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I'm just wondering if any same-sex parent couples could share their
experiences with their son(s) in Boy Scouts? I have always sworn
that, due to the Boy Scouts of America homophobia, my son would never
do the Boy Scouts. However, now I am thinking that maybe I am being
short-sighted. Any personal experiences or insights would be greatly
Many years ago, we looked into Boy Scouts for our son. His
friends were forming a troop in Berkeley and held an
informational meeting. At that meeting, we brought up the
topic of anti-gay policies of the BSA. We were surprised
that the families said that since their troop didn't
discriminate, it didn't matter. I disagree.
The Boy Scouts fought a case all the way to the U.S. Supreme
Court to defend their right to prohibit gays from being
scout leaders (they won). Gay teens cannot reveal their
identity or else they will be kicked out. This is
insupportable. The Boy Scouts are sending a message that
being gay is incompatible with its all-American values. A
kid with a gay dad can't have him as a leader. A teen who
has earned Eagle Scout has to hide his sexual orientation as
if it is something to be ashamed of.
Even if a local troop does not discriminate, I still have a
problem with being part of the Boy Scouts. Local troops
usually attend national events with other troops, most of
which presumably adhere to the official BSA position. Using
the name and all the other practices of the Boy Scouts gives
credence to the organization.
What if there were a national organization that taught boys
valuable outdoor and leadership skills, but it was for
whites only? It wouldn't matter to me if Berkeley chapter
didn't discriminate on the basis of race, if they maintained
the name of the whites-only organization and the kids
attended national gatherings of this group.
We didn't let our son join, even though I regret that he
didn't have many of the valuable experiences that boys
scouts can offer. We're a mom/dad/2 kids family, but we
have too many gay friends and feel too strongly about this
issue to support BSA. If I had had more time and energy
back then, I would have started an alternative group that
builds on the good stuff of the boys scouts, but doesn't
support the national organization in any way.
Boy Scouts was one of the best experiences for our sons
(now Eagle scouts). I have never encountered a more warm
and committed group of parents than the troop leaders,
which includes mothers. The reputed homophobia was mis-
represented in a case where a single 20-something gay man
was kept from being an adult leader. BSA has policies
intended to protect boys from abuse by adults, such as not
allowing 1-boy/1-adult interactions. Gay scouts are,
however, treated like straight ones. Scouting will expose
your son to experiences and opportunities that he will not
get in school. By the way, most troops allow mothers to
be as involved as fathers. If you like camping, don't
Hello - you don't say where you live, but my son's Boy
Scout troop (203 in Oakland) has an explicit non-
discrimination policy on their website:
http://www.troop203.com/. The Piedmont council of Boy
Scouts has also informed the BSA that it does not adhere to
their policy. Scouting for All
(http://www.scoutingforall.org/) also maintains a database
for troops that don't discriminate. Scouting has been a
wonderful experience for my son, so I hope you will find a
troop where you as a family will be comfortable.
I'm trying to put this gently, but the Boy Scouts of America
is an institution with its own rules and ways of doing
things that are in conflict with your family's philosophy.
Why not just respect that and find a different organization
more inline with your values?
I don't understand why people want to live differently, then
they want to get involved with organizations that are not
inline with there espoused difference. You will join and
then just complain about how you don't like their opposition
to your ''two mommy'' family. If you want to be different,
why then join organizations that are based on values that
you have rejected?
Why not just go off and form your own thing, based on your
tired of it.
I can't answer your question exactly, as I am not part of a
two mom family, but I would like to tell you that I am
totally confident that such a family would be more than
welcome in our troop in Lafayette. I hope you take the time
to check out any troop you are interested in joining; they
have different personalities, and it's the families that
make up the troop and will determine if you feel welcome and
supported. Good luck!
Boy Scout mom
OK, I don't usually post, but you asked for an opinion.
My husband and I raised two sons -- not same sex parents.
I don't think it matters. The boy scouts are just WEIRD!
I'm sorry, but neither of my sons had very good
experiences. They are bi-racial (now in their 30's) --
but in Berkeley that shouldn't have been a big deal --
even back then. Their dad was in the boyscouts as a kid
too. And he told me some pretty sick stuff that went on.
My advice is a no vote -- especially if he's young. The
older Eagle Scouts are REALLY strange, and liked to do
fraternity type stuff with the younger boys. OK, I guess
I've said enough. I suppose if you know the scout leader
and the kids pretty well, it could be a good experience,
but if not, I wouldn't take the chance.
-Just my opinion.
PS: Again JUST my opinion based on limited and old
When my parents divorced and my brother was nine years
old, my mom signed him up for boy scouts. He is now 42
years old and still has friends from that troop and still
remembers fondly, the camping trips and hikes, as well as
the cookouts and silliness that he and the other boys had
together. They are good memories.
It might be good to check out the local Berkeley chapter
of Boy Scouts before making a decision. I know the older
troops do path restoration and the like. Introducing kids
to public service is a good thing and so the if nothing
else, scouts may lead your kid to another interest you
haven't thought of yet. Good luck.
Worth a try
My son is in a Boy Scout troop in the East Bay in which
one of the boys has two moms. I'm not one of them so I
can't reply about their experience, but I have been told
that Bay Area scout groups have specifically disavowed
agreement with national Boy Scout policy on
homosexuality. In any event, it's not an issue in my
I cannot speak as a same sex parent but I can only speak
for our local boy scouts. My son was in the Kensington
Troop 100 (no we did not live in Kensington). It was just
a fabulous experience. He's in his 20's now after having
gone to college and having had many experiences. The
experiences with the Troop are priceless and he still
talks about them. He also lists it on his resume and used
his experiences for college & scholarship applications.
