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Posted on Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

Policies persuade 11-year-old to leave Boy Scouts

By Letters to the Editor

Editor's note: The name of J.B. has been withheld due to his age.

My name is J___ B___. I am 11 years old. I have just completed Webelos II and received the Arrow of Light Award in January. I was happy to hear that Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is rethinking their policy regarding the gay population.

The last three years, I have been the top-seller for our pack’s popcorn sales. My family has also coordinated a popcorn selling event at my parent’s work to increase the popcorn sales and donations for my den totaling over $2,500 a year.

This year I realized that BSA was discriminating against other families. This is not what I believe in. I did not feel good about fundraising for an organization that chooses to make policies against other families. More specifically: my friends’ families, and my neighbors’ families. It was embarrassing to sell to others. I feel this policy is similar to the time people discriminated against black people in the 1950s and continued for decades later. It should not be happening.

I have decided not to continue with Boy Scouts this year due to this policy. My family and I choose to use our Wednesday nights that once were “Cub Scout nights,” to do similarly fun activities but those that will also align with our beliefs and those of our community and friends. Should BSA change their policy I am willing to reconsider my decision.

I am writing this letter in hopes for a change. I have really enjoyed my experiences in Cub Scouts up until now. I have had a lot of fun, made new friends and learned new things. Maybe this time Boy Scouts of America can learn something new from me?

J. B.

Ann Arbor Former Boy Scout

11 years old


Tyrone Shoelaces

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

Where is the article about the hundreds of thousand of boys who have made the choice to stay in the Boy Scouts?

Joe Hood

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 1:20 a.m.

Um, GN&GL, scouts is about conformity, if you hadn't noticed.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 7:40 p.m.

Yes, indeed!! Let's have more article about conformity. It was, after all, conformity that made this nation GREAT!! GN&GL


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

Good job, kid. Remember, you volunteered to join this organization and left just the same. Go do good things and try not to burn bridges.

buvda fray

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:10 a.m.

No way did this kid's parents influence his opinion. Kids these days are so different than we were that they place incomprehensible values above playing and socializing with friends they have had for years, learning and accomplishing things together like a band of brothers, and a sense of belonging to a troop. All of that is old school for today's Ann Arbor child. I, for one, am throwing away all the sporting goods, gender specific toys, scout uniforms and stuff that's keeping my family disgustingly mainstream. Setting our sights higher now - my family could produce Ann Arbor's newest cross gender dresser identified as a brownie scout and he/she will grow up to be Mayor of Ann Arbor. Just kidding - I wouldn't throw all that stuff out. We recycle.

There Is Time

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 11:32 p.m.

RichG I discriminate against rapist.

Julayne Hughes

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:10 p.m.

I am sorry to see the number of people who think that an 11-year-old boy isn't capable of the kind of social thought that is behind the writing of this letter. Kids that age, and even younger, are well able to have strong opinions and express them. Even if you may not agree with him, you have to give him credit for the courage and chutzpah it takes to take the actions he has and to write a letter like this. I have no doubt that the ideas are entirely his, and I am sure that JB is perfectly able to express his thoughts on the subject quite well. And I don't know him or his family, so I cannot possibly pass any judgment on the authorship of this letter. But as a college instructor who, unfortunately, has to be on the constant lookout for plagiarism, I must say that this one would be highly suspect, even for a college student. While there are many parts of the letter I feel sure come straight from him, there are also several phrases within the letter that have the ring of an adult's way of saying them, not a child's, however gifted that child may be. If I had seen this in my class, I would have spoken to the student about it, and I am sorry to say that I have never wrongly suspected a student that I've spoken to. I would be very interested in seeing this letter entirely in JB's own words and his own phrasing. I'd be willing to bet it would be even more compelling.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:45 p.m.

