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Local Boy Scout council talks decision to allow openly gay youths

By: Gina Benitez
EL PASO, Texas -- The Boy Scouts of America started accepting openly gay youth on Jan. 1.

The controversial decision hasn't come without some repercussions.

Some sponsors pulled funding from the Yucca Council, the local BSA chapter.

But the council says it was able to make up the funding so no programs would be affected.

"Now with the change coming from national BSA and that policy change, we don't have any choice. We are committed to allowing every youth that wants to join, join the Boy Scouts," said David Jones, CEO of the Boy Scouts of America Yucca Council.

So far, the transition locally has been somewhat seamless.

"I have no situations in where a youth in any Cub Scout pack or Boy Scout troop where there was a youth coming out and declaring," Jones said.

Though openly gay members are allowed, openly gay leaders are still banned.

"There was a bunch of religious organizations that they polled, and that was their feeling, too. That youth ought to be able to be allowed but not the adults, for ways of influence or whatever, I don't know," Jones said.

How troops would decide on specifics -- like sleeping and showering arrangements -- was left to each council.

"There's an open communication with the parents and the unit leaders, about what there is in the troop or in the packs and how they would want to handle that as far as going camping or swimming activity or anything like that," Jones said.

The Yucca Council said it has a plan should issues arise, but as of now, is confident moving forward.

"We've gone through the transition pretty well, we're still having to have some leaders that don't agree with the policy, and they've resigned but we've replaced them, with others who have stepped up so we can provide the resources to the youth that want to be in scouting," Jones said.

This year, the Yucca Council said it's seen a slight drop in enrollment but feels it will make up for it because of new programs.

 

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