Beverly Hills Scout Dad Defends BSA


BH Mom is proud to feature Guest Blogger Joel Ordesky



I am a Boy Scout. A 35-year Boy Scouts of America (BSA) veteran and an Eagle Scout who holds the Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow honor society. Don’t hate me.


To be clear, the BSA’s published literature does not list heterosexuality as criteria for membership. I, along with my many of my fellow leaders, disagree with a policy that excludes anyone on the basis of sexual preference. Unfortunately, while the BSA does not ask about the sexual orientation of employees, leaders or youth, they have expressed a position against openly gay people.

Suffice it to say that even the US military has reversed itself on this policy.

Despite the BSA’s misguided policy, I defend against those who say scouting is bad, fosters intolerance and rewards bullies. The argument that states an organization which makes any unwise decisions must be abandoned makes no sense.

Do you claim you’ve never disagreed with your country’s decisions or policies?

Those who disagreed with the US military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy did not flee America, refuse to pay taxes or raise their children abroad to protect them from what many (myself included) consider to have been wrong. In most cases, it’s important to have multiple perspectives in any group or government.

The good of scouting far outweighs the current narrow-minded policy by the few and does not justify abandoning or damaging an organization that helps so many.

Doubt me?

Tell that to people who have been saved by rigorously trained scouts. The next time you’re choking on food or even suffering a heart attack, chances are the person who comes to your rescue is a scout.

It’s no accident that many great leaders learned to lead as part of their scouting experience.

There are gay scouts and leaders. I have worked with both.

Thankfully, many in our society are working toward overturning discriminatory policies. On the local level, several councils have adopted non-discrimination policies and national board member James S. Turley, global chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young, announced he dissented from the exclusion policy and hoped to “encourage dialogue and sustainable progress.”

Change must come from within an organization just as change has come from within our own country.


Scouting is not perfect; however, it stands out as a unique program that fosters a sense of responsibility for the boys like my son who are lucky enough to be in it.


Camp Emerald Bay




The scouting experience has positively touched far too many people for it to be shot down as just another extra-curricular activity that can be cut out of a kid’s life simply because, as an organization, we still struggle to resolve what it means to be morally straight.


Joel Ordesky, Beverly Hills Scout Dad

Scoutmaster, Beverly Hills Troop 33


Author Description

Cynthia Baseman

Cynthia Baseman is the author of 'Love, Mom: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Hope.' She writes about motherhood, the environment and education.

There are 7 comments. Add yours

  1. 28th August 2012 | Jean Huang says: Reply
    I dont know of a better program to teach our young men leadership and organizational skills. Sports and video gaming just don't cut it and while the BSA is sadly mis-guided in terms of some of its' stated policies, Scouts and scouting deserve a second look from parents and peers. Thank you Joel -- for everything you do.
    • 28th August 2012 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      I hope national doesn't diminish and tarnish all the hard work that the scouts do - especially those that aspire and attain Eagle rank.
  2. 24th July 2012 | Greg Kaplan says: Reply
    I am an Eagle Scout. I am the proud father of two Eagle Scouts. Those who participate at the local level in scouting recognize how scouting has helped children and young adults to learn to be responsible and confident leaders in the community. It is time for for a new word to be added to the Scout law, "TOLERANT"
  3. 24th July 2012 | Mgg says: Reply
    Joel Ordesky I thank you for all your time and efforts to encourage the youths of America.
  4. 24th July 2012 | Mgg says: Reply
    Scouting has been a great part of the Kapan family heritage. Larry Kaplan has always been a part of scouting for other children as well as his own. He felt that it gave young adults an ability to achieve wonderful goals in life and help the community. My son , Dr Gregory Kaplan and his two sons (Brent Ryan Kaplan and Garrett Kaplan are Eagle Scouts ). Soon to be will be my other grandson Harrison Wyatt Baseman on his way to achieve this goal. Thank you Joel Ordesky for all your devoted time to this wonderful endeavor and your contined help as a great guy. Always, Mamacita Gloria Kaplan
  5. 24th July 2012 | susan kolko says: Reply
    As a parent of 2 BH eagle scouts and another on the road - amen to that ! scouts provides boys with the tools to develop morals and values that help to develop true leadership, citizenship, and ethical behavior. What community would not foster a program that teaches boys to be 'trustworthy, loyal, helpful, courteous, friendly, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent'? ( the scout law ) Not once in my 12 years as a scout parent have I ever heard reference to exclusion of sexual orientation or gay people as part of the development of boy scout character.
  6. 24th July 2012 | rick stoff says: Reply
    I hope all the moms agree. Great. Thanks to those who help others.

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