Kid didn't write this. nice job parents trying to make your kid look good. Trying to get him into Harvard a bit early don't ya think?

harry b

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

JB ....This is an adult topic. I am sorry your family won't let you be a kid and leave these adult desicions to them. When your an adult and you have had time to weight all of the facts, you then cam chime in on this adult topic. But for now just go out and play. Sorry your parents won't let you grow up without burdening you with this.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

I guess that it's understandable that so many adults are doubtful that an 11-year old could produce such a thoughtful and well-written letter, given the thoughtlessness and functional illiteracy displayed in their comments. Good Job, JB!!


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 11:49 a.m.

Those that feel young people can't come up with their own thoughts, ideas- wake up and realize we created this messed up world they live in with all the crime, prejudice, violence and more.Young people have had to grow up long before they should have to because we failed them as parents, neighbors, adults!!


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 11:12 a.m.

Sorry J.B. too bad your family is giving you too much koolaid to drink. Hope you'll be able to overcome that/them as you get older and get out into the "real" world. I wasn't allowed to join the girl scouts either...


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 11:32 p.m.

To the folks commenting about the age of this letter's author and his understanding of the issues: I think some of you forget how wise children can be. They listen, they learn, they understand. They are far more exceptional than we sometimes credit them to be. We forget that they too, read or see the news, overhear conversations, and are exposed to countless more sources than we were at their age. They have a strong sense of right and wrong, and although they have more to learn, we must remember that they too, must be encouraged to stand by their convictions! Also - critiquing the parents instead of directly addressing the comments of this boy is pretty lame. You don't need to talk over him with assumptions of how he arrived at his decision - he can hear you! And probably respond with his folks permission to post in the internet. To the author of this letter: it is absolutely honorable to stand by your values and beliefs! There are SO many ways that you can participate in your community in a positive way and share experiences with friends - you will definitely find another activity that provides everything Scouts does, that agrees with your values! Congratulations, and here's supporting you from Ottawa, Canada, where I'm reading this now!


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 10:41 p.m.

Good for you, JB! If you want to continue in a scouting-like organization, I suggest you look into Campfire Boys and Girls. This organization does not practice discrimination. I was a member for much of my youth. I very much enjoyed being part of Campfire growing up.

Jessica Webster

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 8:31 p.m.

This editorial brought me to tears, in a good way. Thank you JB, for standing up for your convictions in such an eloquent way.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

Thank you for standing up to prejudice and refusing to ignore it. Your courage will encourage others to do the same, and I and others like me will finally see equality because of all of these collective voices. Just look at the comments on this! The majority of them give me such comfort and hope, while the others serve to remind me what the majority used to be and how those who believe in fairness CAN drown out the voices of ignorance if they just stop being silent. It's been done before and it will happen now because of people like you.

Usual Suspect

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 1:20 a.m.

This is liberalism. Those who disagree with you are "ignorant." Amazing.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 8:14 p.m.

J.B. - Thanks for writing this! As a recent Eagle Scout from Ann Arbor who strongly supports gay rights, I can tell you that I have many of the same feelings you do. You're completely right - these sort of policies should not be happening. That said, I hope you'll reconsider your decision to drop out. I struggled with this issue for several years but decided to stay in my troop for many different reasons. I'd be more than happy to share them with you if you're ever curious (contact me at You'll be happy to hear that "Scouts for Equality," the national group headed by Zach Wahls working to change the BSA policy, has seen your letter and posted it on their Facebook page for everyone else to see! Ray Batra

Joe Hood

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 2:50 a.m.

SuperiorMother: People that are gay can still be in scouts but if you come out and make a stink about it, you're out. Hell, a Catholic priest can be gay but as long as he maintains his vow of celibacy, he remains a priest. If someone wants to come out and be loud about it, that will be OK in these future scouts? I equate being loud and a gay male as being sexually active (Maybe I've known too many gay men (not biblically, mind you)). You have an active gay male in scouts and his behavior is now considered normal. Now what's the reason we don't have girls in the Boy Scouts? Well, I'll answer that one, because I know the answer my wife would give--she doesn't understand that reason for not having girls mixed in as well. But this might make my point easier to explain. When boys are around other boys, they act a particular way. Add a girl into the mix and you get a whole lot of stupid going on. It's just how boys/men are physiologically wired, a different area takes over for the brain.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

Joe Hood, no one is suggesting discussing adult sexuality with the scouts.

