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Using Cub Scouts in Political Campaign


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#1 417Scouter

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Posted 07 November 2016 - 10:42 PM

Is it against BSA policy for a candidate for political office to use his or her ties or position in scouting as a campaign talking point and can said person use images of him or her in scout uniform in print, TV, or internet advertising?
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#2 meyerc13

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 10:24 AM

Read here for answers:  http://blog.scouting...itical-rallies/

 

Images of uniforms for advertising are definitely out.

 

Mentioning Scouting experience... I would probably avoid it.  You can say something like "I volunteer as a youth leader with a national civic-minded youth organization", which gets the point across without bringing in the BSA brand.


Edited by meyerc13, 08 November 2016 - 10:29 AM.

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Yours in Scouting,

 

Chris Meyer

 

Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner 2015-Present

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Cubmaster 2013-2016

Father of a Boy Scout 2016-Present

 


#3 NJCubScouter

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 10:35 AM

There is nothing wrong with mentioning one's Boy Scouting experience (youth or adult) when running for political office.  People do it all the time.  I did it (when I was running for school board, I listed my adult leadership on my campaign literature under community service.)  I think the BSA would (legitimately) have a problem if one were to MISREPRESENT their Scouting experience.  But as long as one is "trustworthy" there is no problem.  I think this is true even if one goes beyond just a resume-type listing and discusses how their Scouting leadership has benefitted the community or their youth-Scouting experiences made them a better person, or whatever.
 
Photos of a person in uniform, in campaign literature, are a different story.  I actually thought it might be a grey area, but it's not.  This is from a council web site, http://www.bsaonsc.o...ventpolicy.html, but it looks official enough:
 

Uniformed unit members and leaders may participate in flag ceremonies at political events and may lead the Pledge of Allegiance; however, they should retire after the ceremony and not remain on the speakers’ platform or in a conspicuous location where television viewers could construe their presence as an endorsement or symbol of support. In addition, photos of candidates or Scouts in uniform or BSA marks and logos are not allowed in political campaign materials of any kind.
 
Interestingly, in my Googling on this subject, I found a discussion in this forum from a few years ago in which the wrong answer was given to the "photo" question.  Several people thought it would be ok if the candidate him/herself was in uniform in their own campaign literature.  Apparently that's not correct.

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#4 NJCubScouter

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 10:39 AM

Read here for answers:  http://blog.scouting...itical-rallies/

 

Images of uniforms for advertising are definitely out.

 

Mentioning Scouting experience... I would probably avoid it.  You can say something like "I volunteer as a youth leader with a national civic-minded youth organization", which gets the point across without bringing in the BSA brand.

 

Well, meyerc, my post sort of "crossed" with yours.  But I disagree with the idea that there is anything wrong with mentioning "Boy Scouts" as part of your experience.  As I said, I did it, I have seen others do it, and nobody has ever suggested it was wrong to do so. In this context, it's the same as the Elks Lodge or the American Legion or any other community organization.  You can tell people you are involved in it, and you can even elaborate on your experience.  It's only when the "marks and logos" (including the uniform) get involved that there is a problem.


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#5 417Scouter

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 10:53 AM

Much thanks to all for your insight and clarity.  With election season coming to a climax today, we can all surely attest to the TV being full of campaign ads these last couple months.  Lying in bed last night, an ad came across the TV for a gentleman running for a vacancy in the state house of representatives.  A couple of the pictures of this candidate show him wearing a BSA scout uniform referencing that he is a Cubmaster.  In one picture that is obvious, the candidate is wearing what appears to be a Webelos neckerchief.  Oddly enough, h's also wearing a Cub Scouts Den Leader patch where the world crest patch is supposed to be.  While this candidate is not running for an office in my own district so I don't have anything to gain or lose by his candidacy, I find it unethical to use scouting experience in this manner.  Furthermore, if you're going to wear the uniform, wear it properly.  As a self-admitted Cubmaster, I would think he'd already know patch placement on the uniform.   