Everyone in Troop 100 was very welcoming and believe me -
all boys are treasured. All families are treasured. I do
not know how it is in other states or other areas, but I
do know that here in the east bay (Berkeley, Kensington
etc) not only is everyone welcome but diversity is
former scout mom
Excellent question! When my son was 3 years old my partner and I met a
gay scoutmaster at a dinner party. We had a great debate about the trade-
offs of membership in a discriminatory organization, and I pushed pretty
hard. It's a classic queer dilemma: How do you judge an organization - by
the character of the local branch in which you participate or by the big
picture national platform? One by one, my family members left the
Presbyterian Church over this. But is being a scout the same? By the end of
the dinner party, the scoutmaster had changed our minds and we began the
count down to age 11 - when our son could become a Boy Scout. That day
came last year, and it's been fantastic for everyone.
Our troop (T-24) welcomed us warmly, and my son loves all the activities.
What's not to love about camping/fishing/orienteering
/hiking/snowboarding, (not to mention earning that First Aid Merit Badge
and doing frequent community service projects)? It's a curriculum for life.
At the same time, it is sobering for my son to realize that this beloved
organization's official rules would exclude his favorite adult from being a
scout or adult leader because he is gay. This is a much closer view of
discrimination than he has ever had before. This conflict has launched great
conversations about exclusion and bigotry - always ending up with the
realization that what counts isn't what you profess your values to be - it's
how you demonstrate those values. By that analysis, we have no second
thoughts about being a scouting family.
Good luck with the decision.
I am dying to hear the responses you get because even though
ours is not a 2 mom or 2 dad family, we are supportive of
all families and we wonder too about the Boy Scout
organization homophobia. Is there another organization out
there for our kids if the Boy Scouts are not all-inclusive?
There are a lot of great things about the boy scouts, and
each troop, especially in our diverse Bay Area, kind of
defines it's level of tolerance I would guess (but I don't
know.)I still wonder, ultimately, would I regret supporting
an organization by having my son join if they don't see eye
to eye with me on my beliefs?
Trying to be open minded too
I so wish that I could let my 12 year old twin sons be a
part of scouting (girl scouts was a very big part of my
growing up and a very positive experience), but I just can't
do it. As a lesbian mother, there is no way I can justify
participating in an organization that actively discriminates
against my family. Just can't do it. Even though I've
heard that local packs/troops(?) have their own flavor and
are all good with gay people here in the Bay Area, it's just
not something I'm comfortable with being a part of or
exposing my kids to, and we've explained that to them (just
as we've explained Prop. 8, etc.). But of course everyone
needs to make their own decisions.
One point I haven't seen anyone mention yet, the BSA
requires you to believe in God. It's in the pledge.
Regular participation in religious activities is a
requirement. Just another way that the BSA is not
inclusive. I personally think it is wrong that a group,
that at a national level excludes gay people and non-
Christians, gets free use of public buildings (schools) and
free access to advertise to school children.
not a fan of BSA
I had the same concerns before my son started scouting. I even began talking
with my neighbors in two mom families about starting a group of our own
(makes me laugh now). Ultimately we did join cub scouts (pack 30) in
Berkeley and have never regretted it. Yes, we have met people who are more
conservative than us but its still Berkeley and all the great things about
Berkeley are amplified in scouting, whether we are hearing about global
warming from UC scientists or a career in graphic art from David Lance
Goines. We met several two mom families in the pack (one of them is taking
over as leader next year) and they would be a great source of info. for you.
Having said all that, I don't believe it is enough to just say we don't
discriminate or that endorsing Scouting for All makes all the bad stuff go
away and until we deal with this we shouldn't expect to use public resources
et...As for scouting being ''weird'' or uncool, so is any group that
enthusiastically embraces the well being of children and isn't afraid of looking
dorky while doing so (look at Mr. Rogers). Some people may find the
uniforms, flags and badges ''weird'' (or even reminiscent of fascism) I know I
did, but for many kids it's one of the best parts, like wearing a sports uniform
and earning trophies. In fact, scouting has the benefits of sports (teamwork
fitness, competition et...) without the mind numbing repetitiveness of taking
part in the same purely physical activity day after day. It's certainly worth
Happy scout mom
My son was a rather reluctant boy scout at age 11. He was
reluctant about just about everything at that age!
However, he first joined just for the summer camp.
Wolfeboro it is called. It is heaven and they love it. As
time went on, he finally had an offer to go to ''Philmont
Ranch'' in New Mexico, an incredible trip of taking the
train and then backpacking for 10 days. He had to be 15
and had to achieve a certain advancement to do it. He
quickly made the requirements for this trip. HE is now 23,
FAR from nerdy by the way, and still has fabulous posters
of Philmont Ranch and still refers to the trip. It
literally changed his young life. His confidence soared as
he took leadership on that trip and led the group on the
trail. He used the experience for both his UC essays and
scholarships. He loved the comradery, yes, similar to
sports but WITHOUT the competition. In these days of
video games and passivity, I can't recommend it enough.
And no, you do NOT have to believe in God. Diversity is
welcome, all families are respected and supported.
former scout mom
Check out Troop 100 in Kensington. We had our reservations
re BSA but decided to give the group a try. Our son was a
member there for a couple of yrs and we found the group
welcoming. There are a couple of other gay parents, too.
Focus is on what scouting is all about- very positive
place and great leadership.Our son has learned a lot of
outdoor skills he wouldn't have gotten from us and
appreciation for nature (and service to community for that
matter. By the way, most families are from outside of
Kensington- diverse group.
I have a 7 year-old boy and I am considering having him become a cub
scout. My objective is that he makes more friends and does more
activities. But I am a little concerned about the religious part,
which I don't like. I also wonder if the concept is not a little
too conservative (non-liberal). Any ideas? Experiences?
Recommendations for a cub scout group in the Lamorinda area?
My son was a cub scout and then continued on to Boy Scouts in Moraga. It
was the best thing we ever did. It teaches the children so many positive
qualities to life. Social skills, preparation, self responsibilities,
survival skills, etc. and they go on a lot of excursions which are
experiences they'll always remember (parents are always encouraged to
participate). I was a very involved father and so many of the other
parents were involved also. I experienced no religious overtones except
for the belief in God. He's grown up now and I couldn't be prouder. He was
surrounded by a lot of positive parents and parental involvement which he
will pass on to his children. It's a terrific program, not perfect, but
My son did not do Scouts at the Cub level, but he joined a
Lafayette troop at the end of 5th grade. I was never very
gung-ho about the whole thing (even though my dad and
brother were Eagles), but now I cannot say enough good
things about the troop and the organization. I know we are
supposed to be all outraged that they don't allow gay Scout
masters, and if that ever was an issue with a real person I
knew in my real community, I would stand up for them. But
for the actual organization that I deal with, I think it is
a wonderful thing for my son, and for our family as a whole.