Joe Hood

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 2:48 a.m.

I have to disagree with you on this. I believe this is wrong on so many levels, I wouldn't know where to begin in a comment section. This is an adult topic, not a something to be introduced to kids as some sort of experiment. This is especially wrong with the troop's sponsor. Please don't ruin the troop.


Wed, Mar 13, 2013 : 2:57 a.m.

Ray, my son is a first year Scout in your troop. You and I have spoken several times and you have always seemed like a nice young man - your comment here reinforces that. It takes courage to stand up to the status quo, and I appreciate that. My family has had similar concerns but after much thought and discussion, decided that our son would continue with the troop. I respect the original letter writer's decision not to continue with Scouts. My opinion, though, is that change needs to come from within the organization - and that's not going to happen if all the people who are against the policy decide not to join. And for those who would say that those who disagree with the policy should find another activity - there is truly NO alternative way to get the kinds of experiences that my son is getting with his outstanding Boy Scout troop.

Not from around here

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

J.B., tell your Parents, teachers ofr other Imaginary freind they wrote a real nice letter. I don't know one boy in any of the local Packs (and I'm very involved) who has expressed anything like this. I do know one boy, however, who's parent yanked him because of "their" beliefs, not his. he loved scouting. I hope you aren't him.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

Hopefully I can post this without being deleted..... J.B., my hat is off to both you and your parents. Hate is not a family value, neither is intolerance.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

I can see by the reponses this one won't go over too well, but so be it. I suggest the critics of the BSA policy read their philsophy; "On my honour I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight. If you can adhere to this philosophy and not make your gayness, or atheism an issue than by all means join. If you feel you have to make a political statement as a result than stay out. Form your own BSA organization. It is still mostly a free country.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 5:08 p.m.

Tom, you didn't really answer the question: what if the "expression" of the BSA philosophy was to exclude African Americans? Would you still defend them? My guess is not, because it's easy to defend the right of organizations to discriminate when that reflects your own bigotry.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

Meg, you and I will never have agreement on this one. But here are a few tidbits. The Supreme Court, in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, upheld the Scouts' ban on homosexuals in June 2000, specifically citing the First Amendment right to freedom of association, allowing private organizations such as the Boy Scouts to exclude a person from membership when "the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group's ability to advocate public or private viewpoints." In their 5-4 ruling, the justices held that opposition to homosexuality is part of the Scouts' "expressive message" and that forcing them to accept homosexuals as adult leaders would interfere with that message. Granted, that affects the leaders not the scouts themselves, but is a slippery slope. Morality to me is expressive of what the Bible teaches, and of course if you don't accept that then there is no way we can see agreement here. I feel badly for the young boy but if his parents feel strongly enough about this, form their own BSA gay group.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 4:56 p.m.

What does sexual orientation have to do with the Scout Law? And why are you defending an organization that went to the Supreme Court to defend their right to discriminate? Would you be so quick to support an organization that didn't allow African Americans, or Republicans?


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

I know this kid and his parents. He is fully capable of writing this letter on his own. I'm so proud of him for seeing what many of the commenters apparently can't: that discrimination is wrong, and that age is not a determinant of empathy. I'm so proud of his parents for raising their son to see that. And as for the commenters who can't find anything to do but doubt the compassion and ethics of an eleven-year-old -- go outside and play for awhile. You'll feel better.

Rick Neubig

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

J.B., Good for you in your recognition of the discriminatory practices of the Boy Scouts of America. In addition to gays, they also discriminate against other groups. I am an Eagle Scout and my son was in scouting up to Life scout. He decided that he couldn't continue because of the discrimination of his troop in Ann Arbor (and BSA in general) against atheists. He did not believe in God and was not willing to lie about it to make Eagle. He felt that the first point of the Scout Law "Trustworthy" was not consistent with an attempt to deceive the troop leadership that he did believe. This was totally his decision. It is unfortunate that so many people in the US - including in BSA - can not believe that an atheist can be a moral person. R.N.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

Rick, very well said. I'm a christian, my sister-in-law is an atheist, and she is one of the finest, most compassionate people I've ever known. I am a better person for knowing her. Love ya, Crystal!


