Major plan to promote condoms at jamboree mistakenly tied to the acceptance of girl scouts[Ted Byfield Blog] America’s Boy Scout organization was hit by a public relations catastrophe last month that threatened the credibility, if not the sanity, of the whole historic Scout movement in the United States. It happened by the unfortunate timing of two events:
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First: On May 2, the Scouts formally announced they planned to accept girls into their organization and were changing its “Boy” Scout designation to something else. Sixteen days later the media disclosed that the Scouts had plans to distribute condoms to attendees at the huge 50,000-member Scout Jamboree in West Virginia next September. It will include boys and girls down to age eleven. The condom announcement was included with the publicity material for the event. It read:
‘The Host Organization must insure that condoms are readily and easily accessible for all participants and IST (International Service Team) at a number of locations on the site…When making this information available on site, consideration shall be given to the various cultures and beliefs present.”
The public might be forgiven for attributing the second announcement (on the condoms) to the first (on the participation of girls). While the Scouts hastened to dispel such a connection, people formed their own opinions. The Scouts had already announced, after much disputation, that they were going to allow openly gay and trans-gendered kids and openly gay Scoutmasters to join the movement. Now, implicitly anyway, they were declaring the Scouts were ready to accept non-marital sex, so long as it was done “safely.”
A Scout spokesman said that the media sources which linked the condom decision to the arrival of the Girl Scouts had seriously misinformed the public. Condoms had been made available at Scout jamborees back to turn of the century, he said. To which the critics replied that the condom distribution at past jamborees must have been done confidentially and discreetly without fanfare and attendant publicity. The public did not protest because they did not know it was going on. This year they did, and it made the jamboree look like another Woodstock. What must a father think when he discovers that his daughter’s presence and her friends at a Scout jamboree has occasioned an urgent program of condom distribution by the management. The disclosure that this has been going on at Scout Jamborees for years will scarcely ease his concerns.
This article continues at [Ted Byfield Blog] U.S. Scout decision to go co-ed leads to a public relations disaster