Tuesday, January 25, 2005

So, if the Boy Scouts didn't hate gays, maybe they wouldn't have to pad their membership rolls? 

In the deepest of deep red states, too: Alabama. What will we tell the children?

Boy Scout volunteer Tom Willis knew something was wrong when he saw that 20 youngsters on the list for a scouting program all had the same last name: Doe.

And "Cervenka" for the Girl Scouts?

Willis said it appeared someone was listing fake members to boost enrollment, perhaps to bring in more funding from agencies like the United Way or to make paid Boy Scout recruiters look better.

Well, I'm sure they had "faith" that the rolls would actually grow to be in reality (heh) what they said they were...

"It was just so blatant. They didn't even try to make up names," said Willis, a dentist from Decatur and a former Eagle Scout who serves on the board of the Greater Alabama Boy Scout Council, which runs scouting programs in northeastern Alabama.

"I would say the numbers are probably inflated 30 to 40 percent in our council," Willis said.

The Greater Alabama Council has a strong reputation nationally. In 2002, it received an award for a program that used fishing to bring in new members. The council claimed 10,000 new Scouts that year, and tax forms show it had revenue of $6.5 million, including $100,709 in government grants. In a United Way funding application, the group said it served almost 120,000 youths and adults in 2003.

Yet longtime scout volunteer Larry Cox said he got used to seeing paperwork from council headquarters in Birmingham that listed the names of youngsters who had dropped out of scouting or had never been part of the organization.

The problem, Cox said, is with a few people at the council office, not the volunteers who lead activities such as camping trips and Pinewood Derby car races.

"They always said it was because our paperwork had problems, but we knew it wasn't," Cox said. "It seemed to be very broad."

Cox said the idea that someone would overstate membership goes against what the Boy Scouts are supposed to stand for: "Being trustworthy and having integrity is one of the prime points of the Scouting oath."
(via AP)

Yes. Kinda like the oath of office, or the oath you take when you join the Texas Air National Guard...

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