Mom Says Gay Moraga Teen Denied Eagle Scout Opportunity

Update: Change.org petition urges Moraga troop to reject Boy Scouts 'discriminatory policy.' Ryan Andresen's Eagle Scout project is a 288-tile wall of tolerance at Joaquin Moraga Middle School.

Update, 12:25 p.m. Thursday, added photos of wall of tolerance at Joaquin Moraga Middle School.

When Ryan Andresen completed a 288-tile wall of tolerance at Joaquin Moraga Middle School last month, he thought he had met the requirements to become an Eagle Scout.

But, according to his mother, the scoutmaster of Ryan's Moraga Boy Scout troop is refusing to sign off on the project because Ryan is gay. "We are all just in shock," said Ryan's mother, Karen Andresen.

The family has a petition drawing international attention on Change.org urging the leaders of the local troop to reject the Boy Scouts of America's "discriminatory anti-gay policy" and give Ryan Andresen the Eagle award. Ryan is a senior at Maybeck High School in Berkeley.

"It hurts me so much to watch Ryan suffer for being who he is, because to me, he's perfect," said Karen Andresen.

Ryan's father, Eric Andresen, used to do the bookkeeping for Troop 212. He resigned on Tuesday, Karen Andresen said, after Scoutmaster Ranier del Valle reaffirmed his refusal to sign off on Ryan's project.

Patch is trying to reach del Valle for comment.

Ryan's 18th birthday is Oct. 8, in a few days. The Boy Scouts have a rule that the Eagle Scout project must be approved by the 18th birthday, Karen Andresen said.

She said that Ryan came out to his family two years ago. The idea for the wall of tolerance was a result of the bullying he experienced at school and in the Boy Scouts.

Ryan Andresen hopes to attend the University of San Francisco.

"Many troops around the country are standing up, choosing to reject the Boy Scouts' discriminatory policy," the petition statement by Karen Andresen reads. "I sincerely hope that Ryan's troop — Troop 212 — will become one of them."

The Boy Scouts of America has policies that prohibit "open or avowed" homosexual people from membership
in its Scouting program, as well as atheists and agnostics, according to Wikipedia.

One petition signer from overseas wrote on Change.org said he signed "because I am a member of the Boy Scouts in the UK and discrimination is the very thing we are taught against! Scouts are supposed to HONOUR people with ALL their differences. Not treat them like filth."

Thanks to Patch reader Laura Goodman for tipping us to the story.

Watch Patch for updates.

