Brooklyn Dad Starts Alternative Scouts Troop
YEA for Brooklyn dad Todd Schweikert!
Schweikert, a 33-year-old Windsor Terrace
resident whose son goes to P.S. 154, researched several alternative
scouting options, including groups like Camp Fire. He settled on the
Baden-Powell Service Association to be the parent organization of his
troop. Like other traditional scouting groups, BPSA teaches “woodcraft,”
or how to survive outdoors. BPSA troops also use what’s called the
“patrol method” to divide scouts into teams that each have a leader
nominated by other scouts.
BPSA troops are open to both boys and
girls, and unlike the Boy Scouts of America, there is less talk of God
and religion in official scouting laws, Schweikert said. The troop
welcomes kids as young as 5 years old, who are known as Otters. At age
8, scouts graduate to Timberwolves.
His 7-year-old son is a charter member of the 5th Brooklyn Scouts,
which accepts boys, girls and all sexual orientations while believing
that prejudice is best snuffed out like an untended campfire.
“The tipping point was the BSA’s approach to gay scouts and the gay
and lesbian parents,” Schweikert wrote in an email to The Huffington
Post. “Any form of discrimination, no matter how small, is never ok and
not something I can endorse and wish to teach to my children.“
Schweikert told HuffPost that he has received a “great response from gay and lesbian parents, as well as straight.”
Schweikert’s troop, to be called the
Fifth Brooklyn Scouts, will meet weekly at the Brooklyn Society for
Ethical Culture on Prospect Park West. The location is well-positioned
for excursions to Prospect Park for “nature observation,” but scouts
will also embark on overnight camping trips and weekend hikes. The troop
will learn classic scouting skills like knot-tying and community
service projects, and they’ll earn badges after they accomplish specific