The article in today’s A.M. Costa Rica about the new postage stamps honoring Scouts and Guides in Costa Rica piqued my curiosity about how scouting in Costa Rica compares to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the Girl Scouts of America (GSA). In the U.S. these two different, private organizations have radically differing policies regarding inclusion and discrimination, regarding membership (children) and leadership (adults.)
The Girl Scouts is open to all girls, regardless of race, religion, disability and sexual orientation and other categories. The Boy Scouts, however, excludes anyone who is homosexual, a non-theist (including Unitarian Universalists) and has recently begun to discriminate against boys with certain disabilities.
I don’t know what the “Asociación de Guías y Scouts de Costa Rica” policies are on these matters, but if their oath is any indication (as found on the following Web page,translated into English, they discriminate against non-theists, at least.
Scouting should promote good civic behavior, service to others, integrity, camaraderie, and be a place of support for young people. One’s religious beliefs or lack thereof should not be an obstacle to full and equal participation in scouting. Therefore while the image of scouting as depicted on the stamps shows a happy cozy campfire scene, people should know that behind the scenes unfortunately often lies a deeply, and unfairly discriminatory organization.
Dominical, Costa Rica