Mr. Wayne Brock and the BSA National Executive Board
1325 Walnut Hill Lane
PO Box 152079
Irving, Texas 75015-2079
Dear Mr. Brock and Executive Board:
Enclosed please find one of my most prized possessions; my Eagle Scout badge earned by me from 1975 – 1980 from Troop 39 in Marlborough CT. It is with profound sadness, thorough forethought and deep disappointment that I return it to you and your organization.
As context for my actions, I’d offer this brief personal and family history as it relates to BSA:
My grandfather Salvatore Manzi, an 8th grade educated Italian immigrant was awarded the Silver Beaver Award when I was child based on his leadership and contribution to Troop 26 in Waterbury, CT. I remember clearly both the day he received his award and the pride with which he wore it at my Eagle Court of Honor.
My father, Allen Greer, worked for years with Pack 539 and Troop 39 in Marlborough CT. Whether it was canoeing in the various rivers in CT and MA, traipsing the white or green mountains of VT and NH or attending Lake of Isles summer camp with the troop, my father was a visible and active member of our leadership from my early Cub Scout days through my departure for college.
In addition to earning my Eagle and serving the troop in all the normal and expected offices, I was also an Order of the Arrow member, attended the National Jamboree and went on to lead my son’s tiger, cub and boy scout troop (Pack and Troop 9 in Newton, MA) for many years.
As you can see the tradition of service to BSA, and sense of pride in the organization, runs strongly and consistently through several generations of my family.
More importantly than what my family and I have given to scouting, however, is what scouting has given to me. From my first days as a tenderfoot, scouting has given me the opportunity to learn a variety of skills from a variety of amazing men and woman who selflessly shared their time, their incredible experience, energy and patience with the single goal of making better men. Now nearing the age of 50, having stood proudly at a couple of these volunteers’ funerals and having seen the way they lived their lives in and out of scouting, I see the inherent value of matching young men with leaders goes well beyond woodcraft and wilderness skills.
Through their example and mentoring, doing a “good turn daily,” has become a constant touchstone in my personal, family and professional lives. “Being prepared” and all that means has aided me in countless ways through my career and in raising my children.
With those mentors (at least one of whom was gay) coupled to the example set by my father and grandfather I have grown professionally and personally setting a high bar for myself. Further, earning my Eagle, the first in my family, was the first time I reached a seemingly unreachable goal. That sense of achieving a lofty goal by hard work, preparedness, following the direction of and accepting the support of others has been an incredible lesson for me and has benefited me in countless ways since I was a scout.
Imagine my profound sense of dismay, earlier this year regarding BSA’s stance on gays and lesbians and their participation in scouts. In this day and age when the military, our political leaders and several states have recognized a broader definition of the family, I was shocked that BSA had not seized on the clear opportunity to welcome all boys and leaders into, what was for me a very proud tradition and boldly lead the organization and society forward in a real and meaningful way. In addition to squandering the opportunity to lead, BSA has embraced the fear and ignorance that are the necessary ingredients to homophobia. To me, this stance does not represent being trustworthy or kind and is irreconcilable with living a life of reverence.
It was at this point I realized that scouting could no longer serve for me as that touchstone, that bedrock to my personal history from whose foundations I have built. I realized that while your, (no longer “my”) organization may be physically strong as evidenced by enrollment and endowment; it was no longer morally straight. I was shocked that the man I have become, largely through the influence of scouting finds unconscionable BSA’s current stance on inclusion.
As other of my Eagle brethren, I have come to the conclusion slowly over time that I can no longer consider myself part of this fraternity, and that what your organization now represents is anathema to me and to the core values I took from your organization.
I am also rooted in the confidence that the same leaders, straight and gay, who supported me, mentored me, kept my feet on the right path and stood proudly at my Eagle Court of Honor, would find your recent actions, and specifically your stance on gays and lesbians, egregious. It is because of their proud example and with profound sadness that I have enclosed my Eagle Badge.
Howard “Chip” Greer
Newton MA 02468