The Facebook Password Conundrum, or Why I Shouldn’t be an Eagle Scout

There's No Place To Go But Up! - Boy Scout LawI have been reading lately about employers asking for job prospects’ (or even employees’) Facebook passwords as a part of the interview process. I’m not going to try to judge the legalities or ethical implications of all this, but I will put myself into the position of someone being asked to do so. What would I do? I want this job, I want to work for this employer, and I get asked this. Would I do it?

Turns out this whole thing reminds me of something that happened when I was 17 and 18 years old. I shouldn’t be an Eagle Scout, but the way things went down, I am.

When an older friend in my Scout Troop went for his Eagle Scout Board of Review (the Troop and local Council representatives interview the prospective Eagle Scout upon completion of merit badges and other requirements), he reported back that they asked him the following question: “since part of the “Scout Law” is “A Scout is Reverent,” should a Scout who doesn’t believe in God- an atheist- be allowed to be an Eagle Scout? His natural answer was to say “of course,” but a well-placed kick under the table from a well-meaning parent got him to change his answer to the BSA-accepted “no.”

I couldn’t believe this. I determined “reverent” to mean not only “respectful of your own beliefs” but also respectful of others.” Apparently some folks thought the Powers that Be in the Boy Scouts of America begged to differ. I swore that if I were asked the same question at my Board of Review, I would answer it my way, even if it meant giving up the Eagle award. I could live with that.

I steeled myself for my review a year or so later, and… they never asked the question. Or any other question I was uncomfortable with. Damn you, Boy Scouts, for robbing me of the chance to take a moral stand. I shouldn’t be an Eagle Scout- by the standard set forth in that question- but I am. Just as well, I would make more nuanced decisions as an adult, weighing my disgust of the BSA’s ban on homosexuals with setting a more practical example for local youth. Everything’s a choice.

But back to the point- what would you do if an employer demanded access to your social networking passwords?

Photo Credit: StarrGazr (thanks Tracy!)

That summer camp you went to: what if they wrote a book about it?

WTC Book

*Edited to bump the Key Foundation URL to buy the book

Speaking of keeping up connections, and nurturing relationships:

Many of you have a summer camp or other institution you went to as a child, youth, or young adult; for me, it was Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation in Northwood, New Hampshire.

I was fortunate that the group I grew up with at that camp has stuck together for the last 25-plus years. Through high schools, colleges, marriages, children, and even a loss of one of the gang on 9/11, we have remained a tight-night gang.

Now, think about someone writing a book about that summer camp and publishing it. That’s what our group did for Wah-Tut-Ca. The Key Foundation, a fundraising group we started 20 years ago, has just published “Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation,” part of the Images of America series through Arcadia Press.

This book is written by some of our own, and preserves the memories of this great camp, back to its founding 70 years ago. Best of all, its sale is being used to raise funds for a new boathouse, which will be named after our departed brother, Andrew Curry Green, another kindred spirit who passed–on 9/11–way too soon.

We have high hopes for the project– and our looking forward to the book I haven’t even got my copy yet! If this sort of thing– the book, the cause, or both– intrigues you at all, you can buy from the Key Foundation Website, which nets more charity money than Amazon.

So– how have you nurtured your childhood relationships? There is a lot of value in keeping them going…

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What does Gischeleman mean?

Don’t you hate randomly-named blogs? Well, let me tell you what Gischeleman means. It is a word — from the language of the Delaware tribe, or in their language, the Lenape.

Gischeleman means “to create with the mind,” an appropriate term for many of the things I have done in life, from my decade-plus in public radio, to high-tech PR, through the latest social media innovations that have conspired to smush all these past lives together.

I was given this name through a fraternal organization of the Boy Scouts called the Order of the Arrow, which uses the Lenape as an inspiration and its language as its glossary. The OA bestows names on youth (and adult) members who achieve the “Vigil Honor” status. I was given Gischeleman, which was translated in my case as “vision maker,” which I must admit is an even cooler definition than the more common one cited above. It is heartening that name my peers gave me has come to stick through the last 20 years. Amazing, isn’t it?

By the way, while I do not remain active in Scouts for a variety of reason, I do participate in a non-profit organization, called the Key Foundation, which supports Order of the Arrow programs and the local Scout Camps in my original home region of Lowell, MA and surrounding areas. In fact, we are publishing a book about the rich history of our favorite summer camp, Wah-Tut-Ca, the proceeds of which will go to build a new boat house for the camp– information in the previous link but pre-order here if you like (it will be on Amazon as well).

Anyway, that’s why I stuck this unusual word on the name of my blog. Any questions?