Alameda Council Boy Scouts of America to honor adult volunteers

By Staff Reports | Bay Area News Group February 15, 2018 at 6:00 am ALAMEDA — The Alameda Council Boy Scouts of America will be honoring adult volunteers at the Annual Recognition Dinner on Feb. 24 at the Alameda Elks Lodge. The Alameda Council BSA has nearly 300 registered adults who provide mentorship to more than 1,000 of Alameda’s youth each year. The highlight of the event will be the presentation of the 2017 Silver Beaver award, the highest achievement by an adult volunteer in the council, to Ken Carvalho, according to Patrick Kenney, vice president of marketing and past president of the Alameda Council BSA. Carvalho began his Scouting tenure as a Cub Scout in Pack 14 in 1972, became an Eagle Scout in Troop 11 in 1979 and has been an adult volunteer Scouter for more than 20 years, Kenney said. He has served on the executive board of the Alameda Council BSA since 2012 and has led the annual Friends of Scouting fundraising campaigns. He has also been an active volunteer with the Alameda Indian Princesses, Alameda Junior Gold Club, Alameda Museum, Alameda Architectural preservation Society, Alameda Legacy Home Tour, Franklin Elementary School and the Alameda Community Learning Center. In addition, other awards will go to the District Award of Merit, Council Oscars for Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Sea Scouts, Venturing, Commissioner Service, unit achievement, veteran awards and the new BSA North Star award, according to Kenney. Since 1917, the Alameda Council BSA has been a cornerstone of community service for Alameda’s youth. The Scouting program provides outdoor skills, leadership training, character development, physical education and promotes active citizenship for all participants. The Alameda Council is the largest youth serving organization in Alameda , serving more than 20 percent of all Scouting age youth (boys and girls) in the Island.Alameda Council was the 22nd chartered council and is one of the three Continue Reading

Girls are stars in Girl Scouts. They’d be supporting players in Boy Scouts.

Girl Scouts is the premier girl leadership organization in the world, and I am proud to serve as its 20th chief executive officer. Every day we work to carry out the vision of our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, who believed in the power of every girl to make a positive impact on the world. We are disappointed that Boy Scouts of America has chosen to open its program to girls in contravention of its charter, rather than focusing on the 90% of American boys not being served by Boy Scouts. We believe strongly in the importance of the safe, all-girl, girl-led and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides.  More: Megyn Kelly had a hard-hitting brand. Why is NBC making her dance? More: 'Front Row Kids' and values have taken over our courts: Glenn Reynolds At Girl Scouts, girls aren’t the ancillary tag-along or supporting player — they are the central character. For more than a century, Girl Scouts has delivered unparalleled experiences that allow girls to discover their passions, develop leadership and people skills, explore their worlds, and embark on new adventures. Adult mentors and strong female role models show them they can be anything they want to be.Through earning badges, including the science badge, for which I built an Estes model rocket and launched it into the sky, I learned to persevere — to create a plan, to regroup when things did not go as planned, to learn from failures, and to try again. My pursuit of engineering and rocket science, at a time when girls like me were not encouraged to do so, is a direct result of my experience as a Girl Scout. It taught me to identify opportunities and to seize them.The culmination of the Girl Scout experience is the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting — and the most difficult to earn. The Gold Award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable “take action” projects Continue Reading

Madonna is GLAAD to honor Anderson Cooper and calls out the Boy Scouts to end gay ban

It was a gay (and lesbian) old time at the 24th annual Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards, where Madonna called for revolution, and NFL players, newscasters, “Jersey Shore” stars and Honey Boo Boo joined in the chant for civil rights. Dressed in a faux Cub Scouts uniform bearing the number 13, Madonna stole the show in an 11-minute speech before urging the Boy Scouts of America “to change their stupid rules” of banning gay members. She compared discrimination against homosexuals to white supremacists lynching black people in the Deep South and said, “I don’t know about you, but I can’t take this s— anymore. That’s why I want to start a revolution. Are you with me? It’s 2013. We live in America — the land of the free and home of the brave? That’s a question, not a statement.” After being introduced by Madonna, Anderson Cooper took the stage to receive the Vito Russo Award for promoting equality. There, the Material Girl gave him a big hug, grabbed his butt, then tattooed him with big messy kisses that left the CNN anchorman wiping red lipstick from his mouth. “I’ve had so many blessings in my life and being gay is certainly one of the greatest blessings,” said Cooper, thanking his boyfriend, Benjamin Maisani. “It has allowed me to love and to be loved.” Up to that point, the best-received comment of the night came when Honey Boo Boo, who was featured in a video montage, said, “Ain’t nothing wrong with being gay. Everybody’s a little gay.” Though Honey Boo Boo wasn’t there, her mother, Mama June Shannon tells [email protected] that staying active on the set of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” helped her shed 100 pounds. “If I lose more weight, I lose more weight,” she said nonchalantly. “I’m happy with who I am and I’ve always taught my kids Continue Reading

Siblings discover document detailing their father’s molestation of Boy Scouts, sparking them to recall their own abuse

