It’s Memorial Day weekend and I spent the drizzly, grey morning on a hike in the woods of Western Massachusetts with my twin 5-year old boys. We found a bright orange salamander slinking across the trail and threw moss-covered sticks into the rushing brook, watching them race downstream and over the cascades. We explored the forlorn stone chimney that is all that remains of a cabin that once stood on an island in the middle of the river, a site now marked with a ring of rocks surrounding damp charcoaled logs of a campfire. It was a perfect outdoor day with my kids. We live in Brooklyn, New York, but I try to take them into the woods at every opportunity; to give them the chance to climb rocks, pick up spiders, identify wildflowers, and just be, away from the cars and buildings and rush of the city.
I’m a stay-at-home dad, so it’s usually just me and the kids hiking, and I often find myself wishing there was an easy way to connect with other dads that love to hike and camp and pick around in the leaf litter looking for bugs. It’s in those moments that my thoughts turn to the Boy Scouts of America, thinking about what a wonderful organization it is for promoting outdoor competency in youth as well as providing a framework for adults to guide and mentor children. Or, rather, what a wonderful organization it could be, for my family isn’t welcome, even after this week’s historic vote to allow openly gay youth to join the Scouts.
Read more of Erik Botsford’s story here.