This spring, the National Geographic Channel is set to debut a new reality competition series entitled “Are You Tougher Than A Boy Scout?”. It will pit a team of young Eagle Scouts against a team of adult former Boy Scouts in a variety of skills challenges. It promises to be an adventure-packed show, and, we hope, a positive message for Scouting.
Unfortunately, certain groups that take exception to BSA’s policy of refusing membership to LGBT adults are attempting to use this new show to air their grievances. GLAAD has asked NatGeo to place a disclaimer on the show distancing itself from BSA’s stance. Change.org is circulating a petition that allows potential viewers to request much the same thing.
This week, National Geographic Channel released a statement that says in part:
“We certainly appreciate all points of view on the topic, but when people see our show, they will realize it has nothing to do with this debate [over the Boy Scouts’ LGBT policy], and is in fact a competition series between individual scouts and civilians.”
Although American Heritage Girls isn’t part of either the show or the debate, it is easy for those of us involved in AHG to see the parallels. The relationship between AHG and BSA is a close one, formalized by the signing of a Memorandum of Mutual Support in June 2009. We can all applaud NatGeo’s refusal to cater to those who would use the show to further their own point of view, and pray that the show would be a shining example of the benefits of Scouting for young people everywhere.