best Communities,” an $8.5 million, nationwide prize competition.
  • Writer, author, scuba diver calls WV home, again

    Writer, author, scuba diver calls WV home, again

    Sunday, September 14 2014 1:00 PM EDT2014-09-14 17:00:12 GMT
    Eric Douglas is a journalist, author and … scuba diver? That's right. A graduate of Marshall University, Douglas received a degree in journalism. However, originally from Cross Lanes, he moved to Orange County, California to pursue a career he wouldn't have been able to in the Mountain State.
    Eric Douglas is a journalist, author and … scuba diver? That's right. A graduate of Marshall University, Douglas received a degree in journalism. However, originally from Cross Lanes, he moved to Orange County, California to pursue a career he wouldn't have been able to in the Mountain State.

JOHN RABY,Associated Press

 

GLEN JEAN, WV (AP) — Two months after a vote that accepted openly gay boys as Scouts, officials for the Boy Scouts of America say they've put the issue aside and are focused on their 10-day national Jamboree.

Some 30,000 Scouts and their leaders arrived Monday at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in southern West Virginia. Thousands more staff and volunteers have been at the 1,000-acre site since last week.

Months of divisive debate led to May's vote by the BSA's National Council to allow gay Scouts to participate while keeping a ban on gay adults. The policy change is effective next January.

"We don't see any changes in the way we do things at the jamboree at all," Wayne Brock, the BSA's chief executive, told The Associated Press. "We don't see where it would have any kind of impact."

With much negative attention directed toward the Boy Scouts in recent months, Brock said the hope is that the Jamboree proves to be a big, positive event.

"People are going to see kids getting together, having a great time and learning," Brock said. "That's what the public will see is what Scouting is really all about."

BSA national president Wayne Perry said Scouting leaders have been too active to reflect much on the decision.

"We've debated this issue, but we've moved on," Perry said.

As Scouts get settled into their tents on six base camps and dive into the dozens of amenities that include whitewater rafting, mountain and BMX biking, and rock climbing, national BSA spokesman Deron Smith said the organization is unaware of any openly gay Scouts attending the Jamboree, noting "we do not proactively inquire about the sexuality of Scouts, or leaders."

But Pascal Tessier, 16, of Kensington, Md., an openly gay scout who isn't attending the Jamboree because of prior commitments, said some of his gay friends who are Scouts are attending.

"I don't think they're too worried about anything happening there," he said. "They've already been accepted. But they're also not making a big deal about it. They're regular Scouts."

Tessier believes it's inevitable that Scouts will discuss the BSA's decision at the Jamboree.

"Not officially, but by themselves," he said.

Scout officials said they're unaware of any scheduled protests at the Jamboree. Rich Ferraro of GLAAD, formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said the media watchdog group has no planned events around the Jamboree and is continuing work to end the Scouts' ban on gay adults.

"The Boy Scouts took an important first step, but there's still a long way to go," Ferraro said.

Earlier this year, GLAAD led a successful campaign to get two musical acts — Carly Rae Jepsen and Train — to drop their planned appearances at the summer event. Jamboree officials have not announced the act for a July 20 concert.

Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, an activist raised by lesbian mothers in Iowa, is executive director of Scouts for Equality, a group he started last summer whose membership has grown to more than 15,000.

Wahls said despite the policy change, "99 things out of 100 will continue to be the same for the Boy Scouts of America. And I think it's important for everybody to remember that. As far as our expectations, we hope it's a great Jamboree."

John Stemberger, a conservative activist and former Scout from Florida who led a group opposing the policy change, said he expects to see openly gay activism at the Jamboree. He questioned how leaders will handle the issue of tenting of "boys who openly announce their attraction to other boys."

Stemberger founded a national coalition of parents, Scoutmasters, Eagle Scouts, donors and other BSA members working to create an alternative program to the Boy Scouts.

"For many of our members, this will be the last scouting event they attend before resigning from the BSA," he wrote in an email.

At an annual meeting in Houston last month, the Southern Baptist Convention approved a resolution expressing its opposition to the new policy allowing gay Scouts, but it didn't explicitly call for churches to drop all ties with the organization.

"In terms of the Jamboree and summer activities ... really at this point nothing has changed," said Roger Oldham, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention. "Nobody should have concerns about (openly gay Scouts) at this year's Jamboree because the membership policy has not changed."

(Associated Press writer Michael Felberbaum in Richmond, Va., contributed to this report).

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.