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

I am proud to say that I know this boy and his family well. The letter was his idea.

Jack Gladney

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 3:53 p.m.

I think it is great that such a young man realizes one of the most treasured benefits of living in a free society: The freedom of association. Hopefully his parents or some other guiding influence will teach him the lesson that winners never quit and quitters never win. Taking your bat and glove and going home if you seek go win the game is not a winning strategy. You have to fight to win. No one wins because they think others will feel bad because the door hit them on the butt on their way out.

Usual Suspect

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 9:18 p.m.

I agree. And that freedom of association also applies to members of Boy Scouts of America.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

There is no mention of JB discussing this decision with his friends, fellow scouts, pack leaders, or local council. That is the way to seek change. I am an eagle Scout and former Pack Leader, and we never practiced any discrimination. I have found that the great majority of scouts and parents in this area oppose the national policy, and choose to ignore it. When there was a push on last year for Eagle Scouts to return their badges to National in opposition to National discriminatory policies, I did not participate. The best way to effect change is from the inside. I would encourage JB to reconsider, and instead keep on in Scouting to lead by example. Better to build a strong pack; have everyone in your pack write a letter to National telling them just how you feel about their outdated policies. To continue JB's analogy, did Rosa Parks stop taking the bus because her friends all had to sit in back? No, she did not, and that is why we remember her today.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

Three words: Mongomery Bus Boycott. Not only did Rosa Parks stop taking the bus, she and her friends, and many others, brought the bus companies to their knees. And THAT is why (among other virtues) we remember her today.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

JB you are one of the youth of today that gives the rest of us hope for tomorrow, an outstanding example of our future generations to come!~ For all you doubters of the origin of this letter, the author, and sex vs. discrimination argument, shame on you for doubting the abilities, intelligence & capabilities of our youth and subscribing to it being only about the horror show we see daily on the news!


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

While I admire JB for doing what he feels is right, I also question the parental influence here. The facts are that the Boy Scout national organization has a policy that needs to be changed. They've been slow to change it, and they've been stupid about how they addressed it, even saying "hey, we're likely going to change it next week" and then saying "maybe in May". Local Boy Scout Councils and Troops don't bring this up (and that's true in other states). It's not a topic of conversation. They don't ask questions about anyone's sexuality. They focus on helping boys become men. There are a lot of organizations that are very worthwhile that have policies that I don't fully agree with. That's not a reason to quit. You work for change as you can, and you join organizations you are comfortable with. How many immediately stopped breast cancer donations when the Komen foundation had their "oops" moment? Or, did they voice their opposition to the new line and work towards change (which resulted in new management)? How many support United Way, even though there are likely groups that United Way supports with money that you don't agree with? How many buy from even though workers have warehouses that are too hot? Or buy Apple products made by underpaid/underage workers that live in dorms? JB - what you'll get from Boy Scouts (Boy Scouts vs. Cub Scouts - because it's tremendously different) will impact you for the rest of your life. As the parent of two Eagle Scouts, both with high honors, I can tell you that it will make you a better person. And allow you to learn traits and behaviors that will help you help others to become better people. So, please reconsider. In May it will be voted on at the national meeting. If it's changed, some churches that sponsor Troops/Packs will stop doing so. If it's not changed, the same. The organization was founded in 1910. Things have changed since then, and they have to adapt. Help th

Rick Neubig

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 4:16 p.m.

When BSA changes, I suspect that J.B. will be happy to join. Until then, I applaud him.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

JB, While there a lots of people who feel it is moral for persons to engage in sexual activity outside of a lifelong marriage, the God of the Bible has told us that is is immoral. Biblical values and morals do not change because a majority may disagree. In America, we have freedom of religion and freedom of association, and those who choose to follow God's rules are not going to change because an 11 year old thinks he knows better than God. I'm glad we still have organizations that exist to help young people learn values that will benefit them eternally. You are free to join or not.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 1:20 a.m.