The dads (and moms) who work with the boys are wonderful,
he gets to do activities that he would never have done with
our non-camping family, they are teaching him useful skills
and leadership and he is making new friends and contacts. We are an
atheist/Jewish family and to date, I have not felt
any pressure on the religious side. It has not come up in
any explicit way, and if it did, my son will say that he is
respectful of others beliefs and does his ''duty to God'' in
the way he sees fit and leave it at that. I think the
organization as a whole has so much to offer that we accept
the parts that are not perfect (and by the way, it is a
voluntary organization to join). Many of their activities
focus on helping others, so I don't see how that can be
construed as ''non-liberal'' and I can assure you, the boys
are not discussing politics at the meetings. Please take
some time to go to some of the meetings of a troop/pack that
you are interested in and make an informed decision!
Boy Scout mom
I am interested in Boy Scout alternatives for my son. I love the idea of the
boy scouts but I can't support an organization that excludes people who are
gay or atheists. Does anyone know of a similar organization that is
welcoming of all people? Thank you.
Wishing boy scouts accepted everyone
Yes, there are non-discriminatory alternatives to the Boy
Scouts! I grew up with Camp Fire, which is a fabulous
organization that welcomes all. (Originally it was for
girls only, but they've had boy members for 40 years or
so.) As a large organization with a long history, it's
the best known ''Scouting alternative.'' (In fact, some Boy
Scout troops ''converted'' to Camp Fire groups after the
BSA's right to be anti-gay was upheld in court.)
Unfortunately, there seems to be a dearth of Camp Fire
groups in my neighborhood, but if you have the time and
energy to lead (or co-lead) one, you can start one. If
you happen to be in the North Berkeley, Albany or El
Cerrito area, I'd love to help you! There is a council
office in Oakland, and I think one in Walnut Creek or
Concord, so you may get lucky if you are in a different
There's also 4-H, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Adventure
Guides (YWCA-sponsored but coed), Spiral Scouts (primarily
for Wiccans and Pagans but nondiscriminatory), and
assorted other youth groups associated with religious
communities or adult service organizations. I hope you
can find something that works for your family.
While the Boy Scouts nationally do have those rules, the
local troops are specifically much more open. I know the
Piedmont troop is all-inclusive and was led by the dad of a
gay scout. Check it out!
My husband grew up in Berkeley and loved the Sea Scouts. He still has kept in contact with many of the people and feels
that he learned a bunch from it.
Hope this helps!
I don't know of any other organizations that do what Boy
Scouts does, but there are troops with explicit anti-
discrimination policies. Scouting For All, an
organization devoted to bringing diversity to Boy Scouts,
has a list on their website:
http://www.scoutingforall.org/data/layer02/linksFrame.html#SCOUTS%20TAKE%20A%20STAND. My son's troop (203 in
Oakland) also has an anti-discrimination policy.
I am writing to encourage you to give Boy Scouts of America
a chance. My 17-year-old son -- a recent Eagle Scout -- is
an atheist and an active member of his high school's Gay
Straight Aliance and his county's organization for marriage
equality. He has been part of BSA for the past ten years,
and had a very rewarding experience. If more progressive
families join BSA, the discrimination will end sooner.
Proud of my Eagle Scout
I am sure you have already heard this, but the local scout
troops here in the east bay do not adhere to the national
rules of heterosexuals only being admitted. Obviously you
are dead against the scouts at this point, but one thing you
might consider is that our children also learn that an
organization is not perfect. I for instance am a Democrat
but the Democrats often do things I object to. But I still
will be a Democrat and hope there are changes, I don't throw
out the whole Party. Religion, politics, there are many
similar examples where we choose to participate in
organizations that we do not agree with 100%. This is just
another way of looking at it, that the organization is
fabulous in many other ways - but is not perfect.
Kensington Troop 100 Scout parent Sandra
Are there any cub scouts packs or dens in El Cerrito? I have checked on line and
found groups in Pleasant
Hill, Oakland, and points beyond, but I love the idea of finding a neighborhood
group...any help? And if
there aren't any meetings in El Cerrito, anyone have experience with a neighboring
city's cub scouts?
mamma bear with wannabe cub
There are cubs in El Cerrito. I think they meet through
Camp Hermes up near the Arlington Park... but I can't
swear to it.
My boys belong to Pack 30 in North Berkeley which is
chartered through Epworth Church. This is a very diverse
group with children from Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany and
Berkeley. There are a fair number of boys who are students
at School of the Madeleine, but there are many who are not
so your son wouldn't be the only one. We've had a great
experience with the pack. There are monthly den and pack
meetings and one activity a month. Just the right amount
of activity so the kids feel they belong but are still
able to have other interests. If you are interested please
contact me and I will pass your information on to the
parent in charge of new members.
I am interested in enrolling my 11-year old boy in a local Boy Scout
club. We live in Albany. Would you recommend a local Boy Scout club
(in Albany, El Cerrito or Berkeley)? Thank you.
Come visit Troop 19 in Berkeley! It is the longest established troop
in Berkeley (going strong for 90 years) and the scouts have so much fun.
See the Troop 19 website at http://www.troop19berkeley.org
Our son joined the troop over six years ago, has made life-long
friends, and has had so many wonderful experiences and opportunities
which we (his parents) could not otherwise have provided -- yearly
summer camp, regular troop outings to near and far (Death Valley, Mt
Shasta, Point Reyes Seashore, Pigeon Point, Pinnacles, etc.) for
camping and hiking, a three-week trip to Japan as part of a scout
exchange, a week in Florida sailing down the Florida Keys, two weeks
back-packing in New Mexico at the High Adventure Camp at Philmont, and
many local outdoor activities such as bike rides, hikes, and camping
trips. The scouts in Troop 19 are involved in community work as well,
such as park clean-ups, preparing food baskets for seniors and needy,
Berkeley Path restorations, and other volunteer activities. The
weekly meetings are busy and fun-filled with the scouts involved in
The troop meets weekly on Wednesday nights from 7:30 to 9:00 PM in
Berkeley and everyone is most welcome to attend. Come visit us! The
door is always open.
