My name is David Atchley and I'm the acting Commissioner for the BPSA US.
I got involved with the organization back in 2008 after leaving the Boy Scouts of America. I was Cubmaster/Den Leader for my oldest son's Pack at the time; and I had proposed a non-discriminatory policy just for our local Pack. Some were for it, some against; so I took the idea to the local St. Louis Area Council for feedback.
I was told, in no uncertain terms, that if we adopted such a policy they would revoke our charter. I told them that was ridiculous and after a longer conversation about my long history in the BSA and the meaning of the Scout Law and Promise, I was told that, because I was an atheist, I wasn't the kind of adult leader the BSA was looking for - and to go and find another organization to be a part of.
I did just that. Getting involved with BPSA in 2008, the organization was primarily older Rover Scouts (18+ age) and no registered youth participating at that time. This sort of defeats the purpose of Scouting, which is primarily a youth program; and so I started my own local group in Missouri. I served as acting Secretary for a while and then the organization went stagnant for a couple of years with no movement or growth at all.
I took over as Commissioner in early 2010 with one clear goal in mind to preserve and push the organization forward - promote Scouting at the local level and get the youth involved. There are a lot of people unhappy with the BSA policy but yet still want to do Scouting. There are girls and mothers involved with Girl Scouts that want to do more outdoor activities and learn Scoutcraft skills related to camping, orienteering, backpacking and the like. And there are Scouters, youth and adult, who would prefer a more back-to-basics, traditional style Scouting program compared to many of the modernized versions of Scouting in the US and other countries.
This is what BPSA aims to provide! Our job is to inspire and encourage all those people mentioned above to get involved in our program, provide them with the necessary resources and training and promote traditional style Scouting at the local level.
I hope to meet and talk with all our members as time goes on, and I always try to make myself available via phone, email and other means. So don't hesitate to contact me and get in touch!
I heard a group sing the This Land Is Your Land song instead of a pledge for their group meeting. I liked it.
Katie Rogers said:
So as a group leader, one wouldn't choose the pledge for ceremony? I was thinking it would seem/sound odd if the pledge were said 3 different ways at the same time at a group meeting--and therefore show a coherence issue? Plus, sometimes there is a "cheat-sheet" at a meeting where the Promise and Law is posted on the wall...and for this, one Promise must be chosen for this purpose (thinking of BSA, GS way of doing things here...haven't been to a BPSA meeting yet...) Thinking out loud here...
OK, excellent. I am glad to understand this better. I only have BSA and GS for my model, so this is a significant enough difference.
I'm Rick Pelanek, lifelong Scouter from the Chicago area. I've been in the BSA since 2nd grade, through my Eagle Scout, worked 10+ years for various council level scout camps and even out at Philmont. Then I settled down and had 2 daughters, and find the GSUSA program to be lacking the experience I want for my kids. Albert Eiffes and I are getting ready to launch a new group in the Chicago suburbs, starting with our own children as guinea pigs and recruiting as we go. Hope to talk to you more intelligently soon as I get read up on stuff.
Good day BPSA,
I'm Albert Eiffes, currently spinning up a Group charter to get started in the Chicagoland area (see Rick P's post). I have some background with BSA, as a scout and a camp staffer, and now a parent. I did about 10 years in the Air Force, and now work for Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and should have some good geographical stability at least until my son finishes high school.
I had a crisis of conscience when considering signing my son up for Cub Scouts in 2013 because of the prohibition against atheists, and began looking for scouting for everyone. I found BPSA then but didn't have the means to start a group, and didn't feel I could do my kiddo justice leading him as a lone scout at that time. In 2016 he pleaded with me to join Cub Scouts, and I capitulated, priming him on how there would be "god stuff" and while he didn't have to say anything he wasn't comfortable with, he should never lie; and I waited for fallout.
To be fair, that fallout didn't actually materialize, but instead I learned that cub scouts has succumb to the scourge of helicopter parenting, and is worse than I expected regarding giving out more patches at meetings than candy at a parade. Watching this, I weighed whether I should fix the house I was in, or build a new one. Coming to the realization that the inadequacies I see in the program are systemic, and BPSA has essentially everything I wanted scouts to be in a nifty green package, here we are.
I'm excited (nervous as a pig at a BLT stand) to get started. All of the people who normally step in to stop me from bad decisions are on board, and for the moment I think we might have more Rovers than any other Section. 'Looking forward to meeting many of you as we go along, and for training expediency, I'll be at the BTC in New Jersey this October.
Welcome aboard Albert. I look forward to meeting you in NJ!
My name is Amy Jackson, I'm attempting to put together a Rover Crew/Otter raft in Lansdale, PA. I'm a craft loving, practical, "Jill of all trades" who works as a graphic designer. I had great experiences as a GS, but I also learned everything I ever needed to know about politics and sales quotas...
Scouting was a big part of my life and I wanted to share it with my son. To my surprise, many of my friends really are excited about this, for themselves and their children too. I am encouraged by the support I'm getting and also nervous about taking on a new occupation, so to speak.
I'll be at BTC in October and hope to meet some of you in person there!