Freedom of religion doesn't give christians the right to enforce their beliefs on others. This whole double standard - where christians claim their liberties are being eroded yet want their culture to dominate policy - is absurd. Worship how, why, when, and where you want, just stop forcing it on everyone else. Thankfully, we live in a society that has rejected stoning women and forcing women to marry their rapists, which are acceptable practices according to the bible. One day, we'll be beyond this nonsense about 'traditional' marriage.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

I find it hysterical that your 'name' is Narnia. I don't know what bible you read but there are all kinds of relationships shown in the bible in positive ways. And the current version of married you speak of, was only one of many. I encourage you to re-read, you missed something.

Crusader 53

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

So you and the family don't like the organization's policies and the solution for you and the family is to quit to show fidelity to the cause against sexual discrimination. Somebody want to tap the "that was easy button" please. Because if you folks where really committed to the idea of equality you could have stayed and actively promoted the idea of that equality from within the organization. In the Marines we called that "bugging out" from a fight.

Crusader 53

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 12:14 a.m.

He quit. His referencing of the civil rights fight of the 50's should have been a lesson in not quitting in spite of the discrimination they have and are still being subjected . I don't give "at a boy's " to quitters. If you want to take a stand you don't walk off the field.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 7:52 p.m.

For brevity's sake J.B. didn't include all the details of his experience and the journey to this decision, but just because it isn't spelled out, don't assume that this was the only effort made, or that they intend to drop the matter now.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

The irony here is that many people are complaining that an 11 year-old shouldn't be thinking about sex, yet as I write this the ad next to the viewpoint shows a scantily dressed model advertising a bra event at Von Maur. Yea kids today just aren't exposed to anything at all sexual... obviously the work of the adults... BTW nice piece up until the very last sentence. Make your stand but don't be bragging about it.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Sounds like an adult wrote this piece.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 7:53 p.m.

Nope, some kids are pretty smart. This is one of them.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

I would be proud of this young man if I was his mom. Very proud. Children understand right from wrong. They also have the courage of youth to take a stand. Many of grown ups have lost this same courage along the way. Way to go young man. Bravo!!


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

You are an inspiration, J.B.! You have so much courage -- it took a lot of strength to write something like this piece knowing the nasty vitriol that spews from so many commenters on this site. The important thing (that so many "adults" are overlooking here) is that you ARE mature enough to understand what's going on in the world around it, have developed an opinion based on that, and have now backed up your opinion with actual ACTIONS, something many "adults" have difficulty with. WAY TO GO! :-)

Dr. Fate

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

I'm completely behind the sentiment of this opinion piece, and I have no doubt as to the authenticity of the boy's opinions against this discrimination. But as someone who has worked with bright 11-year olds, this is one of those, "the kid's thoughts, the parents' writing" pieces.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

JB, I also think you are very brave for deciding to write this letter to, where you probably knew there would be bigoted, ignorant responses in addition to support. Ignore the haters, they are losing this battle.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

Bravo J. B.! Your actions and your words make a difference and help to make the world a more just place for all of us. Thank you for speaking out.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

Whether or not its the young mans words, the stance is correct. Discrimination is never right.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 10:44 a.m.

Way to go JB. What an intelligent young man taking a stand against prejudice


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 7:31 a.m.

What the .... is happening to our society.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 1:36 p.m.

It's becoming more enlightened.

Unusual Suspect

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 3:42 a.m.

Hey, you have the right to your beliefs and a right to choose what best for you. The Boy Scouts has the right to their beliefs and a right to choose what's best for them. Everybody wins.

Dan Higginbottom

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 3:06 a.m.

Baloney!! Stick to your guns Boy scouts.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 2:42 a.m.