Long-time Troop 19 Parent
We had a wonderful time with Troop 24. It is a ''Berkeley'' troop, but
plenty close enough to Albany, Kensington, El Cerrito to draw from
those areas. They meet at St. Mary Magdalene in North Berkeley.
Although it is not a ''Catholic'' troop, the church was kind enough to
let us use their space. It is a very progressive, open and friendly
group, with a full program of terrific activities. They have a website:
I cannot say enough good things about the Boy Scouts. We were a
part of Troop 100 in Kensington for many years. It is truly a
family. We do not live in Kensington, but we live within several
miles. They don't care where you live! They meet at the Youth Hut
on the Arlington. They took my son in and took such an interest in
him. He just graduated from a UC campus, has excelled in many ways,
but Troop 100 and the Scouts will always be a very special thing in
happy with the Kensington Boy Scouts
Re: Affordable Summer Fun for 15-year-old daughter
Sea Scouts is a great, affordable outdoors activity for Teens in
the Bay Area. Is only costs $30 to join, is based in SF, and the
teens learn how to sail, row, and care for their boats. We have
kids from all over the Bay in our group, and with the America's
Cup taking place in SF next, sailing will be on everyone's
radar. Check out the website at www.corsair-viking.org, or email
me at email@example.com for more info. We'll be having an
open house/free sail day on March 19th at 11 for any teens
interested, just let me know if you plan on attending.
Attention Parents! Want your teen to learn confidence,
responsibility, leadership skills and self discipline all while having
fun? Tell them about the best teen program around. Sea Scouts! The
S.S.S. (Sea Scout Ship) Sea Witch currently has openings for
additional crew members. We have overnight weekend boat trips and an
incredible 10 day summer fun cruise in August. No experience
required. Teens learn how to operate & maintain our 46 ft. ship as
well as sailboats, kayaks, canoes and rafts. We have computer
navigation, Sonar, a kitchen, a water slide and even a DVD player on
our ship! Our crew competes with other teen crews from all over
California in events like navigation, rope climb, sailing skills,
first aid, radio communications and knot tying. Come visit and meet
the friendly co-ed crew. We meet year round Tuesdays 6:00pm - 8pm
(dinner served) at 225 N. Court St. Martinez and Saturdays 9-4pm
(lunch served) at the ship at the dock in Martinez. Only $15 to join.
Questions? visit www.seascout.org
Re: 16 yr old son does not socialize out of school
I, too, have a grandson that doesn't socialize in school. Although
his ADD/Asperger's Syndrome disability does take this into matter,
WHAT REALLY CHANGED HIM was enrolling him into the Sea Scout
program. He's on a 10-day cruise right now up through the Delta with
other boys on the Scouts 102ft boat. What a difference this group
has made in my grandson. I try to do anything I can to help this
group because they have made such a difference in my grandson. Their
website is www.northlandnautical.org. He's learning to be part of
a ''team'' which is one of the hurdles he's experiencing as well as
learning valuable nautical and life skills including: rowing,
sailing, navigation, small boat handling and ship operation, knot
tying and rescue techniques, engine mechanics and repair, carpentry,
painting, fishing , waterskiing and watersports. Where else could you
find a wonderful outlet for these boys! Their website is
www.northlandnautical.org. If you need more info, just give me a
I am a long time girl scout and scout leader who is now the mother of two boys...so am
a bit unclear on how Boy Scouts (Cub Scouts, Weeblos, etc.) works and when one needs
to look in to joining what.
I am hopeful that my boys will be interested and active and, ideally, motivated to
pursue their Eagles...so here are some of my questions:
1. At what age/grade do boys start down the scouting path?
2. How do you find their initial troop/pack/den? Do you join one at your school or go
looking for one?
3. Is there a path one follows or do you go looking for a ''Boy Scout'' troop at a
later date? What Scout troops are local? Do they have different philosophies? What
does one consider when choosing a troop?
4. Have your kids gotten a lot out of scouts? What advice do you have for me? I know
that I have to be careful to allow them to develop the interest and not push this on
them because of my background and interests...but beyond that?!?!?
Boy Scouts is a fabulous organization and it is well worth the
parents' time and effort. Some boys start as Cubs and move up;
some begin as Scouts (like my son)when they are older. My son
began in the 7th grade. Frankly he was quite lazy the first
three years and didn't advance at all, just had fun, then in
high school he got a chance to go backpacking for 15 days at
Philmont Ranch in New Mexico. This was the ultimate scout trip.
