To the Boy Scouts of America, On Behalf Of A Scouting Family.


This letter is being re-published here with the permission of Patrick Goodnow.





Email sent to the National Board of the BSA:


I was a registered scout from the age of 8 through 18 as were both my younger and older brothers. All three of us spent summers first attending and then working for our local scout camp, J.N. Webster. I achieved my Life badge and was inducted into the Order of the Arrow completing vigil and numerous service projects.

Mom, started as a cub scout leader and in the 70’s became one of the first women in America to complete advanced leadership training.
“Stand Up Rose” Goodnow became a district leader and was awarded the silver beaver on two occasions. Upon her passing, she was buried in her scouting uniform at her request.

Wally Goodnow, my dad served as scout master and on district committees, also earning a sliver beaver.

My bothers, Wallace and Paul-Steven Goodnow, both Eagle scouts, died tragically while still in their teens; Wallace, murdered in Jacksonville, FL before he was 20 and Paul-Steven in a single car accident driving late night to his job at J.N. Webster as dining hall steward. A plaque was erected memorializing them at the entrance to a campsite at the scout reservation.

I helped to home care Rose through her final illness and took my father Wallace into my home to see him through his, eventually holding his hand as he passed. They remained involved in scouting to the end.

Every five years I take a stand for my family and represent my brother Wallace and his memory at the parole board hearing for the unapologetic man who took his life.

I volunteer as a youth mentor and contribute my services to community and charitable projects often in the name of these family members who have passed.

I am a gay man. The lessons that I learned in scouting and the examples of service and fellowship have helped to make me a good man as well.

Two summers ago, I attended a reunion at J.N. Webster for past staff and campers.
I was greeted by one leader graciously and with much good cheer. Most others made it clear that though they would happily take my financial contribution, they would also prefer that I leave as quickly as possible.
– I was not welcome to assist with service and badly needed maintenance projects.
– My offer to provide assistance with fundraising and marketing (areas in which I have considerable expertise) was firmly rebuffed.
– I have now, apparently, been removed from contact lists for future social gatherings
– Though I asked, none would tell me where the plaque honoring my brothers was so I could pay my respects

I continue to contribute to my community and actively participate in many worthwhile organizations.
…but my heart is heavy when I think of what scouting was and what it has become.

On behalf of my scouting family and in their memory, please change this policy.

Allow your brothers to come home.

Patrick Goodnow
Norwich, CT


"Stand Up" Rose

“Stand Up” Rose


Dad Goofing

Wallace (Dad) being goofy


Wally 05



PS 02



Sent from a friend.

Sent from a friend.





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4 responses to “To the Boy Scouts of America, On Behalf Of A Scouting Family.”

  1. Cindy says:

    This breaks my heart. Equal rights, equal treatment, equality for all. Get with it, people. You are missing out on some fantastic people with incredible skills and knowledge and drive. All because of discrimination.

  2. Patrick Goodnow says:

    I am happy to report that a concerned contact at J.N. Webster reached out to assure me that my experience was atypical and that many folk are working from within the organization to help facilitate the changing of the national policy.,0,6853848.story

  3. Erin says:

    Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Paul Ahnert says:

    I am an Assistant Scoutmaster, a former Scout, the father of 2 scouts and the husband of a Den mother, needless to say BSA is a major part of our family’s life. I am heartbroken that the BSA has decided to compromise it’s moral stand for the almighty dollar. Make no mistake, the BSA has clearly stated it’s position on homosexuality. Part of the scout oath is to be Morally Straight. There is no other meaning behind that statement. BSA went to the Supreme Court to retain the right to exclude homosexuals. Now that money is tight the BSA is suddenly feeling socially conscious? If the BSA should lift the ban on homosexuals, I will have to wonder if the god sworn to in the Scout oath is named MONEY rather than being the one true God, the creator.
    Those of you who are scouts and feel that lifting the ban will not affect your troop because you meet in a Church or are able to “choose” whether or not to allow homosexuals in will be in for a rude awakening when you attend inter troop or pack events. This is a hot button issue, and given the history of those who want to politicize every issue, you can expect people who are more interested in pushing an agenda than participating in the scouting experience to make a spectacle of themselves. This has nothing to do with tolerance or acceptance, it is financial for BSA and political for those outside the organization who are pushing to lift the ban. I wonder if BSA will disclose what was promised to them if the ban was lifted in terms of financial support. I wonder if the BSA realizes that the move to lift the ban will force most churches to drop sponsorship and cause many Christian families to flee in droves.
    My family will be forced to make a hard decision if the ban is lifted, we will certainly NEVER participate in another inter troop or pack event and are waiting for the Lord’s direction as to whether or not to leave Scouting all together.

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