Though I've ceased to be shocked by much of anything in news comments, it is at least saddening to see so many who seem incapable or unwilling to accept that an 11 year old can be socially conscientious, feel empathy, have a personal sense of fairness, and demonstrate a competent degree of literacy. If this were an issue instigated by the parents, it's unlikely they ever would have allowed him to join Scouts to begin with. Give the boy some credit, please... Furthermore, the very idea that this issue is even remotely sexual speaks clear testimony of the shallow and poor character of those who would immediately jump to such conclusions. When a child of 11 makes a stand based on what they feel is just and fair, makes personal sacrifice by leaving a group he otherwise seems to appreciate and enjoy, and not only shows the initiative but has the guts to put his heart on his sleeve and let everyone know - I don't care if you agree with his views or not, the actions alone deserve some respect. J.B., I would like to hope you represent a hint of a more wise and fair generation to come.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 11:35 p.m.

Word! And much more eloquent than I stated myself. Kids have more wisdom than we give them credit for!


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

Well said. Thank you for your succinct, valuable comment.

Dog Guy

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 1:16 a.m.

All associations discriminate in order to achieve their purposes. It is right and honorable to stop associating with BSA if you do not accept its purpose.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 1:01 a.m.

J.B., It's simple isn't it? We either have equal rights for all, or we don't. Thank you for being such a wise person. When you do the right thing, you will never be sorry.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 12:25 a.m.

JB, Your parents aren't helping you to learn the correct moral values by writing a letter and putting your name on it. Had you continued in scouting, you would have been exposed to strong moral teachings that would have carried through your adult years. Instead, at 11 years old, you're learning to be a quitter. I feel bad for you and hope that you have other morally strong role models in your life. Good luck.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 6:07 p.m.

Wow. Awfully bold statement for osomeone who doesn't know the kid or the family. As one who has known this family for almost 6 years, I can patently say that not only are you wrong, but that JB's parents don't need to put an 11 year old's name on anything they write; they'd both gladly put their own down. Your comment was cruel and while I'm sure it was posted with the only intention of flaming the comments section, I couldn't sit by and let it go.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

The "moral teachings" are immoral to many of us. Shame on you for your myopic holier-than-thou attitude. Hopefully, there will be more JBs and less of you.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

What a cruel comment. It takes far more courage to quit something that you don't believe in than to keep doing something that is wrong.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

I'd bet a parent is using their child to push their own agenda.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 5:45 p.m.

Your tears are delicious


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 11:55 p.m.

When it comes to the topic of sex the idea of 11-year olds being used as the mouthpieces of adults is repulsive.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

Can you point out just where sex was mentioned in the article?


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 11:53 p.m.

It is highly likely this "boy's" story is actually a parent using the child to push their agenda. I feel sorry for the kid.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

Yeah...I heard Sean Hannity talk about this dangerous liberal agenda...we should all be quaking in our boots! SMH


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Oh yeah...that damn liberal agenda is just pushing you conservatives right over the edge!


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

Really. Teaching a child that discrimination is bad. The nerve.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 11:51 p.m.

J.B. - This seems a painfully ironic compliment to the Scouts true spirit and values - having to make the difficult choice to leave a group in order to hold true to the values of clear and honest conscience that they aim to nurture. Though I am sure your fellow members and leaders are sad to see you leave, I have little doubt that at the same time they are extremely proud of you and respectful of your choice. I do hope they adjust their policies in the near future, and that you may be able to rejoin them in good conscience.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 11:33 p.m.

If this was really written by an "11 yr old boy" I would be shocked. Sounds like mom and dad wrote or edited this in their 11 yr olds name.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

Maybe someone from this staff edited the letter? Heck I see more typos then this boys letter has. Interesting thought here folks.

Terri Eagen-Torkko

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

NOT AN EDITOR! Come on, of course someone would proof his letter before sending it to a newspaper. That's just good sense, as is his decision.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

Was it really his idea or his parents ? At age 11 you are too young to know who you are sexually attracted to. Good for the boy scouts for not jumping on the gay is Ok wagon. Sex should wait until you are too old for the boy scouts anyhow.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 6:37 p.m.