After that he was motivated and became an Eagle Scout. He is
22, graduated from college & feels it has helped his whole
life.And yes, he does put it on his resumes. I think the local
troops are easier to partipate in as families are in your
community. In these days of video games & sedentary leisure,
Scouts gets them OUT and learning hands on. It is also great
single parents, they are embraced & supported. I think that the
local scout troops here in the bay area are more relaxed & less
regimented than other areas in the US, they are happy to have
Former Scout Mom
Hi Nikki - My son is a member of troop 203 in Oakland and I
be happy to talk to you about it. I really like the troop
because it is non-discriminatory (check out their website at
I think the answer to most of your
questions may just be: it depends. Boys start at different
depending on their interests and schedules. If there is not a
troop at your school or place of worship, the local office in
Leandro may be able to provide referrals. You can attend
meetings of different troops and just find one that feels right
they may have more or fewer meetings, be more or less formal,
focused on different activities, etc. My son has gotten a
tremendous amount out of Scouting and especially loves the
outdoor adventures and summer camps. I've also seen huge
progress in his leadership and project management skills. I
My son's public school class was visited by the cub scouts and as
a result he wants to join. I've spoken to the people running the
local pack and they say, and I believe them, that they don't
follow the national organization's discriminatory policies
towards gays, lesbians, atheists and agnostics. But they have
taken no public stand on it and the Bay Area council, of which
they are a part, also has not opposed the national policy. (They
say that anyone is welcome as long as they don't engage in
''advocacy'' while in a leadership position, i.e. don't try to
change the policy). I'm really uncomfortable with this position
and totally appalled by the national policy. But I do think my
son would enjoy scouting and probably get a lot out of it. I'm
curious as to how others have dealt with this issue and also
whether there are any non-discriminatory alternatives to
scouting, particularly in the Montclair/Piedmont Pines area of
Thinking about Scouting
Scouting sounds like an awesome experience that everyone should get to have, but
schools need to take a vigilant stand against institutionalized discrimination. I do not
administer anything from the Boy Scouts in my classroom, but I tell my students that
the forms are in the office. If your son wants to join, you should let him, but no school
should allow solicitation from any organization that discriminates based on religious or
Yes to Scouts, No to Soliciting in Schools
You might want to take a look at the Scouting Program in Piedmont
for your son. The Piedmont Council is separate from the Bay Area
Scouting Council. The Piedmont Council has very publicly and
vehemently denounced the anti-gay polices of the national
council. There are several cub scout packs in the Piedmont
Council and boys from Oakland & other cities are more than
welcome. It's an extremely well-run organization. Like you I
initially had some reservations about the whole scouting thing,
but my son really wanted to do it. It has turned out to be one of
his very favorite activities and he's continued with it into high
school. The phone number for the Piedmont Council Office is
547-4493 - they'll be glad to give you more info.
You are not alone! I understand how you feel about Cub Scouts
because I went through the same soul-searching before allowing
my son to sign up (as did most parents I've met). I am so glad
I let him join. He loves being a Cub Scout and I think he gets
out of it what I want him to. His values come from his parents,
which of course is as it should be.
The local packs seem to ''get it'' in terms of the idiocy of the
national organization and focus on the boys, not the politics.
No one I know agrees with the BSA policies, yet everyone I've
met through it thinks scouting is a positive activity for their
We pretty much ignore the larger organization and focus on the
boys. They love the hiking and camping, and the educational
and character development activities are actually useful and
interesting. We've found scoutning to be a great activity for a
boy who is not necessarily into sports but likes to earn
recognition for individual achievement. My son loves the
patches, beads, badges and all that stuff that he's earned, and
While I would have loved to find other organizations that had
the same activities, there weren't many to choose from that
provided the activities and achievements that now make him so
happy. I love what my son gets out of scouting and if the BSA
weren't so stupid in their policies, I otherwise would find it
an ideal activity and enjoy it as much as my son. He thinks
Sad to Have Compromised; Glad I Did
I too am appalled by their views. I can see why it would be
tempting to let him in, but how can you guarantee the current
local leaders will stay? The future is unknown. And how could you
really pull him out at that point, after he's even more attached
to the idea and has made friends? And perhaps there's a moral
issue with pretending things are okay, because they don't
directly touch you (end justifies means).
I guess you have to decide if you're the kind of family who
refrains from things that you find offensive and wrong, or if
you're the kind of family who takes on the headaches of forcing
change from within. Or third option, the kind who goes along with
things and tries not to think about it.
I don't judge you either way- it's a tough decision
My seven year old has also recently joined cub scouts and I am
confused by the response you received in questioning the national
policy. Berkeley has a statement on their website with strong
wording against the national policy (basically a big kiss my
grits). Albany and Kensington have gentler statements as well on
Leaders I have talked to think the national policy is ridiculous,
and would like to carry banners to that effect, but do not want
to lose their charter (I think 3 groups nationally have lost
theirs). Scouting is traditionally a Christian organization but
all are welcome and the religious aspect is basically nonexistant
here in the Bay Area. (Okay some troops sell Christmas wreaths).
I have been really impressed by the leaders I have met and
understand your feelings but would encourage you go to the local
websites for a better scope
Cub Scout Mom
This is a tough decision--one our family went also went through.
I was girl scout and a Explorer scout (the coed branch in high
school!) and I loved scouting and what it taught me. My son also
wanted to join the cub scouts because he loves the outdoors. My
spouse and I were very hesitant because of the national
leadership stance on gays (of which I had NO idea when I was a
scout!). We also knew personally that no one in the local group
would discrimate or even sanction discrimination but we still
weren't comfotable. Finally, we realized what we could say to
our son--his ''Uncle'' Joe, my gay best friend, would not be
allowed to be a leader. We were very careful to discuss how his
friends and their parents wouldn't care that Uncle Joe was gay
and that we thought the cub scouts at his school were great kids
but given that Uncle Joe wouldn't be allowed to be be involved
because of what the ''bosses'' thought, we didn't think our son
should be involved either. When we explained it to him that way,
he didn't want to be part of the group either--I think he used
that words ''That's stupid!''
I have not heard of another group in the Montclair Piedmont Pines
area--if there were one we would join!
wish it were different
I am looking for a Boy Scout Troop that my 7 year old can join. Any ideas?
My son joined a very nice very small pack (342) in
Oakland that meets in Redwood Heights at the Presbyterian
Church near the Safeway. All parts of the pack meet at
7:30 on Monday. I didn't know much about the scouts before,
but Ben wanted to join and we decided that despite our
political issues with the Scouts we would try it. What
I've learned about the experience is that Boy Scouts
really seem to know what boys like and need in a group
situation and have it set up well for them to have fun and
succeed. This troop is quite small, and you could really
help define what the troop is by being involved.
If you'd like more information, I am happy to provide
it, or you can get in touch with my husband Rick Davis
at rld at well.com.
Regarding the Boy Scouts, Troop 271 Park Blvd, Oakland
is a great troop. All boys are welcomed to join. If
interested you can contact Sue Grandt, 530-7039.
The Boy Scouts meet on Tuesday evenings at the Park
Blvd Church (sorry I can;t remember the name of the
church) the weblos and tigers I think meet on Saturdays.
