© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Local officials respond to new Boy Scout directive

The top local leader of the Boy Scouts says he doesn't see any immediate problems in the wake of the national board lifting a ban on openly gay leaders in the troops.

In an attempt to calm local churches which run many scout troops, those churches can still refuse to hire gay leaders.

Local Scout Executive Russell Etzenhouser says the quest is for good mentors.

"We're looking for adults that can be good mentors and good representatives to help that young man grow in to be that leader that we need in our community," Etzenhouser said.

"I think that's really our overriding responsibility and that particular organization can select that leadership based on what their beliefs are."

Of the 300 troops in Erie County and the Western half of Niagara County with 8,000 scouts, Etzenhouser says around 70 percent are run by churches. The Mormon Church is threatening to leave scouting completely and the church runs 17 percent of the troops nationally.

Rep. Chris Collins sits on the local Scout board and says leaving the decision local is a good idea. Around the country, scouting faced numerous discrimination lawsuits over the ban on gay leaders.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.