Park Slope scout troop welcomes boys, girls, gays
Todd Schweikert loved being a Boy Scout as a child growing up in Iowa, but as a Brooklyn dad he’s been “turned off” by the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policies. So he started his own troop — one that welcomes both boys and girls, doesn’t discriminate against gays and doesn’t mandate religious beliefs.
“A lot of people have issues with their policies,” he told DNAinfo, which first reported his activities.
The 33-year-old Windsor Terrace resident chose the Baden-Powell Service Association to be the parent organization of his troop. Like other scouting groups, BPSA fosters such skills as woodcraft, lighting fires, first aid and tying knots. Scouts, both male and female, will get to go camping and hiking and canoeing.
“Any form of discrimination, no matter how small, is never ok and not something I can endorse and wish to teach to my children,” Schweikert wrote in an email to The Huffington Post.
While not everyone agrees with Schweikert’s inclusiveness, Huffington Post readers applauded the troop. One commenter wrote in, “There should be a merit badge for what this man is doing!”
Schweikert’s Fifth Brooklyn Scouts plan to meet weekly at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture on Prospect Park West. More than 40 children have expressed interest so far, he said. (See www.facebook.com/5thBrooklynScouts or call 718-938-1919 for more information.)
In July, the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its policy of barring openly gay boys from membership and gay or lesbian adults from serving as leaders, the New York Times reported.