They also have a large girl scout troop that also meets
at this church. This church has been supporting the
scouts for over 75 years...
A 7 year old would join the Cub Scouts. Pack 30 is
sponsored by the Epworth United Methodist Church on
Hopkins Street in Berkeley. You don't say where you
live, so you should contact the Mt. Diablo-Silverado
Boy Scout Council in Pleasant Hill (925-674-6100) to
find the location of the nearest Cub Scout Pack.
My son has expressed an interest in joining the boy scouts. I'm a little
ambivalent, mostly because of the official anti-gay discrimination policy,
but I'd like some more information about people's experiences, and perhaps
some recommendations for specific groups in the Berkeley/Oakland area.
There is a Scout troop that is "open and affirming", which means that
they accept gays in the organization. It meets at the First
Congregational Church of Berkeley, and you can get more information about
them by calling the church, 848-3696. Louise
I have 3 sons who all joined Cub Scout Pack 296 while in elementary school
at Joaquin Miller in the Oakland Hills - in fact I was a den leader for
several years. The older two have now gone onto Boy Scout Troop 203 (6th
grade and up) which meets at Montera Middle School most Monday nights and
has outdoor activities such as camping and biking at least once per month.
I cannot speak highly enough of the experience my kids have had. The older
one has learning disabilities and Boy Scouts has given him a lot of practical
skills, built his physical strength and given him wholesome activities to
participate in. My middle son is enjoying the experience in a different way.
He's meeting kids from public and private schools in Berkeley and Oakland.
Boy Scouts has increased their self-reliance,leadership skills and ability
to work with others. They also enjoy being part of a supportive community
with many great kids and parents.
Troop 203 has a website with lots of information about the troop, how to join,
what's on the calendar www.troop203.com . I am the Outreach
Chair for Troop 203 and welcome questions directly - Mary
Troop 203 is always happy to welcome a new boy scout whether he has previous
experience with scouting or not.A final comment - I realize that there is some
negative sentiment against the Boy Scouts because of their (National) policy
toward gays. Andy Young, the Scout Master for 203 and I recently were
by the Montclarion to state our disagreement with that policy. (Published
believe). Our website also has a statement of our disagreement with the
policy and our commitment to diversity of all kinds. I personally feel as
that the good of boyscouts outweighs any negatives associated with the
Boy Scout Troop 206 in Oakland is a great troop, very active and very
concerned about the recent discrimantory policies of the National
We have drafted and adopted our own Policy of Inclusiveness which
deals directly with issues of sexual orientation of our Scouts and Adult
Leaders. Please feel free to contact me if you would
like to find our more about our troop. We welcome all those interested in
Scouting for its focus on the environment and the development of leadership
skills in boys. Lesley
As many of you may suspect, Boy Scouts in Berkeley do not agree with the
National Policy banning gays from membership in Scouting. Pack 30 has even
had its position paper stating that it will not discriminate against
homosexuals on its website and the Scouting For All website for a year. We
have passed out our statement at the Solano Stroll, the 4th of July festival
at the Marina and sent it to the Berkeley City Council members and the
Schoolboard. We have talked to the media to get our message across as well.
As parents and Scouts we believe that we can make a positive change in
Scouting from within, and with the help of others who feel like minded, we
can work with those who would like to change National BSA Policy. Please
send your voice of protest to the Boy Scouts of America National
Headquarters, 1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, Tx
75015-2079. Scouts in Berkeley are not the problem. We are fighting a
difficult and lonely battle within Scouting, because we believe that we can
change the world for the better. We do not discriminate and will not.
Scouting is a wonderful program for all children, my three children have
benefitted greatly and have given countless hours back to the community in
service hours. We will continue to offer a quality program for all youth
interested. We only ask that you put a local face on Berkeley Boy Scouts and
understand that we are fighting National Policy. Many of our Scouts are
members of their Gay/Straight Alliance and seek to end discrimination in all
areas of our community. Pack 30 is sponsored by Epworth United Methodist
Church, which is a Reconciling Congregation, meaning that we actively welcome
all. As Berkeley citizens, I know you want to seek out the truth, before you
cast your judgement.
Ellen, Ass't Cubmaster Pack 30, Advisor Crew 24
Does anyone know of a tiger scouts groups for a first grader
which is not affiliated with a particular school? There isn't one
at my son's school and I think he'd really enjoy it, but I worry if
there are already long-established relationships, he'd have trouble
feeling part of it. We're in Oakland, and would prefer that.
Tiger Cubs is a branch of the Cub Scouts intended exclusively for first
graders. They will graduate into Cub Scouts in June. That leaves about
four months if your son is in first grade. Most certainly the groups
that are out there are fairly well established, but they would certainly
welcome newcomers. The sooner he starts participating, the sooner he'll
get to know the kids.
For the location of the Cub Scout Packs located nearest to your home
the scout office at 577-9000 9:00am to 5:00 pm or see their web pages
(San Francisco Bay Area Council).( Idon't see any
Oakland that are supporting web pages - but it's the usual digital divide)
If you are in/near Piedmont, they have their own council, ditto Alameda.
I should explain that the Tiger Cubs are affiliated with the Pack in which
they be a Cub Scout. Tigers usually attend their monthly Pack meeting
have one monthly meeting with just the Tiger Cubs and their Tiger Cub
(each boy has a partner who is an adult guardian/relative/neighboor ).
Hi, I am looking for a girl scouts troop in berkeley/Albany area, please
You can contact the Girl Scout offices directly and they can help put
you in touch with relevant troops.
I'm looking for a girl scout troop for my 10-year-old
daughter who will go to 5th grade. It's her first time. It
could be in Albany/El Cerrito area. I've contacted Northern
California Girl Scouts; it seems the troops are not active
in summer and they'll probably get back to me in September.
While waiting, I'd like to see if you know any openning.
