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May 24, 2013

After nat'l vote, some SC scouting officials worry about battle ahead

The Pee Dee Area Council for the Boy Scouts of America voted overwhelmingly in favor of no change to the organization's policy, and its Scout executive said there's concern now that Thursday's decision will impact area fundraising and membership.

The Pee Dee Area Council for the Boy Scouts of America voted overwhelmingly in favor of no change to the organization's policy, and its Scout executive said there's concern now that Thursday's decision will impact area fundraising and membership.

That was the message from Scout executive Barry McDonald after the Boy Scouts approved a plan Thursday to accept openly gay boys into the program.

McDonald said town hall meetings with chartered partners, Scouting families and others in the Pee Dee Area Council, which includes Horry County, were held in advance of Thursday's vote in Dallas .

The overwhelming sentiment which came from those meetings was the local council were in favor of no change to the Boy Scouts policy.

"It wasn't even close in our council," McDonald said.

Now, local leaders are planning on how to keep their membership from falling.

McDonald said the area council is already $200,000 behind in fundraising, compared to the same point in 2012. Plus, he added, there were some local church leaders who indicated they would potentially drop their Scouting programs if gays were allowed to join.

"It was quite a few," McDonald said.

McDonald said this is a moral issue from the perspective of a lot of churches. For the Boy Scouts, their perspective is they're a very organized organization that is dedicated to instilling leadership, character and responsibility in its members.

It's this mission McDonald plans to remind members of when he goes back for follow-up meetings.

"What are you going to get that's going to replace the quality of the Scouting program?" McDonald said. "We've [Pee Dee Area Council] been around 85 years and we want to be around another 85."

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