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New controversy...Let's let girls into all levels of Scouting

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  • New controversy...Let's let girls into all levels of Scouting

    <asbestos underwear activated>/
    So now that the one issue is apparently coming to a vote, let’s look at a new issue.
    Let’s allow girls in all levels of Scouting, not just Venturing.
    Stay with me, and you’ll see why I am even considering this.
    A few weeks ago, my Cub Scout Pack, my Boy Scout Troop, and a local Girl Scout Troop did a joint Family campout. We had boys from Tiger through 15 years of age, and the Girl Scouts were Brownies (6-8 year olds I think). During this entire weekend, at least ½ of the girls wanted to do everything our Cub Scouts were doing, and having a blast at doing it. So I thinks ta myself, I said ‘Self, why are we waiting until these girls are 14 years old to allow them in the program. Is there really any valid reason, other than tradition?’. And I couldn’t come up with a good reason.
    What I came up with was this list:
    • Its BOY Scouts
      • Here’s the traditional position
    • Boys and girls mature at different rates
      • Happens in the schools like this already, but it doesn’t seem to be unmanageable
    • Boys need male role models
      • Yes they do, and we’re not talking about cutting out all of the males from the program. But there are things that can be learned from what some people would call a traditional female model, that would benefit boys also.
      • Girls need role models too, and need to see the masculine side of things. Can’t help but help them growing up knowing what male values they should value the most.

    So I asked the parents in my unit if they could come up with any reasons, or if they would have any issues with allowing girls, and none of them had an issue.
    Based on how the campout turned out, I started from the standpoint that there is an unmet need for girls that could be met by including them at all levels, not just at Venturing/Exploring age. Further evidence of this unmet need is the American Heritage Girls, which is growing their enrollment using a program that is somewhat based more on the Cub and Boy Scout model, and less on the Girl Scout program model.
    • We already allow girls/sisters to participate in Cub Scout Family Camps, both at a unit, and at a Council level. They do the exact same program as their brothers. Same holds true for Council-led daycamps as well, where they allow family members to participate.
    • Many non-USA WOSM entities allow girls to join at all levels of program.
    • My local Council Cub Family Camp allowed AHG girls to directly participate, not just because they had brothers attending.
    • We already have coed venturing YPT, so those guidelines already exist.
    • Female leaders have been allowed for years.
    • Capturing girls in the Cub Scout program starting at age 6, promoting them through Boy Scouts, would lead them naturally into the Venturing/Explorer program which ultimately increases membership for BSA at all levels of program.
    • Updated or modernized Council camps already have shower and restroom facilities as a single, private room. Going or gone are the days of the ‘gang’ showers.
    • Cub Scouts is gender-neutral. Boy Scouts could easily be referred to as ‘Scouts’, which they frequently are anyway, and under that concept, girls would simply be ‘Scouts’. BSA would still maintain all of its rights and charters.

    So, to summarize, BSA already allows girls age 14 and above to join. Why don’t we capture girls at a younger age and ‘grow’ them into Venturers, like we grow boys from Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts, and then into Venturing.

    Let the flames begin!

  • #2
    This ought to be fun . Boys need places to just be boys, where they don't have to worry about anything but being a boy. In my opinion, your example of schools disproves your hypothesis. The schools may be co-ed, but, the ones I've witnessed spend a lot of time telling boys they learn in the wrong ways, chastising them for not sitting still like the good girls, taking away their recesses, giving them poor grades because they color outside the lines and then wondering why the boys struggle. Scouting is the one place they get to run, jump, scream, yell, wrestle, play and learn as boys. FWIW, I think the need extends into adulthood. I have a wife, but I also have male friends. Those male friends have wives as well. But, we regularly have a boy's night out. Not because we're going to some seedy strip club or anything, just because we need some time with other men for our own mental health. Boys and girls are different, men and women are different. We should stop pretending that's not the case.

    Comment


    • #3
      Some local units here already admit girls into Cub and Boy scouts
      http://www.wgbhnews.org/post/cambrid...-participation

      Comment


      • Just A Rebel
        Just A Rebel commented
        Editing a comment
        I followed up with this group, and they have found a workaround solution...Its certainly not ideal, but does allow girls to legitimately be registered with BSA for insurance purposes through the Learning for Life program.

    • #4
      There's an easy way to kill three birds with one stone: Create a parallel Scouting program within BSA's Learning for Life subsidiary. As with career Exploring, which is part of LFL, the parallel Scouting program would be fully inclusive: gays, girls, and atheists would all be welcome at all levels. Exploring is doing just fine, with 116,589 youth in 5,285 posts as of the end of 2012 — a 3.28% membership gain over 2011. Explorer posts are chartered just like traditional BSA units and are supported by Councils just like traditional BSA units -- we could do the same with units in the parallel program. We already have a full-blown Scouting program that we can borrow -- it just needs a few tweaks to account for the membership difference. And unlike traditional BSA programs, the parallel Scouting program could be adopted by schools and other governmental and civic organizations who have non-discrimination policies. Win-win-win.