Maybe an 11 year old does not realize what kind of attraction he is having, but I had my first "crush" on a girl in my 2nd grade class--and I never had a crush on a boy. So I knew from 2nd grade on who I was attracted to and not attracted to in a kind of love-sick way.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

Paul, as an employee of the AAPS, I work with children on a daily basis, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that these kids are a great deal smarter than we give them credit for. I see it every day, and who are you by the way to be laying down the law about what the appropriate age for sex is anyway?

Susie Q

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

This isn't about gay or straight sex; it is about discrimination.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 2:25 a.m.

But at age 11 you are able to understand discrimination and belief systems.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 10:13 p.m.

I'm the Scoutmaster of a troop in Ann Arbor. Here's a bit of insider perspective: many of us are as unhappy with the BSA as the general public, probably more so. For the 8 years I've been involved as a volunteer, I can't think of a single time that our national organization did something that made me proud to be a member. Having said that, I stay involved with Scouting because of the enormous good we do at the unit level, where we take kids on amazing outdoor adventures across the country, help them learn to make good decisions, develop solid leadership skills, all on a shoestring budget with 100% volunteer time. The local council doesn't help us much, but they at least stay out of my way, and we spend absolutely zero program time on BSA National's bad idea of the month. (Funny story: last year they tried to ban wheelbarrows. Seriously!) If we had a way to run our program without a BSA charter, I'd be all for it. In any case, we absolutely don't discriminate against scouts or their families, and anyone who did would quickly be removed. At the adult leader level, we simply expect adults not to advocate from either side of this particular issue in front of the kids, because that simply isn't appropriate. So, J.B., the good news is that some kind of change at the national level is inevitable. I hope you will consider being a scout again someday!


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

Good for you! You must be a terrific leader. One comment I must make is that I am appalled at the wealth the BSA has, and yet has done so little to help their troops. It has one of the biggest "treasure chests" in the country. The BSA has "hoodwinked" the public into donating, donating, donating. Way too much has lined the coffers of such a bigoted organization. A whistle blower is needed to question the salaries and perks of the "big shots" who run the organization.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 10:04 p.m.

Way to go kid. As an Eagle Scout I am disappointed that I took part in such a one sided organization for so long. I'm glad you opened your eyes to what is happening. Congrats. Hopefully they change their ways and hopefully you stick to yours.

Linda Diane Feldt

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 9:59 p.m.

Thank you for your courageous decision. It is a loss to the Boy Scouts, and the consequence of their discriminatory policies. The world is changing quickly on this issue, partly because of young people like you who see the obvious - discrimination in all forms is wrong. I wish you well in your future, this sort of small action does indeed help to make the world a better place.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

Thank you for doing what you thought was right. My daughter wanted to join the Girl Scouts. They do not boldly discriminate the way the Boy Scouts do. I was a Girl Scout in the past. So I encouraged her. She earned a vest full of badges and awards, as well as the Bronze and the Silver. Her participation was empowering. Along the way, my son wanted to become a Scout. I wanted to treat my children equally. So, I said yes. We did fun things, like Class 5 white water rafting in West Virginia. But it always bothered me.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

a2comments: actually thats not entirely true. Girl scouts do not discriminate and its that simple for them. Boy Scouts of American is rabidly anti-gay at the national level and on far too many of their area councils and they have no problem reaching out to a pack and dictating from on high. Now, on the local level, the subject has come up every year since the court decision. It has not gone away and it won't. Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline, etc. And while most of the troops here don't seem to mind 'gay' members. They do mind same sex parents going on trips and they do mind leaders that don't fit the national policy. so while all scouting is local, it not really completely local.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

KateT: The Boy Scouts do NOT boldly discriminate. Untrue. National has a policy. Local troops don't follow it, nor mention it.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

Sally, stop perpetuating nonsense. Gay men are not attracted to little boys. Just like straight men are not attracted to little girls.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 5:27 a.m.

Silly Sally - They do NOT discriminate against male leaders. When we went on trips my father and other scout's fathers were allowed to come along and chaperon. You are making this into a sexual thing and that quite bothers me. Gender and being gay have nothing to do with sex. What are you trying to imply here? Please stop.

tom swift jr.

