Back to scouting basics?
The name is a grabber: “Confederate Scouts of America.”
It appears on a leaflet being handed out around town and posted in convenience store windows to recruit followers for an alternative to the Boy Scouts of America.
The leaflet reads, “Why: To form a new scouting organization ‘back to basics’, with pride, honor, respect, and discipline. … All are welcome even B.S.A.”
Gary Hatfield, who is heading the effort, says he wants to form a group that reflects traditional scouting.
“We’re a new group, and what it is, is we’ve broken away from the Boy Scouts of America and have gone back to the basics of scouting.”
He says the group was previously a Scout troop that met at the Elks Club. Hatfield is not concerned that the use of the term “Confederate” might be inflammatory.
“I mean, whatever happened 150 years ago is no problem of mine, you know, whether it was the act of slavery or whoever broke away from who.”
He says the term also refers to the Iroquois Confederacy.
“The only thing is, we’re going with grey uniforms. … And we’ve gone back to the 1959 version of the [BSA] handbook.”
Justin Thompson, who is also involved in the project, says that there are Confederate Scouts chapters “within Texas, Alabama, Georgia, all the original Southern states.”
“We’ve had a lot of trouble with the Boy Scouts of America. We were Troop 974 but … they dropped our troop,” Thompson says.
Local BSA Executive Director Jeff Hunt says he has no record of a Troop 974. He was not anxious to be identified with a Confederate Scouts: “We wouldn’t sanction anything like that.”
The group is scheduled to hold its first meeting Friday at 7 p.m. in the lobby at the Rodeway Inn at 2050 Market St.