      Comment


      • DeanRx
        DeanRx commented
        Editing a comment
        what happens when the LFL side of the program outgrows the "traditional" scouting program? Then does national finally change course? Seperate, but equal has been tried in this country.... it didn't work out too well. You are either going to allow folks into the club, or you are not. Its morally wrong (IMHO), not to mention bad business for BSA to have seperate membership standards for their "red headed stepchildren" units in the LFL groups...

        If you don't think thats how most Crews or Ships feel, just ask any leader or youth that has interaction with the local council, division, or national folks.... LFL is the "oh yeah and we also have these guys too...."

      • dkurtenbach
        dkurtenbach commented
        Editing a comment
        The "these guys too" Explorers seem to be doing just fine. And I just can't see a problem with the LFL side of the program outgrowing the "traditional" side. And of course, that will mean that it is separate and unequal -- LFL Scouting will have definite advantages over the traditional program.

    • #5
      I honestly don't see any problem with it. The USA is actually an outlyer organization (along with the God and Gays issue) compared to MOST other nations in the World Scouting Organization, especially most of the European countries, to include the UK (Scoutings founding country).

      Being in San Diego, our unit attends scout fair every year at Qualcomm Stadium. I routinely see co-ed cub and scout units attending from Mexico. They are great kids and enjoying the program.

      GSUSA is a great organization and I don't want to take anything away from them, but honestly their program is more about empowerring girls / women and based more in an acedemic / business leadership model and not as much outdoors / high adventure model as scouting has.

      My son's two best friends in our cul-de-sac are one boy and a girl. The boy is in our same unit. You should see the look on the girl's face sometimes heading into a weekend when the unit is camping... she's even lammented the fact that she wishes she could go. She has done Indian Princess with her dad some, but even at age 11 she'll tell you the stuff the scouts does is "more exciting". I feel sorry for her when all there is to offer is, "well wait until you turn 14 (3 more years) and then you can join the venturing crew...." By that time, she might have other interests and BSA has missed out on another youth member that it needs and a youth that can benefit from its programs.

      Comment


      • #6
        Hey JAR,

        Did you have any Jr. High girls in the mix? Just saying that if you did, you may have been able to answer your question.

        Although I'm a crew advisor and love all the co-ed stuff, I don't like the "prom drama" that can seep into some of our outings with other crews. Just this weekend I was dealing with a young lady who was trying to make it "all about her." I managed to do it courteously, without having to wake her advisor, and my crew was glad for it. I might have had to have been uncomfortably blunt if the group was a few years younger.

        So, I can certainly respect GS and BS leaders who would rather not have to put up with those kinds of hassles in the presence of the opposite sex.

        Maybe if we did have these kids working together more at younger ages, it wouldn't be a problem. Or we'd find ways to give opposite sexes their own corners for a bit of their time on their own campouts. It really does yank my chain when a girl who was gung-ho for BSA at age 11 is distracted by other things by age 14.

        Comment


        • DeanRx
          DeanRx commented
          Editing a comment
          Or the boy who was gung-ho for BSA at age 11, now distracted... most likely by the 14 year old girl who is no longer gung-ho because she wears a regular bra instead of a trainer now...

          Honestly, if BSA was co-ed, I would have been more likely to stick around to finish my eagle. Instead, I went on to band and drama. I liked both activities, but band and drama had girls, scouting did not.

        • qwazse
          qwazse commented
          Editing a comment
          DeanRx, no excuse. I got plenty of the opposite sex in my crew, and band and drama still attracts youth away. It's one thing to make music together, it's another thing to spend nights in the wild ...

      • #7
        And so it begins...

        Comment


        • NJCubScouter
          NJCubScouter commented
          Editing a comment
          And so WHAT begins? I remember discussions of this subject when I was a Boy Scout, 40 years ago...

      • #8
        Absolutely not, as far as I'm concerned. Boy Scouting is about the last bastion of all-boy activity left. This isn't Europe. Boys are under assault everywhere because they can't act like little girls and be nice. Helicopter parents already ensure that you have to get far away to get them out their clutches and let them be boys. I am and have been for a long time a Sea Scout leader, so obviously have no problems with girls in the program for the older boys. We have Venturing, we have Sea Scouting. Boys who feel the need at that age to be more social can get into those and stay in Scouting. In short, there is just no valid reason that I can see for making a decision like that.

        Comment


        • #9
          On a rainy campout when a few of the boys start getting stir crazy and start a mud slinging fight I bet the girls will want to jump right in, at first. Then the boys keep escalating and all of a sudden we have girls in tears. At 14, there is less of that type of thing, but we need to let the younger boys be boys, tell their gross stories and sling the mud.

          If the GS program has a problem, it needs to be addressed.

          Comment


          • #10
            Old controversy, but anyway.

            Boys and girls learn differently, have different natural proclivities and strengths/weaknesses, are motivated by different methods, etc. Some girls would fit right into Boy Scouts, and some boys would fit right into a knitting circle, and somewhere there is a white crow.

