The Boy Scouts Suck

SurviveLA did not get a wink of sleep last night while staying in the Joshua Tree National Park campground due to a bunch of Boy Scout dads who stayed up talking and laughing until 2:30 am in spite of the presence of dozens of other nearby campers. Thanks Boy Scout dads for setting a nice example for your kids, some of whom also stayed up until 2:30 engaged in a loud multi-player game boy tournament while others chased desert mice, and a special thanks to the Scout who accidentally kicked out the supports of our tent at midnight causing it to collapse upon us.

While we applaud the dads for getting the kids out in the wilderness for the weekend, we at SurviveLA just can’t get behind the vile and outdated Boy Scouts, whose ongoing attempts at being more relevant backfire so pitiably and whose founder, Robert Baden-Powell, was an anti-semitic, fascist, pedophile.

If we had kids around the SurviveLA compound, in keeping with our self-sufficiency goals, we’d form our own SuriviveLA Scout troop. Here’s how the SurviveLA Scouts would differ from the Boys Scouts:

1. SurviveLA Scouts are coed. Men and women have gotta learn to work together and you might as well start early. As Barbara Ehrenreich once said, “Men alone in groups are bad company”. It’s also no fair that the girls have got to whore themselves selling cookies.

2. Let’s teach our kids to make the world a better place without the Norman Rockwell fascist veneer.

3. Hipper uniforms. We suggest something like this.

4. An urban cycling merit badge.

5. All activities are outdoors. Lots of nature experiences. No computer merit badges and certainly no copyright merit badges.

6. Lastly, the SurviveLA Scout mission statement, borrowed from Edward Abbey:

One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast… a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.

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  1. Merit Badges recognizing achievements in “Idleness” and “Mediocrity” are certainly in order.

    So often we miss opportunities to nap, wander aimlessly, get lost, forget the rules, let our minds go free, make mistakes and just aim low.

    Celebrate randomness, guess more often and embrace the unexpected!

  2. The Boy Scouts blackballed me for testifying against my former scoutmaster after he tried UNSUCCESSFULLY to molest me! This scoutmaster trumped up garbage about me, and the Central Florida Council bought it! Then my former scoutmaster got caught after he had me kicked out and had my records removed, I testified against him, and the Central Florida Council swept it under the rug and me with it because I wasn’t “LOYAL!” I was expected to let them handle it. If I hadn’t spoken up my former scoutmaster would still be molesting kids today! Eventually he was caught and, rather than go to jail, committed suicide.

    • The Boy Scouts will get what they deserve multiplied. They will become the laughing stock in America.

  3. I’m a Boy Scout and proud of it. People like the ones you camped next to give boy scouts a bad name. We’re not all like that, honest. Just the candy ass wimps who car camp with their parents 3 feet away at all times. Those guys bug me too. Trust me when I say people like that are not representative of the majority of Boy Scouts.

  4. I’ve actually considered updating or deleting this rant. A few months after writing it I camped next to a great bunch of great boy scouts who were backpacking. I suppose it’s all about who the scoutmaster is. Still, I suspect the organization could use some rethinking.

  5. Boy Scouts is stupid and obsolete. We’ve got so much fucking technology at our disposal! Who needs to learn how to fucking camp, use a compass, or do special tricks with pocket knives? And what’s with that badget nonsense? Is that supposed to be an incentive? “Oh, look, I got a bunch of badges for learning certain skills!” Does anyone CARE if you got badges besides you and the scout leader?

    Are you that insecure that you need a fucking fabric piece on your dumbass-looking uniform? Scouts needs to fucking seriously update the uniform. That beige bullshit has got to go. It looks retarded. And wearing a bandana around your neck just makes you look fruity. Just sayin

    • u know, boy scouts teaches you how to save peoples lives. could you have saved a man who broke his face and had a heart attack from dying? no you probably couldn’t because you are too much of a fucking stereotype to learn it. But you know who could and did? BSA. Although i wish the uniforms were a bit better, i still think it forms a good bond between father and son and teaches you important skills. so everyone stop being a bunch of fucking assholes and use that thing in your head called the brain

    • Midwestern Avenger believe it or not it is stupid and obsolete people like you who make America a laughing stock. Boy Scouts gives young men, including myself, so much more than “a fucking fabric piece on your dumbass-looking uniform”. And for your information when I was seventeen and applying for my first job, somehow the topic of me being a Boy Scout came up and my late boss told me that that was the only reason I got the job over someone else. Boy Scouts has taught me many more leadership and corporation skills, values, knowledge, skills and life lessons than you have ever learned in your fruitless life. As President George Bush Sr. said “Scouting has always reflected the expectations of the American family” so now I recommend you go ready the Scout Oath and the Scout Law and remind yourself that those who were taught to follow it are automatically going to rise to higher places, both physically, mentally, and in the professional world than you ever will. And plus when you talk about how the survival, first aid, and other practical skills taught by the BSA are useless remember when that plain your are taking to go visit your parents or anybody crashes and you and a Boy Scout are the only survivors, he wont have the heart or the will to kill you, but he defiantly wont have to save you.

