January 9, 2013

Growing up in Iowa, Todd Schweikert loved being a Boy Scout, and he even made it through the rigorous process of becoming an elite Eagle Scout. Schweikert wanted his 7-year-old son to have the same positive experience, but he was turned off by the Boy Scouts of America's anti-gay policies. So, like any self-reliant scout, Schweikert took matters into his own hands and started his own troop — one that welcomes both boys and girls, doesn't discriminate against gays and doesn't have a religious component. He's hoping to attract other families who want their kids to know the thrill of camping overnight and exploring the woods with only a compass to guide them, but don't agree with the Boy Scouts of America's official policy banning gay members and gay adults from serving as leaders. "I think the need and the want is there," Schweikert said. "A lot of people want their children to be in scouts, but a lot of people have issues with their policies."