I’M SO EXCITED.
I’m jumping up and down, looking for someone to hug.
It’s fundamentalist, progressive scouting.
Basically it’s back-to-basics and welcoming to everybody… totally Portland. (But as I also learned, totally American–the 55th Cascadia is part of a larger US scouting organization, the Baden-Powell Service Association, with the motto “Traditional Scouting for Everyone,” which in turn is part of the World Federation of Independent Scouts. I think that last one may be a cover for a global Jedi-training program.)
I was super psyched that 2013 would be the year that the Boy Scouts of America stopped discriminating against people based on sexual orientation. But here we are, halfway through the year, and gay scouts are allowed, but gay leaders are not.
And I’m thinking, You know who would make the best Boy Scout leaders ever? Baby Woww’s godmothers, our super good friends (and married partners) Marisa and Gretchen.
Exuberance? Organization? Camping skills? Practicality? Ability to save people during a flash flood? Extensive knowledge of campfire games?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and YES.
But according to the Boy Scouts they’re not good enough. Well that’s not going to work for our family.
We’re Christian. Like go-to-church-on-Sunday, pray-every-day kind of Christians. And for our family, God is LOVE. The Bible says some weird sh$t (as you find out when you read everything in there), but you know the message that The Book beats you over the head with?
Love. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. LOVE.
So here I was, in 2013, a Christian mother of two boys, having to write scouting off.
NOT ANY MORE!
The 55th Cascadia scouts welcome “everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion (or no-religion) or other differentiating factors.”
IT GETS BETTER!
They allow boys and girls, women and men to be scouts. I can be a scout, and so can you!
CAN IT KEEP GETTING BETTER?
Yes. Yes, it can.
Cascadia scouts have a back-to-the-fundamentals approach to scouting, as part of the Baden-Powell Service Association. That’s right, this is scouting that’s fundamentalist and socially progressive. (Read: more time surviving outdoors, less time earning badges like “technology” or “game design.”) Here’s what the 55th has to say:
“Scouting is an outdoor movement and that is part of its character. The appeal of true scouting has always been to that element of the vagabond, pioneer and explorer which is part of our nature, and is at its most evident in youth.”
There’s just no substitute for being outside. In Oregon, we go outside when it’s overcast, raining, misting, dewy… and occasionally sunny. Everyone owns a Subaru or a Prius, and most have racks on the top to hold whatever gear you love most–bikes, kayaks, skis, canoes….
There’s only one problem with the 55th Cascadia scouts.
There are no troops on the West Side. So here’s your call to action readers: Pack your camping gear, and start up a troop over here west of the Willamette. I want to do it within the next three years, but until then, it’s up to you.
Let’s get this campfire started!
Post Update: This just in from the Baden-Powell Service Association…
“It should be noted in your article that “Cascadia Scouts” is actually the 55th Cascadia scout group of the Baden-Powell Service Association, so it’s actually part of a much larger “Traditional Scouting” association and not completely independent nor Portland based. In fact, the BPSA is part of a worldwide Traditional Scouting organization called the World Federation of Independent Scouts (WFIS).”
What does this mean? You can be part of this awesome scouting movement wherever you live in the U.S. Thank you, B-PSA, for writing in and letting me know! Sorry for my previous confusion.
For those who don’t know “Cascadia” is the term that affectionately refers to the Northwest Kingdom (Oregon, Washington, Vancouver BC). Cascadia has a flag and other patriotic swag–go to a Timbers game to see for yourself.
All photos courtesy of and trademarked by the 55th Cascadia scouts.