The Czar’s boys are full-fledged Boy Scouts, replete with the traditional skills of fire building, survival shelters, rifle shooting, camping, eating weird foods, and volunteering all over the place, in uniform, to help out all sorts of seemingly lost causes to succeed. You can tell we’re very proud of them. In fact, all the boys in their troop would impress the hell out of you. Here in Muscovy, the general impression the boys get from their non-scouting peers is “I wish my parents let me stay in.” Of course, this is usually after the peers hear about white water rafting, rappelling, survival courses, high-rope adventures, and so on—scouts often leave out the anecdotes about hiking in freezing cold conditions or washing dishes for two hours in a total downpour. As one Eagle Scout told the Czar a couple years ago, the hardest scouting attribute to maintain is Cheerful: setting up a tent in pitch darkness in the middle of a freezing rain is easier to do without smiling like an idiot the whole time.
More of this, please, and less promotion of topics utterly unrelated to scouting. It hurts the girls.
Even with these mud-in-the-face challenges, the Boy Scouts in Muscovy are popular, and are frequently seen, in uniform, all over the community. Just this past weekend, Muscovy launched its Little League season, and there were the scouts to carry the flags. There’s hardly an event in town that doesn’t feature them opening and closing the ceremonies, or even helping out the Lions Club, the Knights of Columbus, or American Legion at their booths to empty trash cans, shuck corn, make fries, hand out drinks, or handle first aid. Our scouts are everywhere
The Czar adds that as visible a force as the Boy Scouts are, the Girl Scouts are invisible. Oh, they’re out there—we hear rumors. And someone decorates their community Christmas tree each year. But they’re absent at flag ceremonies, parades, veterans’ events, and so on.
You can’t judge each side of scouting by Muscovy. There are plenty of Boy Scout troops that consist of one obnoxious brat only, who believes that video gaming counts as a merit badge.* Likewise, there are plenty of Girl Scout troops who kick ass, like the ones who replaced flags at veterans’ graves a few years ago, at their own expense, after they were all stolen…even though it meant sacrificing funds for a trip they planned to take.
But generally, the Czar tends to note that the Girl Scouts tend to stay out of the press. Boy Scouts are, however, continuously attacked from the Left and the Right—the former for teaching self-reliance and continuing to promote the Second Amendment, and the latter for rolling over on every class-action lawsuit involving LGTBQ issues and “softening” requirements.**
So it was with interest that the Czar saw the Girl Scouts were in the news, lately: the archbishop of Kansas City announced that the Archdiocese was ending its decades-long association with the GSA, and endorsing the growing (but still small) American Heritage Girls organization, citing that, in the Archdiocese’s view, the GSA no longer promoted Christian ideals.
Naturally, the Left retaliated by hating on the Church, even though—deep down—the Left would love little more than seeing scouting go away totally. But the archbishop’s decision was not made lightly: the Archdiocese cited that within the GSA, there was numerous and inarguable evidence that the GSA promotes abortion, premarital sex (by way of emphasis on contraception instruction), and the role modeling of Margaret Sanger under the guise of health care. Some of this evidence even included sexually explicit material, which the GSA—the Archdiocese acknowledged—took seriously and eliminated.
The GSA is not very happy about this, as you would expect, and you might anticipate other communities considering a similar endorsement switch. One question that the Czar has seen raised in regard to this issue—why not the Boy Scouts of America? Haven’t they, you know, gone all queer now and getting into all this gender fluidity?
Actually, no—despite the BSA’s announcement that gay scout leaders would not be cause for discontinuation of a troop’s charter (unexpectedly issued single-handedly by then-president-elect Robert Gates (yes, that Robert Gates), which did not sit well with many board members), there has not been a single known case of issues with gay scout leaders… further, the only discontent that occurred was the (popularly photographed) recent participation of some scout troop in an anti-Trump/pro-gay rally—correctly so, since scouts are forbidden from participating in partisan political events while in uniform.
In short, there has been very little tumult resulting from this decision. The Czar should reveal that he serves as a “special consultant” (don’t ask for what) to the Muscovy troop, and is involved in all leadership discussions and planning events; it is with some authority when we say that discussions about contraception, abortion, premarital sex, homosexuality, transgenderism, and so on, are unheard of in the troop or its parent council. And it should be so—there’s not a whole lot of this going on with 11-to-12-year-olds who have brains and are learning to start fires in the rain with powdered magnesium.
Kids don’t care about this stuff until uppity adults make them care.
This should be no surprise. As you’re doubtless aware, the late 1980s were not kind to the Boy Scouts: a rash of justified lawsuits and criminal investigations occurred—some dating back to the 1940s—regarding sexual abuse of scouts between those years. In the 1990s, BSA launched a massive, and in some ways revolutionary, effort to rid itself of threats to the scouts. They weren’t all of a sexual nature: many long-standing leaders were bounced out when background checks revealed some of them were thugs and dangerous.
Since then, BSA has introduced numerous safeguards into their system: two-deep leadership (no child—scout or not—can be left alone with one adult, even for a few seconds), extensive background checks, mandatory training that explains to adult leaders how to prevent situations that lead to risky situations as well as preventing situations that create false lawsuits or blackmail. The Czar has attended this training: it’s deep and well-produced, and covers all sorts of amazing ways people have gamed the system on both sides, and what they lead to, and how legal “situations” set themselves up.
Anyway, the point of this is that the Boy Scouts have trained themselves to become especially sensitive about any conversations with kids about topics remotely involving sex or even so-called “reproductive health” topics like, evidently, abortion on demand or contraception. So while some scouts have left BSA to join other, smaller scouting organizations that deny membership or leadership to non-heterosexuals, BSA remains pretty focused on skills and achievements, and less on far-left political topics. That’s why you’re not seeing communities rejecting BSA troops.
The Czar is pretty confident that GSA offers the same abuse-prevention training (he’s too lazy to simply Google it) to the same degree of sophistication…but GSA lacks the leviathan litigation that BSA survived…otherwise, some GSA board members would easily scrunch their noses and ask “Do we really want to be promoting pro-abortion organizations?” “Should we really be introducing contraception discussions to 9-year-olds?” “Isn’t idolizing Margaret Sanger going to provoke some questions we don’t want to explain?” When you’ve been almost sued to death by legitimate victims, the answers are pretty clear.
Let’s hope GSA learns from this experience and gets back to their stipulated charter. And while you won’t find much about this from the Girl Scouts, those inside the organization seem to know that there’s some funky stuff happening behind the scenes that backs up the Archdiocese’s claims. Any former Girl Scout*** or leader is welcome to email us here at the Castle and tell us what you know.
*It doesn’t. There is a “game design” merit badge, but it’s based more on game theory, logic, and strategy, and is fairly challenging. Board games are emphasized. Not everybody gets it.
**There’s been very little softening of requirements. I challenge any rabid adult to undergo the Riflery or Wilderness Survival merit badge tasks and see how easy they are. Go ahead and try.****
***The Царица herself is a Gold-ranked Girl Scout, and she’s not aware of any of this stuff. To be fair, she was a Girl Scout a very long time ago during a very Republican age.
****The scouts completed the Personal Fitness test last summer: only two adults finished out of the many who tried. All the scouts finished, though.