Walt Disney cuts funding to the Central Florida Council of Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in a stand against LGBT discrimination. It seems like adults in support of kids having fun and gaining leadership development skills would go hand in hand. Not so all of the time. especially when those in charge cannot agree. BSA has been in news headlines the last few years standing firm that they will not allow out gay scout leaders.
This is a sad stance as life lessons are needed on a daily basis. The decision does not sit well with Walt Disney. The organization provided funding to BSA through the “Ears to You” program. A program that lends support to organizations where Disney workers volunteer.
BSA’s discriminatory policy stops the youth organization from receiving the beneficiary funding that would help fund BSA programs.
Zach Wahls, Co-Founder of Scouts for Equality says, “Disney made the right decision,” although his organization never likes to see scouting suffer. He supports Walt Disney World in the decision to pull funding. Wahls says his organization will continue to fight for equality in hopes that BSA will implement a “fully inclusive” policy so that the organization is eligible for corporate support that lends to the growth and maintenance of BSA.
Boy Scouts of America sent out a letter stating that leadership tried working with Walt Disney World, but because they were not able to reach an agreement the result is funding cuts over LGBT discrimination.
This is larger than a playground fight, and a line drawn in the sand. The lack of intolerance on behalf of BSA is going to impact kids. Kids are the losers in this scenario. As more businesses and corporations look to help organizations that support kids and make human justice and equality a mainstay, organizations that do not fall in line and maintain discriminatory policies will hurt kids involvement in the long run.
Most non-profits run with a well oiled volunteer wheel. Many volunteers bring not only talent and skills which help teach kids the fundamentals of leadership, conflict resolution, and the art of sharing they also help with teaching critical thinking skills. Some kids have parents that will openly dialogue with youth about what is happening in BSA and kids will talk with one another.
The truth behind what is happening will make it down to the kids and it will be create a space for needed dialogue especially among older members.
Instead of reacting as if nothing could be done to change the situation, BSA leadership should really think about how the decision will impact kids being served, and how whether being part of a discriminatory organization is something older members who stand to become future scout leaders will take things. Without amending the policy funding, future leaders, and the ability to reach as many boys as possible, may all be affected negatively. For now it is clear that neither side is budging and the Boy Scouts loses as Walt Disney cuts funding, over LGBT discrimination.
By C. Imani Williams