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Politics

Florida Conservative Launches Alternative to Boy Scouts

July 8, 2013 - 6:00pm

The Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC), one of the leading social and religious conservative groups in the Sunshine State, will be turning its focus in the coming months to help launch an alternative to the Boy Scouts of America.

With the Boy Scouts voting earlier in the year to allow gay youth to participate, John Stemberger, the president of the FFPC who had been an Eagle Scout in his youth, announced back in May that his family was leaving the organization. Stemberger launched a website calling for the creation of a new alternative to the Boy Scouts which would follow traditional Christian teachings in regard to sex and sexuality.

On Tuesday, at a media event in Washington, D.C., Stemberger announced that Rob Green, who has two decades of experience in leading Boy Scouts in Florida and South Carolina, would be the interim executive director of a new group which will be launched in early 2014. While the group does not have a name yet, it is being defined as a new national youth character development program for boys.

Our vision is to be the premier national character development organization for young men which produces godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens, Green insisted on Tuesday. The new program will be an exciting and motivating outdoor-based program focused on leadership and character development for boys, and founded on principles and values that reflect a Christian world view.

It will be open to all boys irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin, Green added. Parents from all faiths are welcome to place their children in the program. While boys may come from every religious background, adult leaders in the program -- from the National Board level to individual unit volunteers -- will adhere to a standard statement of Christian faith and values.

The program and themes will teach practical life skills, an appreciation for the outdoors, service to others, leadership, and character development, Green continued. The new organization's name is currently in development and undergoing an extensive process of legal research and trademark protection. The organizational structure and primary programs are also currently being developed.

Having met with supporters in Kentucky at the end of June, Green announced that the new group will hold a convention in Nashville at the start of September and will start registering new chapters toward the end of November.

We will be distinctly different from the Boy Scouts although there will be some similarities, Green insisted. For instance, rank advancements earned within the BSA will be transferable. In addition, the organization's membership policy will focus on sexual purity rather than sexual orientation. The policy will read, in part: the proper context for sexual relations is only between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage.

Besides Stembergers OnMyHonor.net, the new organization is relying on the support of a number of groups, including Faith Based Boys, TrailHead USA and Frontier Service Corps, as it prepares to launch.

The program will also be modeled after that of the American Heritage Girls, Green said. It is our goal to work closely with them to provide godly, character-building programs for our country's young men and women. American Heritage Girls has been in existence for 18 years and offers a wealth of experience and structure which will help our new national boys organization grow and flourish.

Stemberger noted on Tuesday that the mission and direction of the FFPC has not changed but added that the new organization will take up a good deal of his groups focus in the months to come.

Our vision is still to be the premier leadership organization in Florida advocating on the issues of life, marriage, family and our first liberties, Stemberger wrote supporters on Tuesday. However the FFPC board feels that our organization has been given a unique opportunity to help to launch and provide leadership for this new boys organization and we will focus 60-to--80 percent of our time on helping this new program launch between now and the end of the year till the new boys' group is fully functional in 2014.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at 904-521-3722.

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