    • I’m an Eagle Scout and I just have to say this…you said we have so much tech at our disposal…well we do I’ll give you that but what happens if that tech stops working. And the badge system is to keep track of your progress and it looks impressive. And the neckerchief is to show what troop you are from. And let’s not forget that when you become eagle you have a new scolership available…or if you go into the armed forces you will have a better chance at getting a promotion. And also when you go for a job having Eagle Scout on your application makes it easer to get that job. And I take great afence to your post.

  6. Guys/Gals, I have two young boys who were cubscouts and I was a leader for almost 5 years with them. My recollection of this was
    1) a lot of fun with my boys and some friends making weird stuff.
    2) Douchey parents who dont watch their kids letting them run rampant at campouts while the few leaders were run half to death.
    3) Parents who were condescending to the leaders saying it was “our job” to watch them.
    4) Parents who did the projects for the kids so they could “WIN” the scout badges. (wasnt the purpose to make better men, not teach them how to be politicians?)
    5) Parents who were baffled that you dared to tell them their kids didnt behave correctly.

    As you can see, I had a lot more negative than positives. I wouldnt trade the time I spent with my boys, but as my younger son put it-“Dad, why should I go out with them when you do this stuff with us at the house anyway?”. I truly think parents stuff their kids in things like this to make them “win” without any thought to the fact that their own kids are watching the parents, and if the folks are idiots you can put them in anything and get douchey kids.

    • You are so right. My mom was my den leader for years. She did the best activities and it was so much fun. But she would have and did do those things at home with me anyway. I remember thinking I just have to share my mom every Monday. She was so busy helping everyone else, she couldn’t help me. It was frustrating, but she was excited to help and be there for me.Then when we crossed over to Boy Scouts she was not allowed to move up and become an Assistant Scoutmaster because she was a woman and it would make the boys uncomfortable. I felt so bad for her. She had been so excited to camp and did so much to get all the boys there and that is how the organization repaid her.

  7. My son and I are taking what we like from scouting (learning valuable life skills) and leaving out the part where we have to pay to be part of a bigoted, nationalistic, Christian-centric organization like the BSA. Check out our blog, “We Scout Alone,” at

  8. I was a boy scout only briefly, and it wasn’t worth it. Aside from the fact that I never stepped foot on a campground and had no intention of ever doing so, I found a lot of hypocrisy. Remember the part of the Scout Law™ that said that a Scout was kind? I had a scout leader grab my tie demanding to know where I was after a long absence. That’s all it took to convince me to quit. That and one of my former troopmates went on bully me in high school. Morally straight my ass! Fuck them!

  9. i fucking hate boy scouts im just doing it for eagle cuz it looks good for college and jobs

  10. right on, BSA is a bunch of bigots and racist are part of scouting… i will try to keep my son in for the eagle for the resume but that’s it.. its our first year as tiger and its been very disappointing every step of the way.

    What’s Robert “Bob” Mazzuca’s email so we can flood his inbox with what his organization is really about?

    • If you hate it so much why dont you step up and take the position of scout master and turn the troop back into what it is supposed to be. And if there is nothing I hate more than hearing someone say that they are only doing it for the “resume and jobs” if so you are missing the whole intent to scouting and at that point you wont even have the abilities, skills, and/or capabilities that the employer would be looking for in a boy scout. so do the BSA a favor and pull you and your son out of such a fine organization before you start to damage the experience for other boys.

  11. FYI … employers and publicly funded colleges CANNOT consider BSA in any part of the decision making process, because BSA is considered a religious and discriminatory organization.

    Personally, I’ve never seen a resume with BSA on it…so it must not be that big of a deal.

  12. No one wanted to be an Eagle Scout more than I did. Unfortunately I was extremely shy and it was difficult to ask repeatedly for signatures that the scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster did not want to provide. Scoutmasters that are Eagle Scouts were the worst because if someone else makes it to Eagle, their Eagle Scout badge is worth a little less. These people loath signing anything off and will never sign anything on the first time asked or demonstrated.

    • So true! I had two Scoutmasters during my trek to Eagle. The first earned Eagle himself in only 2 1/2 years (though he was 16), something he never forgets to mention . The second was a 13 year old Eagle who dropped out shortly thereafter. They both insisted that I slow down and enjoy the program since I was headed for Eagle “Too early” and “Too Young”. I beat both of my Scoutmasters. I earned Eagle in 2 years and 5 months, even with all of his feet dragging and hold ups and I stayed in Scouting to earn the Silver palm. Neither of these men ever showed any consideration for what I wanted and never respected my path. My mother stood up for me and fought for me to follow my path. Without her they would have discouraged me until I quit. But I did not quit. Instead I earned Eagle,my Palms and 100 merit badges. Boy Scouts did not do this for or with me, my family did.

