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Letter: Norwich Scouts Take a Stand

To the Editor:

In light of the Boy Scouts of America Association’s recent debate about its ban on gay leaders and Scouts, we would like to publicly state that the Norwich Boy Scout troop is open and inclusive, and stands in strong opposition to this ban. We find the policy to be discriminatory, distasteful and in direct opposition to the lessons the organization was founded to impart.

As parents, Scout leaders and citizens, we recognize the great many benefits that participation in Boy Scouts has brought to our boys and are saddened by the stance that the organization continues to take. We have watched our own sons thrive in Boy Scouts, learning to work together, be independent, be good citizens, be physically active, explore the outdoors and blossom into leaders.

The Norwich troop has a strong and wonderful tradition, running the haunted house at the Grange for Halloween, sorting books each year for the library sale, placing flags in the cemetery for Veterans Day and marching in the Memorial Day parade. Recent Eagle Scout projects have included clearing garbage from the Ballard Trail, building bridges on hiking trails in Lebanon and building a handicap ramp for the American Legion. Each year, the Norwich Scouts do a winter camp-out in snow caves they build themselves; last summer they completed a 50-mile canoe trip; and the summer before they went on a 50-mile backpacking adventure. These 11- to 18-year-old boys function beautifully as a multi-age group, supporting one other, taking turns leading and making us all proud.

To take positive action to counter the B.S.A.’s stand, the troop’s leaders and Scouts will host a pancake breakfast at the Norwich Grange this Saturday from 7 to 11 a.m. All proceeds will be donated to the Trevor Project, a national organization focused on crisis and suicide-prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. More information can be found at thetrevorproject.org . Please come join us if you can, and support our Scouts as they learn how they can take a stand from within an organization and work toward positive change.

Tom and Misty Porter

John and Eileen Olszewski

Norwich