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

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  • #46
    Seems to me the issue is simply enough at the lower levels. Do what they do in other parts of the world. Have an all girl unit under the BSA program; have an all boy unit under the BSA program; have a coed unit with both men and women leaders under the BSA program. How hard is that? Like everything, it just takes making it happen as the group would want.

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    • #47
      You guys should but as much effort into your local program as you do virtual scouting and debating here.......

      Your program would be stellar.

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      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        I like you BD, I really do, but sometimes I just don't understand you. You have 4356 posts and you criticize others for virtual scouting. ???

    • #48
      One of the arguments that is commonly advanced by the LGBT advocates is "well, the boys are okay with including gays, so we should do what they want." Leaving aside the argument that "all boys" or even a majority favor that, I'd be curious to know what the boys in scouting want, as opposed to their moms and dads who want to include their daughters, or hold an ideal of female inclusion in all activities. Some (possibly older) boys might favor it, but maybe not. Even if you are at the age where all you can think about is girls, there's a lot to be said for carving out a place in your life where you can just be with your (male) buddies and be yourself. (I could see that it could create some tensions for a Scout with a girlfriend who is not in scouting, but doesn't want her BF going on a campout with other girls.) A lot of the younger scouts may also not be keen on the idea. If the boys would not favor it, why should it be pushed upon them? There are certainly plenty of other co-ed youth organizations available to them. Certainly, older scouts can join a co-ed Venturing Crew if that is what they want, instead of the adult leaders remaking Scouting to conform with their own ideas.

      It would also probably create a lot of antagonism with the GSA, who would be (rightfully) concerned that we are poaching members from them.

      I think if you were to conduct an informal poll of your troops, you would find this a pretty unpopular idea.


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      • qwazse
        qwazse commented
        Editing a comment
        In terms of what boys want, I can offer a sample of 1. About half the boys in our troop who could join our crew don't. That could be for a lot of reasons, but one is certainly that they have enough women in their lives already.

      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        I agree GSUSA would throw a fit if BSA opened up to girls. It would be viewed as a very hostile act. The fallout would be huge.

        The only way this could happen is with the GSUSA blessing or a merger, and last I checked pigs don't fly.

    • #49
      qwase

      I think your idea about the crew is really outdated in todays world. Parents dont want to shuffle their kids to different meetings if they could all belong to one group. The GSUSA is losing members even faster then the BSA, no outdoor activities is the main reason my Venturing girls tell me, who were former girl scouts. The BSA is also losing membership at an alarming rate especially in troops and crews. If the current trend continues both BSA and GSUSA will be gone in another decade. It is time the BSA does what its European and South American counterparts have done and make the programs coed otherwise we will see the final demise of the BSA in our lifetimes.

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      • qwazse
        qwazse commented
        Editing a comment
        BP, it's not "my idea" from some backwater fringe area of scouting. The parents in my troop and neighboring troops are a relatively forward-thinking lot perfectly fine with some boys being in a crew and some not. No problem. If scouting went co-ed, my guess is about half of them would reorganize into a boys-only organization. Some of those parents only have boys and the others happily shuttle their girls to different activities.

        Yes, the girl-scouts who join my crew do so primarily because they want to do some outdoor activity that their GS mom can't or won't organize, but for every one of them there are 5-10 others who would far rather just be GS. And it's not the parent's fault. Some of my boy-scout parents who have tried to convince their daughters to be part of the program have gotten push-back. They've seen us at camp and simply don't want any part of it.

        If *I* had my way we would be co-ed. Simply because I feel my daughter learned a lot from Venturing and the boys who camped with her.

        But, here's the bottom line: the moms and dads who would *volunteer* to make a co-ed program work are few and far between. (Don't know if you've noticed, but your garden variety co-ed youth ministries are paid church positions.)

    • #50
      On this Friday before Mother's Day all the talk about scouting in the world community reminds me of something my mother used to say to me. "If all your friends jumped off a bridge would you jump too?" .

      One of the things not discussed here is differentiation. Yeah, it's an MBA kind of term but applicable none the less. The BSA is in competition for kid's and parent's free-time investment. I suspect we all lose kids to sports. In my neck of the woods I lose kids to 4H and FFA (good programs as well) because those programs more closely match their interests. I've had parents tell me they wouldn't let their kids sign up for scouts unless they gave up something else. I've heard other scoutmasters say they lose kids because they already camp, hike, hunt, fish, boat, canoe, ride ATVs and snowmobiles with their dads. They don't need scouts. The reason I bring it up is I also do some work with my son's youth group at church. The YG is co-ed, basically 7th - 12th graders. We camp, we do service projects, we play laser tag (gasp!), hold lock-ins, go to amusement parks, go on mission trips, etc. If the BSA went co-ed, how would we differentiate ourselves from my son's youth group in the values-based youth program competition for the scarce resource of time? I gotta say I don't see anything in the BSA program that I couldn't also do with the youth group and frankly with a lot fewer rules in the way.

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      • EmberMike
        EmberMike commented
        Editing a comment
        I think the one big difference is rank and advancement. There's no Eagle equivalent for a youth group. That's the end-goal for most kids, and although few make it and still get a lot out of the program, having a goal to shoot for is a huge incentive, and a huge reason to opt for something like Scouting over a similar group, even when all things seem equal between the two.