  13. You know, I’d like to start my OWN organization. But aside from that line of thought, here are the pros and cons of Boy Scouts (and BELIEVE me, it TOTALLY depends on your scoutmaster, troop, and parents, no organization can totally “control” human behavior, etc.):
    1.) You learn LOTS of stuff in Scouting, things that are valuable to know, esp. when technology isn’t working, or when someone is hurt, etc. At least, that is the general idea, so long as you actually LEARN the stuff, rather than “going through the motions…”.
    2.) You reflect on principles that build character, OUTSIDE of church.
    3.) You gain good friends (hopefully), and have time/places/activities to help strengthen those friendships, etc.
    4.) You go camping a lot, get out in the woods, etc.

    1.) Many scout troops are not all THAT great. If you have a choice, CHOOSE WISELY which scout troop you want to join. Some scout troops are kind of like Nazis… Others are more like Beavis and Butthead… Then again, others are considerate and welcoming, “nicer”, etc. All kinds of boys, all kinds of adults. Putting on the uniform doesn’t change a boy’s OR a scout leader’s character.
    2.) Scouting tends to lose much of its appeal after age 13 or so… Yes, its a bit “geeky” and probably a bit “dated”, but there is so MUCH about it (Scouting) that requires determination, toughness, even courage, “manly” kinds of things… I mean, c’mon, Wilderness Survival??? If a boy can get through most of the merit badges, etc. by the time he is 14, getting an eagle shouldn’t be THAT tough. Scouting is a good mix of geekiness/braininess, outdoorsiness, patriotism and athleticism.
    3.) Bullies are everywhere, as are racist people. Even in most of the best organizations. Just a fact of life. The Scouting program has some bad apples, OF COURSE.

    (I’m an eagle scout, by the way.)

    • Ben,

      This is really well written and well-reasoned. Thank you. It’s a fair response to a rather inflammatory, off-hand post that my husband wrote while sleep deprived–a post that sometimes I consider taking down, but then leave up because I’m also seriously irked by the homophobia of the Scouts, which we didn’t even know about in 2006.

      Anyway, good job on the response. I think you should start your own organization! There is a fascinating history of scouting off-shoots and alternatives. I wish a strong alternative would take hold, because I entirely agree with you that time in the wilderness builds both spirit and character.

      When you start your own organization, I hope you make it co-ed. I was a Girl Scout and I was envious of the Boy Scouts. My male friends got to do amazing stuff–real stuff with knots and knives–and we did macrame and charity outings and had to push those damned cookies. I quit pretty early.

  14. Everything that i’ve read is saying that scouting is just a piece of crap. Sure there are moments when i think boy scouting is dumb, but really it teaches amazing things like treating a person who had a heart attack, someone who just accidently cut their hand off. I recentley got an award for helping someone who had gotten their face smashed on a rock. Later he got 24 screws and three plates in his face.

    • I hope that you realize that you did not need scouting to deal with your friend in need. All you needed was confidence to try. The only thing BSA gave you was some new bling for your uniform. Boy Scouts takes credit for everything the boys do.

  15. Boy Scouts are pretty good just some troops are different and don’t manage the boys at all so it just depends.I was a Boy Scout myself so got ’em proof right dere.

  16. im a boy scout right now. IT SUCKS. Most of the camp outs are fun but we only have them like once a year…
    every monday we have to got to a stupid meeting and learn how to tie knots that were never gonna use.
    My mom wont let me quit because she wants me to become an eagle scout so that i have “More chances in life”.
    And most of the time they just make us walk around and pick up trash to “help the comunity” DO NOT JOIN BOYS SCOUTS

  17. Oh hell I understand this, I hate backpacking with scouts… I never was one nor had any urge to be one but damn they will drive you up the wall camping.

  18. Boy Scouts is outdated and its attempts to modernize kill what good there was in Scouting. All the new merit badges are computer crap. There is not conservation or environmental concern at the troop levels. They waste money, resources, time and energy.Most Eagle projects are proof of that. Ask an Eagle Scout how many hours they put into their project, and then ask how many were actually used in labor for the project. The Eagle project is a lesson in red tape, nepotism and unfairness. Younger boys who have drive and determination will be overlooked for 17 plus year old who will have their hands held and projects delivered to them. I do think that there are good people in Scouting, but they were good people before scouting and they will be good people after scouting. Scouting doesn’t create good men, but a few good men have chosen to be scouts.

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