            Originally posted by DeanRx View Post
            I honestly don't see any problem with it. The USA is actually an outlyer organization (along with the God and Gays issue) compared to MOST other nations in the World Scouting Organization, especially most of the European countries, to include the UK (Scoutings founding country).
            Scouting's founding country is the USA, where Ernest Thompson Seton and Daniel Carter Beard founded the Woodcraft Indians and Sons of Daniel Boone in order to channel the energies of restless urban boys with programs designed for boys to interest boys. Baden-Powell's military manual was interesting to boys because of its content, BP's Boy Scouts program only worked once he lifted Seton's method and merit system.

            And that is why Boy Scouts is not for girls. It is designed for boys. The inclusion of girls requires changes to the program, which is all that Scouting is. In many of those European countries, and many others across the world, Scouting is not a private organization, it is an arm of government and as such it acts like one, including all comers and doing whatever needs to be done to the program to do so. Not so in America, and that is not bad.

            Originally posted by RememberSchiff View Post
            Some local units here already admit girls into Cub and Boy scouts http://www.wgbhnews.org/post/cambrid...-participation
            Some local units do all kinds of things, and some local units shouldn't be Boy Scouts if they don't want to do things as proscribed. Boy Scouts exists because all over the Western world at the turn of the century men took an interest in the plight of young boys who weren't even their own, and decided to invest in them uniquely. They came from every background, from rough frontiersmen to clergy to wealthy progressives to cult of body idealists, not because they were setting out to "discriminate" or segregate, but because they saw a need for a particular sympathetic creature, the boy, and picked him for the philanthropy.

            Comment


            • Cambridgeskip
              Cambridgeskip commented
              Editing a comment
              Er.... where on earth do you get the bit about European scout associations being a branch of the government?

            • Just A Rebel
              Just A Rebel commented
              Editing a comment
              I've been through the entire program, from Tiger on up, and there is NO gender-specific requirements anywhere. No program changes are needed, because girls would join because THEY WANT THE EXISTING program, not a duplicate of Girls Scouts. Girls can and will be able to do all of the requirements, to the best of their ability. 'Do Your Best'.

          • #11
            Originally posted by Scouter99 View Post
            The inclusion of girls requires changes to the program, which is all that Scouting is.
            Whenever this topic comes up, many people say something like this. The question I have is "what changes are required"?

            Comment


            • dkurtenbach
              dkurtenbach commented
              Editing a comment
              None, really.

          • #12
            Today at our annual minor league baseball Scout Day, I saw some girls in their GSA uniforms. As I was walking back to our seat after the on field ceremony, I noticed a kid with really long hair (no objection to the hair issue, I mean look at Keegan (Yeti) from Are You Tougher than a Boy Scout). Then on a closer look, I was very surprised she was a girl, in a full blown Bear uniform. It totally blew my mind. Honestly, I think that boys need to stick with boys for an organization such as ours. I notice at elementary school age, the girls do not play with the boys (son is in third grade). Granted that GSA is not the GSA I was in in the 70's. It is tough for siblings, we have a couple of families where the sisters come to events and cannot earn the awards the boys do. I am very torn on this subject, and it is a tough one.

            Comment


            • #13
              Are we talking about all BSA programs being co-ed down to and including dens and patrols? Or are we talking about allowing female-only Cub Scout packs and female-only Boy Scout troops? You can open the very desirable Boy Scout program to girls without making all units co-ed.

              Comment


              • Just A Rebel
                Just A Rebel commented
                Editing a comment
                The problem with segregated units is that families will be separated. Means multiple weekend activities, one for the Boy unit, one for the Girl unit. Parents are so torn today due to lack of time, I just don't see it working if a family has a Boy Cub, and a Girl Cub too.

            • #14
              One thing to remember about venture groups. It is optional for them if they accept girls. Not all venture groups do. I imagine if the BSA became open to girls at all levels, it will be optional. If a unit doesn't want to deal with it, they can say no.

              Comment


              • #15
                Some of these comments are hilarious.

                I was a boy. I don't remember hurting for time "being a boy." I pretty much was one all the time. How does having girls present keep boys from being boys? If the boys aren't allowed to swear, go skinny dipping in the pond, or talk about girls & sex with male leaders present, then how does adding girls change anything? The program has already neutered the boy-specific activities and boy-oriented nature of the scouts. It is essentially already primed for girl participation.

                As for the Cub Scouts, I have no idea why that is not co-ed now. Girls already come to everything, and cub scouts is run by women. What the heck are we resisting there?

                Comment


                • Kahuna
                  Kahuna commented
                  Editing a comment
                  ROFL! I think you nailed it, TJ.

                • Just A Rebel
                  Just A Rebel commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I detect a hint of sarcasm there, but you really do hit the nail on the head. My wife, a uniformed leader, somewhat frequently gets asked 'Aren't you wearing the wrong uniform?' To which she replies...'I don't have girls, I have boys'. And the ever-popular 'You don't belong in Boy Scouts'. Well, if enough men would step up, she wouldn't have to. But they don't, so its better to have a female leader, than none at all.
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