Voice of the Scout membership-policy survey questions give Scouters, parents a chance to be heard

It’s mid-March. That means Phase 2 of the Boy Scouts of America’s three-month family discussion has shifted into high gear.

The BSA calls this phase “Listening,” and that’s exactly what the organization is doing. Scheduled to last from March 1 to April 5, the phase includes, in addition to a lot of conversations with a lot of people, a 13-question Voice of the Scout survey, recently sent to about 1.1 million registered volunteers and Scout parents.

The questions, which you can read below, were designed to help committees review the beliefs and concerns of two groups of stakeholders critical to this process: Scouters and the parents of registered Scouts.

The BSA is also sending the survey to approximately 325,000 Scouting alumni, former members who aren’t necessarily currently active but have previously joined the National Eagle Scout Association or the Scouting Alumni Association.

Refresh your memory about the remaining phases in a blog post I wrote last month. But, briefly, they include evaluating the results of the surveys and other committee reports, the executive officers preparing a resolution to present to the group of National Council voting members, educating the Scouting family about the findings, holding a vote on the resolution at the National Annual Meeting in May, and taking whatever steps are needed to carry out the decision.

First, though, the survey will collect feedback from our key stakeholders, asking parents and volunteers to carefully consider the current membership policy and potential affects on the program should the BSA change its policy or keep it the same.

If you are a current member and you have not received a survey, you may visit this link to register your member ID number and receive a link for the survey after your information has been verified. Parents of Scouts can also use this link to get a survey. You should use your child’s ID and indicate you are a parent and input your own demographic information.

As is common in any family discussion, the survey touches on some personal issues. But it’s a conversation we must have now to ensure the continued success of our organization for the future.

The leadership of the BSA is firmly committed to making sure every voice gets heard and is dedicated to the integrity of this process. So, if you receive the survey, speak up—for yourself and for the Boy Scouts of America.

View the survey now:

Current Policy

“The applicant must possess the moral, educational, and emotional qualities that the Boy Scouts of America deems necessary to afford positive leadership to youth. The applicant must also be the correct age, subscribe to the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle, and abide by the Scout Oath or Promise, and the Scout Law.”

“While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, 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.”

1. The current Boy Scouts of America requirements, stated above, prohibit open homosexuals from being Scouts or adult Scout leaders. To what extent do you support or oppose this requirement?

Choices: Strongly support, Somewhat support, Neutral, Somewhat oppose, Strongly oppose

Following are some possible scenarios that could happen if the Boy Scouts keeps or changes its policy. Please tell us the degree to which you believe the actions taken in each scenario are acceptable or unacceptable.

Choices: Totally acceptable, Somewhat acceptable, Neutral, Somewhat unacceptable, Totally unacceptable

2. Tom started in the program as a Tiger Cub, and finished every requirement for the Eagle Scout Award at 16 years of age. At his board of review Tom reveals that he is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the review board to deny his Eagle Scout award based on that admission?

3. Bob is 15 years old, and the only openly gay Scout in a Boy Scout troop. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the troop leader to allow Bob to tent with a heterosexual boy on an overnight camping trip?

4. Johnny, a first grade boy, has joined Tiger Cubs with his friends. Johnny’s friends and their parents unanimously nominate Johnny’s mom, who is known by them to be lesbian, to be the den leader. Johnny’s pack is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith does not teach that homosexuality is wrong. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for his mother to serve as a den leader for his Cub Scout den?

5. David, a Boy Scout, believes that homosexuality is wrong. His troop is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith also teaches that homosexuality is wrong. Steve, an openly gay youth, applies to be a member in the troop and is denied membership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this troop to deny Steve membership in their troop?

6. A gay male troop leader, along with another adult leader, is taking a group of boys on a camping trip following the youth protection guidelines of two-deep leadership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the gay adult leader to take adolescent boys on an overnight camping trip?

7. A troop is chartered by an organization that does not believe homosexuality is wrong and allows gays to be ministers. The youth minister traditionally serves as the Scoutmaster for the troop. The congregation hires a youth minister who is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this youth minister to serve as the Scoutmaster?

8. After reading the scenarios in the previous question, please answer one question again. The current Boy Scouts of America requirements prohibit open homosexuals from being Scouts or adult Scout leaders. To what extent do you support or oppose this requirement?

Choices: Strongly support, Somewhat support, Neutral, Somewhat oppose, Strongly oppose

9. Different organizations that charter Boy Scout troops have different positions on the morality of homosexuality. Do you support or oppose allowing charter organizations to follow their own beliefs when selecting Boy Scout members and adult leaders, if that means there will be different standards from one organization to the next.

Choices: Strongly support, Somewhat support, Neutral, Somewhat oppose, Strongly oppose

10. What is your greatest concern if the policy remains in place and openly gay youth and adults are prohibited from joining Scouting?

Open-ended answer

11. What is your greatest concern if the policy is changed to allow charter organizations to make their own decisions to admit openly gay Scouts and leaders?

Open-ended answer

12. Do you believe the current policy prohibiting open homosexuals from being scouts or adult scout leaders is a core value of Scouting found in the Scout Oath and Law?

Yes or No

13. If the Boy Scouts of America makes a decision on this policy that disagrees with your own view, will you continue to participate in the Boy Scouts, or will you leave the organization?

Choices: I believe I can find a way to continue, I do not believe I can find a way to continue, I have not yet made up my mind