Really appreciate it. Lucy
Hi there. My 10-year old daughter is part of a small Girl
Scout troop in El Cerrito. There are currently about 8
girls in the troop, ranging in age from 8-12. Typically we
meet every other Tuesday from 4:30 - 6:00 at Christ Lutheran
church in El Cerrito at Stockton and Ashbury. We do our own
projects but also meet up with other GS troops for such
group activities as Camporee, group Sing-a-Longs, etc.
We are in a bit of a state of flux right now as it is summer
and we may do things a bit differently in the coming year.
However, we'll probably have our first meeting of the new
year after Labor Day.
My 2nd Grader at Rosa Parks would like to join a Girl Scout Troop (Daisy?) in
Berkeley/Albany. Does anyone have a recommendation?
You should contact the San Francisco Bay Area Girl Scout Council. They can
let you know where all the local troops are and whether they have space. I
think they are in San Leandro. (510) 562-8470 Nikki
To the right there is a drop down menu on how to find a
troop in your county and city.
The appropriate contact info is then displayed. That person
will help you narrow it down by school or neighborhood and
find a troop that works.
There is always the option of becoming a ''Juliette'' - a sort
of ''free agent'' Girl Scout who doesn't belong to a troop but
can participate in any Girl Scout activity. The council can
give you more information on that.
Welcome to Girl Scouts!
I'm considering signing up my 5 year old daughter for Girl Scouts.
At her age she'd be a Daisy. I wasn't a girl scout myself so I
don't really know what it's all about. Looking at their website it
appears to be a fun, positive program, with activities my daughter
would really enjoy. I'm interested to hear from others who have
participated how they liked or disliked it. And how does it
compare to YMCA Adventure Guides or other similar programs? I
didn't see anything in the archives about the program itself, only
tips on how to find a troop. Thanks.
The Girl Scouting program is wonderful for lots of girls, and even
those who do it for just a few years consider it a positive experience.
However, the specifics of the program often depend on the leader(s), as
well as the interests and personalities of the girls in the troop.
While all troops do a variety of activities, some do more camping,
outdoor activities, etc., some do more handicrafts and similar, and
others are very service-focused. If a particular kind of experience is
important to your daughter (or to you), be sure to ask detailed enough
My daughter is in 5th grade, attending a very small private
school. She will be moving to King Middle School in the fall
and is longing to make new connections with girls in Berkeley
who are around her age.
She has convinced herself that girl scouts will be the answer.
I am wondering if many girls enter girl scouts at age 11 (seems
like they might be phasing out around then), and what other
people's experiences might be with the girl scouts.
Also, are there other types of groups that might fit the bill
for her? She is already active with soccer and theater.
You might want to check out Campfire USA. They used to be Campfire
Girls, but are
now more co-ed. The cool thing about them is they very much stand for
(they welcome people of all backgrounds, ethnicities and sexual
orientations, and are
completely nonsectarian). The have programs for youth and teens. I would
that Girls Scouts does too, though, but I have never been involved with
them, so I'm
I think your daughter's idea is great one! Yes, the younger
years (elementary) years are the most popular for girl scouts.
However, they have an incredible ''older girl'' program for middle
schoolers and high schoolers that focuses on in-depth exploration
of interest areas, learning about careers, developing a positive
body image, leadership, fantastic international travel
opportunities and so on... And they've been doing this
successfully for many years because when I was a teenager my girl
scout experience was the single most important positive
influence on my life. You can find out more on the girl scout
website as well as from the San Francisco Bay Area office. Also,
because the troops are smaller and the girls more mature they can
create a wonderful community that would be great for a girl in
transition such as your daughter.
Best way to see if Girl Scouts is a good fit for your daughter is
to visit a troop meeting. It's true some girls phase out of
scouting at 11, 12, or 13, but it's also true that many girls
stay in. For those that stay in, the activity opportunities
really expands. For example, in Berkeley there's a group that
visits Japan. Call GS staffer Carol Stewart, 510-562-8470, to get
a list of appropriate Berkeley troops. Or, you and your daughter
can start a troop! Carol can help you with that as well.
In answer to one of your questions - yes, girls often start to
drop out at the middle school transition, but yes, some girls do
join then, too. The opportunities available tot these older girl
scouts are great.
Your daughter is an excellent problem-solver! There is a group
of sixth graders I know of at King who are Girl Scouts, contact
Carol Stewart, Community Development Director,
firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 562-8470 x113 to find the
Girls come and go from Girl Scout troops at all ages. Even
older Scouts will join new troops as old troops disband and new
ones form. While it is true that some girls drift away as they
get older, I personally think GS programs for older girls are
even better now than when I was a GS during high school! Girl
Scouts gave me a powerful sense of belonging and a place to
sing (and no one cared about my voice). Give it a try.
Girl Scout fan
I live in El Cerrito and I've been having great difficulty finding a
Brownie Troop for my 7 year old daughter. We tried to get into three
different troops in El Cerrito because she has freinds in those troops,
but they have all been full for a while now. I contacted the community
development director for the West Contra Costa County Girls Scout
Association and they siad they would get back to me with info on troops in
my area with openings. A week later I got a one call from a troop leader
who has openings. However her troop is way too expansive geographically.
Her troop consists of girls from all over West Contra Costa County as far
north as Hercules and Pinole. They meet at the Rod and Gun club in
Richmond which is not my cup of tea and it's really out of the way for us,
on the coastal area north of Point Richmond. My duaghter doesn't know
anyone in that troop and it would feel like we are out of our element and
community all together. We are hoping to find a troop more lo!
cal and intimate. There must be more troops in El Cerrito. How about
Kensington or Albany? Any ideas of how I can get more info on local
troops? Why is it so difficult to find a troop that has openings? I
thought Girl Scouts were everywhere. Are there other people to contact
that may have better information?
Everyone keeps suggesting that I start my own troop, but I'm not that kind
of mom who is super organized and has all the free time to commit to that
much responsibility. And non of my friends do either. Perhaps the real
problem is a shortage of parents who have the time and ability to start
and lead a troop, resulting in a shortage of available troops. Or maybe it
is the shortage of large meeting spaces for larger groups, thus limiting
the number of girls who can join.
