On MY Honor…
“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty,
brave, clean, and reverent.”
Those were the words to the Boy Scout Law that I had to learn when I first joined the Scouts when I was 8 years old. Like most new Scouts, I was excited about matriculating through the ranks all the way to Eagle Scout; earning merit badges, awards, and friends along the way. Ultimately, like most kids my age, after my parents had spent hundreds of dollars on uniforms, manuals, and camping gear, and other gadgets, I lost my interest in the Scouts. There are the special few however that finds it within themselves to give selflessly to others, do service to their communities, and develop personal character. One such person is Ryan Andresen.
Ryan – a senior in high school and honor student - joined the Boy Scouts when he was just six years old. After 12 years, Ryan has just recently completed the requirements to earning his Eagle Scout award. He completed all of the lower rank Scout requirements, has the prerequisite number of merit badges, and successfully completed a final project. Ryan will not be receiving his Eagle Scout Award, however. You see, in July of this year at age 17, Ryan made a bold decision – he came out to his family and friends.
But when Scout leadership in Troop 212 (local San Francisco Bay) found out that Ryan was gay, the Scoutmaster said he refused to sign the official paperwork designating Ryan as an Eagle Scout - even though Ryan had completed all of the requirements. When the news went public, the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement “that because of Andresen's sexual orientation and that he did not agree to Scouting’s principle of ‘Duty to God,’ ‘he is no longer eligible for membership in Scouting.’”
I do not know Ryan… but I could have been Ryan – if I had the same level of commitment and personal resolve that he did at such a young age. And like Ryan, I joined the Scouts at an early age because I perceived them to be a worthwhile organization that would teach me life lessons, bring me brotherhood and a sense of belonging, and lifelong memories of fun and adventure. And after 12 years of dedication, Ryan’s reward was a hard lesson: the Boy Scouts of America cared more about his sexual orientation than his personal character.
Will you please sign my petition and ask the Boy Scouts of America to judge Ryan Andresen based on the merits of his work and service to his community and not for simply being different?
Oh – and Ryan’s final project?? A tolerance wall against bullying – comprised of 288 different tiles of acts of kindness…
Do Ryan a kindness, and sign our petition.