Scouts camp in Hutchinson as BSA considers allowing gays

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HUTCHINSON, Kansas — More than 5,000 scouts gathered at the Kansas State Fairgrounds this weekend to celebrate Encampment.

“Encampment happens every five years, and basically its a jamboree of sorts,” said Kent Blankiship, Encampment chairman.

The event brought out Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Varsity Teams, Venturers and all their leaders  together for a weekend packed with more than 80 activities like music, survival skills and archery.

Scouts camped out Friday and Saturday night, and also bonded with one another.

“Cub Scouts has made me new friends, and so far that’s worked out for me. I’ve got a bunch of friends in Pack 519,” said Cub Scout Raymond Weissman.

As Encampment was underway this weekend, so was a new policy presented to the Boy Scouts of America. The proposed policy is trying to lift the longstanding ban on openly gay scouts, but continues to ban gay adults as leaders.

“I don’t see a problem if they let the youth or adults in. I don’t see the big deal about it,” said James Denning, Eagle Scout.

“It’s good for the organization to step back and look at how the world is changing and look at the views of how things are today. I mean things aren’t the same as they used to be, ” said Krisi Holliday, a Cub Scout parent.

Despite the divide the new policy may cause if passed, scouts united this weekend to celebrate the organization.

The final vote will be made by the Scouts National Council in May, during a meeting in Texas.


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