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 9:50 p.m.

Well written, J.B.

Silly Sally

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 9:34 p.m.

Really? This seems like something that JBs parents put him up to. How often do 11 year olds get concerned with political topics, especially sexual topics? He was embarrassing for him to be selling to others? Again, this sounds contrived, as perhaps his mommy was embarrased. Kids that age just do not run around talking about this topic. Or, they didn't used to.I asked my brother about his esperiences with Cub Scouts. The topic never came up.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

Thank you for standing up to prejudice and refusing to ignore it. Your courage will encourage others to do the same, and I and others like me will finally see equality because of all of these collective voices. Just look at the comments on this! The majority of them give me such comfort and hope, while the others serve to remind me what the majority used to be and how those who believe in fairness CAN drown out the voices of ignorance if they just stop being silent. It's been done before and it will happen now because of people like you.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 7:04 p.m.

I have an 11-year-old son who cares very much about what wrongs are going on in the world. More than many adults I know. It has nothing to do with age, but everything to do wi intelligence and compassion. And please stop using such prejorative terms like "sexual topics" to describe issues that relate to GLBT people. We are no more "sexual" than non-GLBT people. Your lives and marriages are not all about sex are they? Neither are ours.

Sandra Samons

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 5:54 p.m.

Sally, I suspect that you are out of touch with 11 y/os. They DO care about fairness and justice. How sad that kids should have to feel ashamed and embarrassed to belong to Boy Scouts! It's not as if the policy keeps gay kids out. It just muzzles them. When other boys talk about which girls they like, they have to pretend or remain silent about who they like. I knew which boy I liked when I was in 3rd grade. It was just an innocent crush. I was 8 years old. How old were you when you got your first crush? Can you imagine how it would feel to know that if anyone found out you would become a leper?


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 3:14 a.m.

Well, I'm sure the topic came up for discussion at some point- that is what parents are supposed to do, right? Discuss topics with kids? Help them decide their opinions? My 6 year old has questions about an adult friend of our family who is transgender. He also has questions about who gets married, why, etc. I could easily see how this topic could come up for an 11 yr. old in general discussion.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 1:04 a.m.

Really, Sally? I was going to say that this former scout's parents obviously raised him right. Congratulations to JB for "doing the right thing" and to his parents for raising such an empathetic young man. Kudos to all of you!


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 12:36 a.m.

I've had three 11 year olds and they were each perfectly capable of being concerned about how other people are treated. It's certainly not a sexual topic. Heck, being gay isn't even a sexual topic, at least not until people who discriminate against us make it one.

Urban Sombrero

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 12:14 a.m.

You are 100% wrong. I have a 10 year old who feels strongly about equal rights. She has a friend with 2 mommies and thinks it's ridiculous they can't be married. This is something she decided on her own. It was not spoon fed to her by me. You're discounting how much young kids absorb and how smart they are.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 12:06 a.m.

Oh Sally, good grief. My 10 year old daughter has several friends with same sex parents. She is smart, conscientious, and has a fierce sense of fairness. She knows what is going on in the world, and this boy is clearly her peer. And what on earth are you talking about.... "sexual issues?". When your kids best classmates have two mamas, that's just what it is -- two mamas. Are they supposed to think about sexual issues when they see a mama ans a daddy? You are very confused.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 11:35 p.m.

You give this young man far too little credit, and grossly underestimate the potential for social awareness and conscience in our youth.

Martha Cojelona Gratis

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 9:23 p.m.

Good choice J.B., you'll thank 'Policies' later..


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 9:08 p.m.

J.B.: It seems you embody the part of the Boy Scout promise that states you will do your best, "to help other people at all times." I'm impressed and congratulate you!


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 9:01 p.m.

Props for this young person who has done something to call attention to an issue that many who are many times his age are ignoring.

harry b

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

He is a KID. Let him go play baseball and run with his friends. He needs to have the experience of an adult to make these grown up desicion. I am not saying he is wrong or right. HE IS 11. Let him go climb tree's and play baseball.