Boy Scout and Girl Scout Groups Hosted by Your Congregation at Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet, Joliet, IL
BSA Venturing Crew 639
We were first chartered by UUCJ in 2013 as a way to change BSA policy from the inside. I was on the Board of Trustees and a lifelong Scouter. Our congregation was in need of a young adult youth group. I suggested the Venturing program of the BSA to give structure and program to our group. Because I was familiar with the BSA, I could integrate the two groups. There were definite concerns and push back from some members of the congregation about having UUCJ partnered with the BSA, considering their membership policies at the time. Our newly elected Crew President and myself (Crew Advisor) made a presentation and had a discussion about the Crew in front of the whole congregation. We explained that our intention was to work from the inside of the BSA to have the membership policy changed. We were in no way going to submit to the current policy and were welcoming to all individuals. My wife was the Chartered Organization Representative. She and myself, along with members of the Crew, had conversations with our local Council Executive and explained our position. After several discussions with the Council Board, we were informed that not only were we welcome in the council, but if any other units choose to go against the National BSA membership policy, that they would be supported as far as the Council Executives could take it.
When the national BSA vote was made to include first gay youth and then gay adults the following year, we were at the forefront of making sure that the Council voted for this change and that the change did indeed happen.
We are very proud of our involvement in making the BSA an inclusive organization and continue to work to have non-theist indivduals accepted as well.
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