Your daughter can always register with the Girl Scouts as a Juliette, which is a
non-Troop affiliated Girl Scout. She wouldn't get the benefit of attending Troop
meetings but she would be able to participate in Association events.
Girl Scouts has requirements around adult-child ratios and that is probably what is
limiting the size of the troops. Have you asked the leaders of the closed troops if you
can volunteer or be a co-leader? Then they might be able to expand. It is a commitment
but you don't need to be ''super organized'' or have ''all the time'' -- I work full
time, travel frequently for business, and still manage a troop of 18 girls. You and your
friends could also form a co-op troop, where each parent takes one meeting and the
Finally, one of the points of Girl Scouts is to make new friends. While it is
understandable that your daughter would want to be in a troop with girls she knows,
meeting and becoming friends with girls from different backgrounds could be a valuable
growth experience for her.
Mom of a Happy Brownie
You *can* get into a troop, or start a new troop, but it will take
prodding the Girl Scouts office in Oakland a lot. It's not that they
don't want to help, but in my experience they need reminders. Some
parents at my daughter's school (Tehiyah, in El Cerrito) have expressed
interest in joining a Brownie troop.
Also, you might consider starting a co-op troop. It's a great way to
share the work. My daughter's troop in Alameda is a co-op troop. All of
the parents are co-leaders, which means we share responsibilities. One
parents attends council meetings, another handles cookie sales, some go on
field trips, and we all take turns leading a meeting. We keep it very
low-key; our troop's uniform is only a Brownie vest. Other troops may go
sash-only, or choose more.
Greetings - We're looking for a great Brownie Troop for our 9
1/2 year old third grader (who attends Tehiyah Day School) and
a great Cub Scout Troop for our 7 1/2 year old first grader
(who also attends TDS). We'd really appreciate recommendations
for troops near our North Oakland neighborhood (which would
include Rockridge, Elmwood, or Piedmont). Recommendations in
the archives are for Boy Scouts and therefore too old for my
Cub. Any information as to how to connect with the specific
troop would be great, as the Boy Scouts website is under
construction and therefore not much help at all with specifics
in our area.
You don't mention it, but have you tried the Girl Scouts webpage
at www.girlscoutsbayarea.org. If you visit there, or better
yet, call the local Council Office at (800) 447-4475, they can
match you with a troop in your area.
Former Girl Scout
This is probably not the best time to be looking for scout
troops. Both scout troops my children are in are winding down
for the year. Your best bet is to call both council offices
in the late summer and try and get hooked up then.
I am looking for a Brownie troop for my 1st grade daughter and her 2nd
grade friend in Oakland (North, Montclair, Redwood Heights - we're
flexible). I called the council a month ago and they said they'd put
us on a waiting list and someone would call. I still haven't heard
from anyone so I'd appreciate any leads you can give. Michael
I just went through this process of finding a troop for my daughter.
Here are the steps I took:
1. I emailed Sandra Munoz at the GS Council office in oakland:
Sandra at girlscoutsbayarea.org. She sent a form to me at my
home that I filled out and returned. It was a form to request
placement in a troop (troop leaders call the office when they are
looking for more girls for their troops). Shortly thereafter I received
a confirmation postcard that my form had been received. I did not
hear anything else for a month.
2. So, I decided to contact a few mom's of friends of my daughter's
who I knew had been in or were in a troop. One of the moms
offered to ask her daughter's troop leader if there was space, but
there was not.
3. I called Sandra Munoz (about a month after I initially contacted
her) and let her know that I was still interested. Within a week she
called back to say a new troop was forming. We went to the
meeting and it turned out to be a very nice group.
4. The same week that we went to the meeting above, the leader
from the first troop called to say a spot had opened up and would
my daughter be interested. Since my daughter's good friend was
in the first troop, she wanted to switch.
To sum up, I would call or email Sandra and let her know you are
still interested, and I would ask other parents your daughter's
classmates and see if they know of any troops.
Have you tried Girl Scouts of America headquarters? They are located in
Oakland they should be able to give you a listing of Brownie Troops. The
number is 562-8470. I hope this helps.
I am looking for a girl scout troop for my 10 year old
(5th grade) daughter near the Montclair, Piedmont, or
Rockridge areas. I have contacted a number of schools
and the girl scout office without luck. My husband and
I are happy to help out with troop activities.
Any help locating a troop is much appreciated. Marjori
If the SF Bay Council (http//www.sfbgirlscouts.org/
can't give you
information on a troop with an opening, your best bet is to start your
own with your daughter and some of her friends. It's easy and the
Council will help you. The troops are usually made of girls around
the same age, with parent volunteers running things, and it's hard to
find a troop willing to add more girls. I've been involved with my
daughter's troop since the girls were in kindergarten and they're
now in 6th grade. It's fun and the Scout office has lots of resources.
Here's some advice re finding/starting a girl scout troop.
I've been a co-leader for three years. Another mom at our elem school and
I started a brownie troop when our daughters were in first grade. I
recruited a graduate student co-leader last year, which worked almost as
well. I've learned that if you really want your child to have an
experience like this, you're better off commiting yourself to being very
involved, and admittedly, it's a lot of work!
I just spoke with the SF Bay Area girl scout council, and they ask that you
either call or e-mail Dolores Reveles -- 510-562-8470 ext 107 or
dolores at sanfranciscobayarea.org.
It's recruitment time -- they're getting lots of calls like yours -- and
they are interested in seeing as many troops form as possible, so you may
have a chance. Good luck!
You should call the East Bay Regional Girl Scout Council on Edgewater Avenue
in Oakland. They can connect you with other troops in your area.
Good luck; scouting is a fun activity ofr girls and parents. Your daughter
would belong in a group called "Daises."
We have openings for 10 year old girls in our troop, but we are located
in El Cerrito. We would love to have you if you are willing to make the
trek. We meet twice a month on Wednesdays at 545-710. Scouting has
many fun activities with the larger association, such as the upcoming
Camporee weekend and the spring songfest and dance festivals.
Otherwise, you can contact the SF Bay Girl Scouts at 510-562-8470 or
e-mail at info at sfbgirlscouts.org for something closer to home.
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