And how I handled it.
Apparently, Arizona Highways magazine has once again featured my helicopter charter company, Flying M Air, in its magazine. This time, I’m on a list of “31 Things To Do Before You Die.” Although I should be thrilled about this, I’m not. I’m only in Arizona half the year and, in all honesty, have begun thinking of moving my business to Washington permanently.
But I digress.
With publicity like that comes the usual collection of beggars. People looking for money or service donations or “partnerships” with what they believe are ultra-successful businesses come out of the woodwork, visit my site, and start contacting me by phone and email. The ballsiest of these (so far) has been The Boy Scouts of America. Here’s the email their fundraising person sent me yesterday:
Today I am writing concerning the Grand Canyon Council, Boy Scouts of America’s First Annual East Valley Golf Tournament, which will be held on Saturday September 15, 2012 at the Alta Mesa Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona. This will be the first of what we hope will many annual golf out to celebrate the Character Development programs of Scouting here in our community.
Scouting serves nearly 50,000 young people annual in our community with the mission of preparing our youth members to make ethical and moral over their lifetime by instilling in them the Scout Oath and Law. You will find enclosed additional information about some of our successes for your review.
The Alta Mea Golf Club’s 7,093 yard Dick Phelps designed Championship course will provide a wonderful setting for our first annual event. The East Valley Golf Tournament will include lunch, great raffle items, a silent auction, and a player participation package that will be worth in excess of $150.
The event’s auction and lunch will create a great deal of excitement that will top off a perfect day of golf and fellowship. Most auction items are unique, high quality items and/or packages that auction winner’s treasure. I’d like to ask you to consider donating a Multi Day Excursion. Your donation will help Scouting make a positive difference in the lives of over 50,000 children in our community. All donors are recognized in the event program.
If you would like to contribute to this worthy cause, please contact us. Should you have any questions, please contact me at 602-###-#### or XXXXXXX@bsamail.org. Thank you for your consideration of our request. Your generous support will be deeply appreciated!
There was no enclosure. She obviously copied and pasted a boilerplate letter into the message content field on the form on Flying M Air’s website.
Apparently, her editing was limited to requesting a specific service we offer: a Multi-Day Excursion. What you might not know, however, is that our Southwest Circle Helicopter Adventure costs $6,995 for two people. So she was asking for us to donate nearly $7K worth of services for … wait for it … recognition in the event program and their deep appreciation.
I did say ballsy, didn’t I?
Of course, The Boy Scouts of America have been in the news quite a bit lately. The New York Times‘ July 17, 2012 article titled “Boy Scouts to Continue Excluding Gay People” — published just two days before I received the email above — begins with the summary:
The Boy Scouts of America has reaffirmed its longtime policy of barring openly gay boys from membership and gay or lesbian adults from serving as leaders. The decision, announced on Tuesday, came after what the organization described as a wide-ranging internal review, and despite public protests.
The article goes on to provide details. If you’re not aware of BSA’s stance on gays, you really ought to read it or one of the dozens of other articles exposing the BSA as the homophobic, backward-thinking organization that it is. Just Google “boy scouts gay” and you’ll get enough links to last through a week of reading.
I guess the BSA’s fundraising people think that their stance on gays is something we should all be glad about — something we all want to support by donating to their charity events. Why else would I get an email message asking for a donation so soon after the BSA made their announcement?
Well, I’m not glad. I don’t think any group should be discriminated against for any reason. The BSA is excluding scouts and leaders based on their sexual orientation. That’s just plain wrong.
I didn’t waste much time crafting a response to the request. I kept it short and simple:
I’m sorry, but the BSA’s anti-gay stance makes it impossible for us to support them. I’m sure you understand.
And I don’t think anything has given me as much pleasure lately as clicking that Send button.