      • dcsimmons
        dcsimmons commented
        Editing a comment
        Not so sure about the EmberMike, the kids in the YG aren't interested in scouts, Eagle or no Eagle. Eagle is the end-game for kids already in the pipeline, or at least their parents anyway. But, it's only a differentiator if it draws people into the program. Not sure it's doing that. One of our differentiators, the uniform, is probably a net negative. Probably should be another thread though.

    • #51

      The big difference between this and the issue of gay kids in scouting is that gay kids don't have another option, while girls do. Exclude a gay kid and that's the end of the road for him in Scouting. Exclude girls and there's still the GSUSA. At a certain age there's also Venturing for girls.

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      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        We could always let in girls, just not if they are "avowed" girls.

      • AZMike
        AZMike commented
        Editing a comment
        A boy with a SSA could still join any number of outdoors-based, co-ed scouting-type organizations:

        1) The Spiral Scouts - coed pagan scout group that accepts all religions and atheists. Doesn't exclude lesbians, or gay, bisexual, or transgendered boys. Has offered to grant its highest rank to any Eagle Scout who is willing to leave the BSA over its membership policies. Their oath runs: "A SpiralScout shall: Respect all living things; be kind and courteous; be honorable; be mindful of his/her words; seek out knowledge in all forms; recognize the beauty in all of creation; offer assistance to others; value honesty and truth; honor personal commitments; and respect the Divine in all things." Probably have more interesting campfire ceremonies, I would guess.

        2) Camp Fire - formerly Camp Fire Girls of America, went co-ed in 1975. Doesn't exclude lesbians, gay, bisexual, or transgender boys.

        3) Navigators - Unitarian-led breakaway from BSA that doesn't exclude lesbians or gay, bisexual, or transgender boys. Focuses on outdoors and service projects, lets in atheists. Their version on the Scout Law runs: "As a Navigator I promise to do my best To create a world free of prejudice and ignorance. To treat people of every race, creed, Lifestyle and ability with dignity and respect. To strengthen my body and improve My mind to reach my full potential. To protect our planet and Preserve our freedom." Awww.

        4) Baden-Powell Service Organization - BSA copy that doesn't exclude lesbians or gay, bisexual, or transgender boys. Merit badges, etc.

        5) Girl Scouts of America - will admit the "T" in "LGBT" if a boy self-identifies as a girl.

        6) The Junior Forest Wardens - this is unfortunately currently only in Canada, but I wish they were down here as they actually own a gaming license and funds its scouting activities partly through gaming. Imagine the merit badges (Keno! Blackjack! Video Poker!) Inclusive.

        7) The Junior Woodchucks - policy on LGBT inclusion is currently unknown. Will accept other talking animal species than ducks, so who knows?

        8) The Young Pioneers - Admits atheists (in fact, mandatory to be an atheist). The LGBT thing is iffy, Cuba seems to have changed its policy recently from forced gender re-identification camps to benign tolerance. One color of kerchief, red. Membership may be compulsory in some countries. May have a Lone Scout program for those scouts who do not live in an officially atheist country. Their version of the Scout Law: I, (last name, first name), joining the ranks of the All-Union Pioneer Organization, in the presence of my comrades solemnly promise: to passionately love and cherish my Motherland, to live as the great [insert name of atheist dictator here] bade us to, as the Communist Party teaches us to, as required by the laws of the Pioneers of the Soviet Union (or: Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea, Peoples Republic of China, Dingbatistan, etc.)"

      • Just A Rebel
        Just A Rebel commented
        Editing a comment
        Maybe we could include gay girls...that makes them boys, right

    • #52
      Originally posted by EmberMike View Post
      The big difference between this and the issue of gay kids in scouting is that gay kids don't have another option, while girls do. Exclude a gay kid and that's the end of the road for him in Scouting. Exclude girls and there's still the GSUSA. At a certain age there's also Venturing for girls.
      Actually, gay kids have plenty of options other than BSA. Exclude gay Scouts they still have YMCA (now just called "Y" for some reason), other church and religious leagues, etc. But if you are gay and not religious, well then you may have limited options...but that's why membership organization are so narrowly based: They are a coop of like-minded folks who want to do things.

      For me the girl issue is the same as the gay issue. It is not about choice or options, it is about equality. While you are at it, if we are going to be "equal" you have to let athiests in too. You simply cannot argue for equality and then discriminate against someone else. That's absurd. You either have equaility or your don't. Period.

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      • #53
        I think girls should be able to join Boy Scouts. My sisters wanted to do the fun things that I was able to do. My young cousins today think that Girl Scouts is boring and want to go do to the fun things they see Boy Scouts doing. I think a name change would have to be in order, though. Perhaps, to keep the BSA acronym, it could be changed to Both Scouts of America, or simply follow 3M's line and simply change the name to "BSA" or something. Sure, you're going to have some people making fun of the name change with things like:
        Bodacious Scouts of America. Cowabunga, dude!
        Buxom Scouts of America
        "Bicameral" Scouts of America
        Blow-dryed Scouts of America.
        Ok, on a more serious note, I've heard that a name change would be impossible because Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts USA are the only entities in the USA who are allowed to use the copyrighted term "Scouts" as part of their program, Boy Scouts with boys and Girl Scouts with girls, and that each jealously guards their prerogatives and doesn't want to work with the other entity. In any case, I think girls should be able to join -- local choice. Leaders aren't a problem, we already have no problem with female leaders.

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        • #54
          Someday, BSA and GSUSA will bury the hatchet, probably in someone else's back, and confederate into something along the lines of Scouting USA with co-ed and single sex units, probably by age and program emphasis. I'm not holding my breath though.

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