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#6 qwazse

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 11:03 AM

@417Scouter, I honestly wouldn't take issue if he was doing something in uniform with a bunch of boys. But, this sure does sound a little "staged".

 

If it really bugs you, put in a call to the council headquaters and let your SE know. He/she will probably call the campaign. It amounts to a slap on the wrist. But, if they know their stunt was offended more than it helped, they may change strategy next time.

 

That is, until they're behind in the polls again. :(


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#7 NJCubScouter

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 11:31 AM

I suspect that if someone from council sees it or hears about it, the candidate may get a letter "reminding" them of the policy, but that's about it.


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#8 perdidochas

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 01:28 PM

 

There is nothing wrong with mentioning one's Boy Scouting experience (youth or adult) when running for political office.  People do it all the time.  I did it (when I was running for school board, I listed my adult leadership on my campaign literature under community service.)  I think the BSA would (legitimately) have a problem if one were to MISREPRESENT their Scouting experience.  But as long as one is "trustworthy" there is no problem.  I think this is true even if one goes beyond just a resume-type listing and discusses how their Scouting leadership has benefitted the community or their youth-Scouting experiences made them a better person, or whatever.
 
Photos of a person in uniform, in campaign literature, are a different story.  I actually thought it might be a grey area, but it's not.  This is from a council web site, http://www.bsaonsc.o...ventpolicy.html, but it looks official enough:
 
 
 
Interestingly, in my Googling on this subject, I found a discussion in this forum from a few years ago in which the wrong answer was given to the "photo" question.  Several people thought it would be ok if the candidate him/herself was in uniform in their own campaign literature.  Apparently that's not correct.

 

 

Probably a thread  I created. One of the local county commissioners (then a candidate) had a picture of himself in Webelos Den Leader uniform, and his boys in BSA/Webelos uniforms, in a flier. He didn't repeat that action in later fliers.


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#9 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 02:02 PM

Not a political ad, but a automotive park's ad. They used members of the owner's troop in an ad in uniform, even reciting part of the Law.  Commercial aired about 2-3 weeks max before being pulled.


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"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt


#10 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 12:25 PM

This (touchy) election cycle we had some scouts running around the meeting with campaign signs and generally provoking arguments. I was not sure if BSA had a policy on that...


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#11 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 09:05 AM

This (touchy) election cycle we had some scouts running around the meeting with campaign signs and generally provoking arguments. I was not sure if BSA had a policy on that...


I think it falls within the discretion of the unit leaders (adult and youth) to run and supervise the meeting. In our troop someone would have put a stop to that pretty quickly.
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#12 qwazse

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 09:26 AM

This (touchy) election cycle we had some scouts running around the meeting with campaign signs and generally provoking arguments. I was not sure if BSA had a policy on that...

The signs our scouts bought were too big to bring to a meeting.

(Okay. It was one scout. One sign. Single syllable. And he never tried to bring it to a meeting, just sneak it into random friends' yards for an evening.)

 

With venturers, politics are never off the table. But, usually I muzzle anyone's blind rage with things like "Watch the debate."/"Read their platforms. (And any invited articles to Foreign Policy or The Congressional Record they may have written)"/"Highlight what you like/dislike."

 

I then finish with ...

"Once you've done that, come back and talk."


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#13 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 11:02 AM

This (touchy) election cycle we had some scouts running around the meeting with campaign signs and generally provoking arguments. I was not sure if BSA had a policy on that...


I already made a comment on this, but I'll make another one. What the BSA has a "policy" on - or at least guidance, in the various handbooks and training - is that unit meetings should be run in an orderly manner and follow a planned program of activities, instruction, etc. In theory, once in awhile that could include discussion of "issues of the day", although we don't do that in our troop. But it doesn't sound like this particular meeting was run in the way suggested by the BSA. It sounds like a free-for-all. (And I don't mean to be so holier-than-thou, sometimes in my troop we do have some meetings that seem to degenerate into a free-for-all, which is when an adult needs to step in and remind the SPL that this is Boy Scout meeting, not a playground.)
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