On opposite sides of the world, the brother and sister sat transfixed before their computers, reading a stranger's account of long-ago secrets and deeply buried sins. The memo was just four pages long, about an incident in 1963 at a Boy Scout camp in New Jersey. A Scout executive had gotten drunk during an overnight outing, then was discovered gambling with a group of boys. But there was more. The brother and sister read on - about how this man "was observed molesting an Explorer Scout sitting at his side." About how he was admitted, voluntarily, to a mental hospital. They read about an investigation that determined he had tried to molest another Scout. It found that this man's "problem," as the document called it, had apparently existed for decades. They read, too, about a call from this local Boy Scouts council for "suppression of spread of incident beyond group with knowledge of it." ''We know enough to advise that Brandon P. Gray should never again be registered in any capacity with the Boy Scouts of America," the memo stated. In Alabama, her face lit by the glow of her computer monitor, Carol Gray sat back. While shocking in its way, none of what she read had really surprised her. The drinking, the abuse. They were sins she knew well, for they were the sins of her father. And she had been a victim. Eight thousand miles away, in a village in Africa, Jim Gray shared his sister's sense of numbness. The memo reaffirmed, in stark black and white, what he had also experienced firsthand. "I'm not crazy," he thought, feeling some semblance of vindication. Adults now, these siblings say they suffered years of abuse at the hands of their father. For Carol, the nightmare began long before the Boy Scouts learned of Gray's proclivities and fired him. But for Jim, the end of his father's scouting career was the beginning of his own torment. The story of Brandon Gray is the story of the inaction of the Boy Scouts of America. For his children, it is Continue Reading

Former Boy Scout sends Eagle medal to teen who was denied his own because he’s gay

A former Boy Scout has sacrificed his treasured Eagle medal to give to a shunned teen across the country, who was denied his own because he is gay. Dr. Andrew Zerbinopolous of Jacksonville, Fla., says it isn’t fair that the Boy Scouts of America refused to give the award to 17-year-old Ryan Andresen, on the basis of his homosexuality. “If I can make him feel like he has some support out there, it’s worth it to me to send him a piece of metal,” Zerbinopolous told First Coast News. TEEN BOY SCOUT DENIED EAGLE RANK BECAUSE HE'S GAY Andresen, of Moraga, Calif., says he had already completed all the requirements to become an Eagle Scout — the highest Boy Scout rank — when his scoutmaster refused to sign off on the award because he is gay. “It was by far the biggest goal of my life,” Andresen told Yahoo News. “It’s totally devastating.” Courtesy of the Andresen Family Ryan Andresen was denied the Eagle Scout award because he is gay. Zerbinopolous, a dentist, received his Eagle Scout badge in 1996. He keeps it on his desk at his practice in Jacksonville. “It really meant a lot to me, it was a real true sense of achievement,” he told First Coast News. EAGLE SCOUTS RETURN MEDALS TO PROTEST ANTI-GAY POLICY WTLV-WJXX Zerbinopolous, a former Boy Scout, was awarded his Eagle Scout medal in 1996. Boy Scouts of America is notorious for its exclusion of gays, prompting many Eagle Scouts to return their medals, often years after they earned them, to the organization in protest. While Zerbinopolous has held on to his, he hopes it helps ease the pain for Andresen. “I’m not ashamed of who I am. He shouldn’t be ashamed of who he is,” Zerbinopolous told First Coast News. “And even though it isn’t the same as receiving the award that he earned, I want him to know that there are people out there who support him.” Continue Reading

Eagle Scouts return medals to protest Boy Scouts anti-gay policy

Across the U.S., Eagle Scouts - the most esteemed rank in the Boy Scouts of America - are returning their hard-earned medals to protest the organization's ban of gay scouts and leaders, according to a report. The Boy Scouts said they didn't have a number "of those choosing to return medals over the years," but posts on the blog BoingBoing on Monday and Wednesday featured notices from several now-former Eagles who said they sent back their awards in response to the group's anti-gay stance. Chris Baker, an engineer in Minneapolis, said he decided to turn in his badge on Friday after spotting a Facebook post from a fellow scout who did the same. "I said, 'Let's do this. Let's drown them with returned Eagle Scout medals to show them they are wrong,'" Baker told the Daily News. In a letter to Bob Mazzuca, the organization's Chief Scout Executive, Baker, 31, slammed the Boy Scouts for "bigotry" and accused it of selling out its own values of inclusion and honor. "(As a Boy Scout) I was taught that it is wrong to exclude people, whether based on race, physical ability or sexual orientation," he wrote in the letter, which appeared on BoingBoing in a post written by his wife, a science editor there. Christopher Baker Baker, now 31 and a former Senior Patrol Leader, returned his medal and disavowed his association with the Eagle Scouts and Boy Scouts based on the organization's decision to continue to discriminate against gay people. "I was taught that a Boy Scout stands with those being persecuted, and not with the persecutor," he said. Baker spent ten years working toward the Eagle Scout's 21-badge requirement after first joining the Cub Scouts in 2nd grade in Port Washington, Wisc. As a teen in Kansas City, he picked up badges in activities like swimming and archery at Bartle Summer Camp near Osceola, and spent the school year working on service projects around the city. He cleaned public parks and helped build a pond at an elementary Continue Reading

