Brooklyn Dad Starts Scouting Troop That Welcomes Girls, Gays


Screw the discriminatory Boy Scouts. Brooklyn dad Todd Schweikert is reinventing them, DNA Info reports:

Schweikert, a 33-year-old Windsor Terrace resident whose son goes to P.S. 154, researched several alternative scouting options, including groups like Camp Fire. He settled on the Baden-Powell Service Association to be the parent organization of his troop. Like other traditional scouting groups, BPSA teaches "woodcraft," or how to survive outdoors. BPSA troops also use what's called the "patrol method" to divide scouts into teams that each have a leader nominated by other scouts.

BPSA troops are open to both boys and girls, and unlike the Boy Scouts of America, there is less talk of God and religion in official scouting laws, Schweikert said. The troop welcomes kids as young as 5 years old, who are known as Otters. At age 8, scouts graduate to Timberwolves.

Schweikert's troop, to be called the Fifth Brooklyn Scouts, will meet weekly at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture on Prospect Park West. The location is well-positioned for excursions to Prospect Park for "nature observation," but scouts will also embark on overnight camping trips and weekend hikes. The troop will learn classic scouting skills like knot-tying and community service projects, and they'll earn badges after they accomplish specific goals.

Schweikert says more than 40 kids have expressed interest.


  1. Wavin' Dave says

    Send us a link so we can send them some funds – the neighborhood I was born and raised in REPRESENTS! I’m very proud of their sense of the big picture: kids are kids and they deserve their big tent.

  2. Rod Roddy lookalike says

    Yay indeed! My first thought when I heard about so many Eagle Scouts returning the medals and badges, in addition to/because of BSA’s ban on gay Scouts, is for current scouts and parents to leave the BSA, and make an alternative to the BSA, and leave them “in the dust,” as the old saying goes. If enough people ACTED on their convictions, and there were only a few dozen BSAs left, maybe then the organization would hear us. More unfortunately still, by then it would probably be “too late,” and the BSA would wither and die for lack of numbers. Come to think of it, the Republican party could benefit from the same lesson!

  3. bandanajack says

    shoot me for being a copy editor (amateur). i think the expression you were going for was “in the dustbin of history”. if it wasn’t, well, it is a bit more sweeping.

  4. Dave says

    There are several alternatives to BSA. I doubt that BPSA will catch on, because boys do not want to scout with girls. They should follow the example of the Girl Scouts and continue to keep girls and boys separate, but have no religious or sexual orientation discrimination.

  5. Michael says

    This is a fantastic idea!

    But, I have one caveat.

    I hope this organization uses the more recent safety rules of the BSA such as scouts always in pairs and adults never alone with a scout. We wouldn’t want the past sexual scandals of BSA to repeat in this new organization.

  6. gregory brown says

    Good luck, but I suspect most folks would go with some other alternative. Ethical Culture has even less panache that Unitarians. Nonetheless, I’m happy to see some positive, constructive and inclusive actions at the grassroots (even if the grass is exotic).

  7. Randal Oulton says

    He could also just have his band join the Canadian Scouts !!!!

    (not entirely sure about the revolutionary politics there as I think the only reason American scouts exist separately is to avoid the queen. but anyway!!!!)

  8. junny says

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  9. BZ says

    A constructive step would be to get the US Congress to strip the charter it granted to the BSA in 1916 that grants the BSA exclusive use of the term “Scouts”, “Boy Scout”, “Scouting” or any variation thereof. You see, in the early days of scouting there were multiple rival organizations all vying to be the American version of Scouting. The American Boy Scouts was started by publisher William Randolph Hearst as a more military alternative to the Boy Scouts of America, which had been championed by Hearst’s publishing rival William D. Boyce (for example, the ABS actually drilled with rifles.) After a few years of rivalry the US Congress got into the act and gave the BSA exclusive title to represent Scouting in the USA.

    This is a situation similar in some respects to the Olympics, and why the Gay Games aren’t called the Gay Olympics. The International Olympics Committee, which had granted permission to use “Olympic” to numerous organizations (e.g. the Special Olympics, the Nebraska Rat Olympics, the Police Olympics) took exception to founder Dr. Tom Waddell’s use of the term in conjunction with the word “Gay” and successfully sued him in court. (The attorney for the IOC was none other than Judge Walker, of the Perry vs. Schwartznegger Prop 8 trial.) Waddell, who was dying of AIDS at the time, lost his home as a result of the lawsuit.

    So any new Scouting group should be aware that just because the Girl Scouts etc. are using the term “Scouts” doesn’t mean the BSA is powerless to come after them, legally, if they start to be successful. And the fact remains that the US Congress has granted the BSA – an avowedly religious group – special legal privileges in the United States.

  10. ratbastard says

    There’s a reason for having the boy scouts and girls scouts. There’s good reason for having separate organizations for either gender at that age. I even go as far as to think all boys and all girls schools at least until H.S. are a good idea, as is a dress code, even school uniform. Yes, I know MANY on TR will disagree with this.

  11. DL Ledbetter says

    No matter how yousliceit gay is Homosexual, its Not an alternative life style it is pla wrong. even nature teaches that. Its the Homosexual movementin this country that is destroying us. Man sleeping with man, woman sleeping with woman. Ifit feels good do it. ITS WRONG, ITS HOMOSEXUAL.

  12. EE says

    I am Gay and I am a Scout Leader. Most of the parents do not give a rat’s ass. But, I am sure there are that do. As such, I am out to some families and not to others. I am willing to fight from within – as change can only come from within.

    With more and more rights being recognized in the US, there is an increasing chance that one day soon change will come – either by choice or force. Many top donors are already holding back $millions in funds. More will soon. As DADT fell, and marraige equality is becoming a reality, there will be fairness introduced in Scouting. It will be those that explicitly want to discriminate that will try to start “thier” flavor of Scouting. And, it will be small – as more and more everyday Americans come to the understanding that there is nothing wrong with gay Scouts and Scout Leaders.

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