For the Record October 09, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Wow. I guess a request to stay on topic really cuts deep.
Carolyn Phinney October 11, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Let's all sign the petition and ask our friends to do so. We all know this policy of the Boy Scouts is outrageous, should not exist, and should not be enforced. We need a Rosa Parks moment from the boy scout troop leader.
Melanie October 12, 2012 at 02:09 AM
BethAnne, I find your comments rude, disrespectful, and unwarranted. I don't recall stating my son is "demanding" they change their policy.
BethAnne October 12, 2012 at 03:01 AM
So, Melanie, please do tell us how you are working for change. What right do you have to ask the Scouts to change? You joined knowing the policy. It is what it is. Why does everybody keep insisting that the Scouts change? A gay kid can't be in Scouts. So, what. There are a wide number of other activities to fill the kid's time. It's not like Scouts is the only activity.
lovelafayette October 12, 2012 at 03:36 PM
@Bethanne: "A gay kid can't be in Scouts. So, what." It is a rare family tree that does not inculde a few homosexuals. Guess they are all kept in the closet in your family, otherwise you would never start a sentence with .."A gay kid can't "(fill in the blank). Have any of you gay haters in Moraga considered the impact on gay youth in your town, statistically Ryan isn't the only one. What IF your child IS GAY, you have made it impossible for him/her to tell you. Surprise, being in BS or belonging to a gay hating church does not shield you from gay kids hiding in YOUR family. Those of you mystified with kids who cut, suffer from depression, have attempted suicide, are bullied, abuse substances.. need to consider whether your attitudes, your churches condemnation, the BSA is keeping your children from being honest about their sexuality. Have you created a "don't ask, don't tell" household? Have you EVER asked?
Ann W. October 13, 2012 at 07:24 PM
@John M... you claim to know Ranier Del Valle and say, "He is a man of tremendous integrity and compassion." Then can he please explain why he gave Ryan and his family every impression that Ryan's being gay was not going to be a problem getting past the last hurdles of signing off his Eagle Rank? Obviously Mr. Del Valle concurs with the discrimination policies of BSA but in my book integrity is non existent without honesty. This scoutleader was clearly not honest with Ryan and instead lead him down the path falsely. Mr. Del Valle has the right to feel and believe however he wants to feel about homosexuality... I don't happen to agree with him but waiting until the very end of Ryan's journey seems rather sadistic to me if not the very least just utterly cruel. Cruelty and compassion have no connection. Frankly as part of the scouting community this man is a disgrace in my book. The sentiments of our scoutmaster this past Monday night (BTW... Ryan's 18th Birthday) @ a monthly parents meeting stated that Del Valle "betrayed" this scout and feels that the large undercurrent of non discriminatory sentiment that actually does exist within the scouting community will one day prevail. As he said, "It may not happen in his lifetime but it WILL change." He has hope and so do I. BTW... Where is Mr. Del Valle? He sure has nothing to say to this young man or the rest of the world. I for one would like to hear what he has to say about how HE handled this situation.
Chris Nicholson October 13, 2012 at 07:42 PM
@LoveLaf: I think careful readers might disagree with your assertion that BethAnne knows nothing of gay men and with your implication that she stands with the "gay haters."
Kassie Belle October 15, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Personally i feel that men were suppossed to love women and women love men, but so what if people are different!? Its what makes us unique!
Kassie Belle October 15, 2012 at 10:32 PM
and to all those people that think their gonna get hit on by gays, i have 2 best les freinds and im straight, and we're like any other bestie trio--- nothing going on here
lovelafayette October 18, 2012 at 04:51 AM
DOES ED STOKES DESERVE THIS? Meeting Date: October 22, 2012 LAFAYETTE CITY COUNCIL, Laf Library Subject: Request for Proclamation Recognizing Ed Stokes as the 2012 Distinguished Citizen Background: Sue Rainey, on behalf of the Mt. Diablo Silverado Council, Boy Scouts of America, requesting a proclamation from the Lafayette City Council recognizing Ed Stokes as their 2012 Distinguished Citizen.
Nile Kinnick October 18, 2012 at 06:04 AM
I wouldn't read too much into it. It's just a way of thanking him for allowing the scouts to bug us about those ridiculous wreaths. I have no problem with the scouts, don't give a crap about the queer thing, but I don't like anyone begging me to buy crap. Other than that. Go scouts.
Chris F. October 18, 2012 at 10:58 PM
I just read this article. on child molesting Scout masters and the Boyscouts cover ups. http://news.yahoo.com/perversion-files-show-locals-helped-cover-181647842.html
Peter Kendall October 18, 2012 at 11:22 PM
@ Chris: ditto. I'd add that even not-so-"careful readers" need only click on the commenter's username to see whether there's any substantive comment history from the poster. Many of the new pseudonym accounts on this and related threads on Patch have little to no comment history, bear strong stylistic similarites, and very likely emanate from a small number of the same IP addresses....
Nathan Bell October 19, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Please not the incidents are more than 25 years ago - from 1959 to 1985. Also please not the very purpose of maintaining the files was to keep such characters out of BSA leadership. I think that speaks to the BSA trying to balance the interests of the boys against the issues of dealing with the perpetrators humanely. The BSA has evolved on this issue right along with society in general.
HeresWhereMyNameGoes October 19, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Nathan - Your attempt to whitewash this issue is shameful. I hope BSA leadership doesn't share your absurd opinion. These boys were raped and otherwise sexually assaulted. Many were children. Children. If the BSA needed to 'evolve' in order to understand that raping children is wrong and a heinous crime then the BSA should voluntarily disband.
HeresWhereMyNameGoes October 19, 2012 at 01:47 AM
They also failed to report many of these predators to authorities. That's not humane treatment. That's stupidity and a complete disgrace.
Nathan Bell October 19, 2012 at 02:08 AM
HeresWhereMyNameGoes: My comments were in response to Chris F's post which conveniently failed to mention the cases were more than 25 years old all the way back to 53 years ago. Your comment also wants to bring such wrongs into the present day. I have 5 children and can think of few things worse than child molestation. I have zero desire or intent to minimize such heinous acts. Having said that, judging any organization's actions that occurred 30 and 40 years ago by today's standards is simply unfair. By those standards we should burn down every baptist church in Alabama today for their segregationist attitudes of 50 years ago. And trying to single out the BSA as though it is some lone perpetrator is also unfair. Do you believe the Jerry Sandusky affair would have been handled the same way in 1960 as it was today? I don't. And I'm glad of it. Society has evolved, and for the better.
Nathan Bell October 19, 2012 at 02:31 AM
HeresWhereMyNameGoes: Further to your outrage, see comment from "Big Leo" at http://news.yahoo.com/perversion-files-show-locals-helped-cover-181647842.html "I was a child abuse investigator in the late sixties and early seventies. It was very difficult to get evidence against any molester of teenagers because EVERY institution covered up for them. It was the opinion of the psychologists and psychiatrists at the time that the proper treatment was removal from temptation and psychotherapy. Those of you who attack the RC or the Scouts should also attack with greater fervor kids' sports and the schools, who were greater offenders." He makes my point beautifully. Child molestation at any time, any place or any context is beyond horrible. But to suggest the BSA was out of step with society with regard to how to handle such incidents as you do, and to leave the casual reader with the notion that the cases are present day, as Chris F's post did, is, to use your word, "shameful".
HeresWhereMyNameGoes October 19, 2012 at 03:57 AM
So, again, the BSA failed to be a leader in the reporting of child molestation. If the BSA is such an honorable organization then you'd think it would have been a leader in the fight against child molestation. But, just like it did with integration, it acted dishonorably and says, "Oh, well. We were just following society's views." Disgraceful.
Nathan Bell October 19, 2012 at 04:04 AM
HWMNG: I agree that no one should "evolve" on the subject of child molestation per se. But institutions of all sorts, government, religious, community etc. have evolved on how best to handle the issue, just as society has on sexual harassment, racism, mental health, slavery, etc. So please spare the disingenuous attempt to make me look like I in any way condone child molestation simply because I acknowledge shifting public policy and legal and professional advice -- two very different issues.
HeresWhereMyNameGoes October 19, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Nathan this is how one responds to these revelations... Tom 6:58 pm on Thursday, October 18, 2012 The Scouts are a large organization. This is a shameful history to be certain and many rules were changed to address this years ago. Prayers to all the victims. See, Tom, appears to understand what the correct response is. He doesn't attempt to defend the organization by suggesting, "Oh, well, everybody was doing it." Hopefully BSA leadership reflects Tom's view.
HeresWhereMyNameGoes October 19, 2012 at 04:07 AM
I don't think you condone child molestation. But your apparent blind loyalty to the BSA makes you look foolish.
Nathan Bell October 19, 2012 at 04:53 AM
HWMNG: Pointing out that an attempt to smear the BSA from citing cases more than 25 years ago while leaving the impression that the cases are current, is not "blind loyalty". It's an attempt to keep the discussion on fair grounds.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop October 19, 2012 at 08:31 PM
You are digging yourself a fairly deep hole here. Crimes against innocents are immune from historical context, period. And attempts at putting 'fairness' up to mitigate such heinous criminality smells of backpedaling and desperation. Why not tell us how you really feel?
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop October 19, 2012 at 08:39 PM
I hereby nominate Nile Kinnick for the "Apathetic Monster of the Decade". I know it is early and there is lots of time left in this decade, but Nile's brand of nonchalance when it comes to the organized raping of children should win him the Golden Ostrich Trophy at a trot.
Nathan Bell October 19, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Fritz: I don't think I'm in a hole to begin with. I think you find it too tempting of a cheap shot to pass up the accusation that because I think we should put in historical context how institutions (including schools and other government agencies in the 60's and 70's) dealt with child molesters, that I therefore somehow condone child molestation. A very cheap shot indeed. One more time, I believe child molestation is heinous, bad, horrible, atrocious, villainous, damnable.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop October 27, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Unsaid but implied......with an appropriate statute of limitations, of course.
Nathan Bell October 27, 2012 at 09:41 PM
I apologize. I should have said: I believe child molestation is heinous, bad, horrible, atrocious, villainous, damnable in all times and all places with no statute of limitations.
Ann W. October 27, 2012 at 09:43 PM
@ BethAnne we are a scouting family just like Melanie's family who does not believe in discrimination of any kind. Yes, we hope change will come from within and believe that in the words of our Scoutmasters (who also do not believe in discrimination) "One day this will change. It may not be in our lifetime, but it will change!" You need to understand that while BSA is a private organization, it's original tennants had nothing to do with discrimination. It is only due to the religious right taking over the American organization of scouting did they begin to tout a discriminatory rhetoric. There is much good about scouting and it is for that many people like my family and I gather Melanie's family choose to participate. The overt message within the Scout Law and Scout Oath are counter to discrimination. You cannot be "Kind, Helpful and Courteous" and discriminate. Those characteristics coupled with discrimination just don't jive, no matter how you look at it, private organization or not! There are huge numbers within the scouting organization that DO NOT subscribe to discrimination and unless the BSA starts to put it in written form on their applications and do a rigorous interviews for 6 y.o when they enter Cub Scouting or reapply at 10/11 y.o when boys bridge to Boy Scouts this will likely not change. Boy Scouts (a worldwide org.) was started with a wonderful mission by Lord Baden Powell.Sadly those at the top of our country's org. have tainted it w/discriminination
Karen Lewis October 27, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Jon, I'm often on the other side from you (think RLP), but it's good to be on the same side on this one!


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