Missouri Eagle Scout Eric Jones comes out, loses Boy Scouts job

Eric Jones was a member of the Boys Scouts of America for nearly 10 years up until Sunday. The 19-year-old, who was serving as a counselor at one of the organization's summer camps in Missouri, sat down with the camp director to tell him that he was gay. "I'd been working on coming out," Jones, who is also an Eagle Scout, told the Daily News. "I thought it was time to have my life of scouting and my other life come together." Jones, however, quickly lost his job, as the camp's director asked him to leave. "He said I was deserving to be there, but he had to follow the policy of BSA," Jones said. Boys Scouts of America has long been known to have a policy that bars openly gay males from joining the organization. Gay advocates recently told MSNBC that the organization is currently in the process of reviewing a resolution that would end the 102-year-old policy, but a Boy Scouts spokesman insisted that there weren't any current plans to change it. "Contrary to media reports, the Boy Scouts of America has no plans to change its membership policy," the spokesman said in a statement. "We do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA." Jones said that while he knew of the Boy Scouts policy, he thought that the director "would overlook it" because he had been working at the camp for nearly five years. "This is definitely good for me. I'm generally happy," Jones said, describing how he feels a day later. “But most importantly, I feel discriminated,” he added. Jones' conversation with the director was filmed and will be featured in a upcoming documentary, "Second Class Citizens," by Ryan James Yezak. “I want to give all encompassing look at discrimination because of sexual orientation,” Yezak said of the documentary, which he hopes to complete by the end of 2012. Jones and Yezak first got to know each Continue Reading

Hundreds of Boy Scouts protest sale of William H. Pouch Scout Camp

Hundreds of enraged scouts descended on Staten Island Saturday to protest the sale of a beloved nature camp.More than 500 current and former scouts turned out to demonstrate against a plan by the cash-strapped Greater New York City Council of the Boy Scouts of America to sell the William H. Pouch Scout Camp in Sea View. "We need so badly to save this place," said scout Mike Loconte, 17, of Annadale. "I've learned so much about myself here. Camp Pouch is part of who I am. Without it, scouting won't be the same." The mass protest was sparked by the Boy Scouts council's announcement last month that it needed to sell the 120-acre park due to severe financial problems. William Kelly, a council spokesman, said it was still looking for ways to avoid releasing the property. "We're doing everything we can," Kelly said. "We don't want to sell the property. We want to keep Pouch open." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

New York branch of Boy Scouts of America hires gay adult employee — defying national leadership

The New York chapter of the Boy Scouts of America has made history by hiring an openly gay adult — and telling bigotry to take a hike. They have hired a gutsy 18-year-old Eagle Scout named Pascal Tessier to work as a camp counselor this summer at the Ten Mile River Scout Camp in upstate New York. And nobody is prouder than his mom. “I am,” said Tracie Felker, who lives in Hagerstown, Md., when asked about her boundary-breaking boy. “It’s not a brave thing he is doing,” she added. “It’s something necessary, something that needs to be done.” Legal eagle David Boies, best known for leading the fight against California’s anti-gay marriage law, said Tessier “embodies the best qualities of an Eagle Scout, and of America.” “Permitting him to continue his service to scouts and to scouting is the right decision for the Boy Scouts, and for our community,” said Boies, who is also a former scout. “In the past, barring boys and adults from being scouts and scout leaders solely based on their sexual orientation hurt them, hurt scouting, and hurt our communities. Ending that discrimination is an important step in putting an ugly chapter of American history behind us.” Zach Wahls of Scouts for Equality called the hiring of Tessier a "watershed moment." "For the first time in the history of the Boy Scouts, an openly gay adult will join their ranks as a camp counselor," he said. “Pascal Tessier was the first out gay scout, and now it appears that he will also be the first out gay leader.” New Yorkers interviewed said Tessier deserves a special merit badge. “It’s like the civil rights movement all over again,” said Kimathi McKay, a 20-year-old St. John’s University student and a former scout from Framingham, Mass. “I’m really happy the New York chapter is standing up against the national Continue Reading

Boy Scouts badge of courage: So a New York camp wants to hire a gay counselor. Deal with it.

Knock, knock, Boy Scouts of America. It’s history calling — a turn of tide toward acceptance of gays in society. Fully and rightly protected by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Scouts adhere to banning openly gay employees and volunteers. But now, the Greater New York Council is defying the Texas-based national organization’s employment bar while honoring New York civil rights law, which forbids discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation. The Council has hired an impressive 18-year-old Eagle Scout named Pascal Tessier to work this summer as a camp counselor at the Ten Mile River scout camp in Sullivan County. Here was one more indication of how remarkably attitudes toward homosexuality are coming into line with the famous question posed by Pope Francis: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” The Council hired Tessier the same week that corporate giants like Apple and Walmart led the charge toward amending Indiana and Arkansas religious freedom laws that were widely seen as sanctioning anti-gay discrimination. Officials from national Boy Scouts HQ say they “are looking into the matter,” as if the hiring of a highly capable leader is a problem they must solve. Get over it. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading