CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Leaders who work with five West Virginia Boy Scout councils believe Scouting organizations will largely continue with business as usual even after strong debate on both sides about accepting gay Scouts.
Members of regional councils across the U.S. voted Thursday to allow openly gay youths to join the Boy Scouts of America.
Jeff Purdy, Scouting executive for the Buckskin Council headquartered in Charleston, said the national organization's vote, which included more than 1,400 volunteer leaders and passed with more than 60 percent approval, was part of a varied and enthusiastic debate during the organization's national convention in Grapevine, Texas.
"There was a lot of discussion before the vote was made and a lot of passionate [Scouts] who had a variety of opinions," Purdy said.
Although the atmosphere at the convention was contentious, Purdy said the tone remained respectful.
"There was a sense of closure at the national meeting where all sides came together on the last day," Purdy said.
Bob Drury, scouting executive for the Ohio River Valley Council based in Wheeling, said only time will tell whether the change in policy is a favorable step for the Boy Scouts.
"I cannot judge it based on the current feedback I've received, which is pretty nominal," he said. "I think time will determine whether this is a good decision for the Boy Scouts or not."
Similarly, Purdy has received communications from some parents or members of the community who support the decision and some who oppose it.
"Obviously many people have strong opinions on both sides of the issue," Purdy said.
But Drury said public feedback regarding the decision has been sparse in his region.
"Honestly, it has been very quiet -- quieter than I had anticipated at this point. It could be that people are trying to develop intelligent feedback prior to responding," he said.