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vol_scouter last won the day on September 30

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About vol_scouter

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    Southern US
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    Scouting, church, and my family

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  1. Merlyn, As far back as we have been able to document human groups, there is evidence of religious practices. Even if you discount that, there have been well documented religions for several thousand years. All atheists today have been raised in a climate where there have been thousands of years of religious traditions. No atheist exists in a vacuum where they were not exposed to moral values derived from religious traditions. You cannot make a cogent claim that atheists have moral values that have not originated in religious traditions because they have all been exposed to religious moral values. So unless you want to take a lot of young children and drop them on an uninhabited jungle island and see what their moral system is 20 years later, there is no group of people who were not exposed to religion derived morals.
  2. Barry, It seems to me that you made my point in that gender dysphoria is not a new condition and we, as volunteers, have been having issues with youth since the inception of Scouting. Society has changed in many significant ways since the BSA was founded that has made dealing with youth more challenging at times. The privacy laws and far different standards now prevent handing some issues to the parents. Since this thread is all about whether the BSA should allow transgender youth. My contention is that transgender have been in Scouting since its founding just as have gay youth and adults. Likewise, abused youth, youth affected by chronic illnesses, and youth with alcohol or drug problems. Volunteers have and will continue to have to deal with such problems. The problems might be declared by the parents or discovered by the volunteers. There was no viable way that the BSA could have made any other policy at this point in time. It is the reality. Your other point has to do with the morality of some situations. Like you, I do not believe that atheists would have a moral code without religions that define right and wrong. The natural order would be for the strongest to dominate the weaker ones. So I agree with you. However, the BSA cannot choose a set of morals. Transgender is a condition that has not been addressed by most religions. While most religions would explore us to be more like the God(s) that are worshipped, such specific behaviors are frequently open to considerable interpretation. As a physician, I have often seen the long term harm from rejection due to disabilities, illness, or psychological conditions. We, as volunteers, need to treat all youth in an equitable manner to provide them the best opportunities to develop into a functional citizen of character. Excluding certain youth does not seem to be the best course. vol_scouter
  3. Barry, Gender dysphoriais an emotional and psychological condition experienced when a person's gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. It is a recognized condition. So to not support a youth with gender dysphoria will harm that youth. There have been some people who believe that some youth are being diagnosed as gender dysphoria who might not actually have the condition. One must be an expert to determine what is the appropriate diagnosis - something that adult volunteers are not able to do unless they are a child psychiatrist or psychologist. So to best support youth, we as adult volunteers should leave such determinations to true experts and support their conclusions. As to morality, I agree with others - whose moral standards do you use? The BSA does not prefer any religion and is, thus, non-denominational. As a Christian, I am not aware of a scriptural reference to people with gender identity issues. The BSA's stance seems well reasoned and the correct course for this time in history. In the future, there could be research that modifies what is best for a youth with gender dysphoria. At that time, the new policy might need adjustment. I doubt that will be the case but it is possible.
  4. A little late to this discussion but a couple of points. First, there was not a policy change by the BSA because there had never been a policy. So this established a policy where there had been none. Next, the parents have always determined the gender on the membership form for the BSA. We as volunteers or professionals have never done physical exams to make a determination and accepted the parents word on filing out the application. Another point is that many states allow the parents to determine the gender of their child and they can change the gender whenever they wish. So the legal determination in some states is whatever the parents. Those same states have anti-discrimination laws that would result in multiple lawsuits that the BSA would most likely lose and would certainly be very expensive. The BSA did the only reasonable thing, establish a policy that does not violate state laws and keeps with current standards whereby the parents determine the gender on the membership form.
  5. So the only data that anyone has is on Scouting in the UK? I thought that in the past there were vigorous debates about the pros and cons of adding girls to Scouting with many spots about how it negatively affected membership in those countries. Should my conclusion be that there only in the UK was there a correlation and that one is complex? Does that in turn mean that adding girls will be net additional members?
  6. Qwazse, Your last sentence is precisely why I am asking the question. There have been threads about whether the BSA should have units for girls or coed units or family units. My recollection is that, whenever similar changes have occurred in other countries, there was a significant overall membership decline despite the increase in the number of potential members. If my recollection is correct, then is such a change for the BSA a wise move? Can the BSA afford the decrease that has occurred in other countries? So far in this thread there is the case for the UK that did lose about 1/3 of the membership coincidentally with the change to a coed program even though all male units were still allowed. Cambridgeskip and Ianwilkins point to some other factors that likely were also contributing to the decline. However, one would have to believe that the decision to add coed programs was at least in part predicated upon the premise that it would increase the overall membership by expanding the potential members. To see the opposite occur is disturbing. My memory is that the UK experience has been nearly universal and I am wishing to verify those thoughts or to find that my memory is incorrect. The decrease in membership for the BSA is exactly why such information could be important. So, hopefully other Scouters will soon begin to contribute to this thread to answer the question. Yours in Scouting, Vol_Scouter
  7. Cambridgeskip, Thank you so much! This is the information that I want - what happened to the Scouting membership and why when it was opened to girls. Ianwilkins, Thank you for this most helpful extension of Cambridgeskip's information. Qwazse, I appreciate the information about how well a coed program has worked for some time in Sweden, Italy, and the Czech Republic. Do you have any information on what the effect was on the membership when the change from all male gender to coed occurred? Thanks to all of you, Vol_Scouter
  8. Cambridgeskip, Thank you for the excellent reply. Did the change to coed for all programs in 1991 correspond to the large membership decline? Vol_Scouter
  9. There is a thread on family Scouting that discusses some of the aspects of family Scouting. In the past, there has been discussions about 'coed' Scouting in other countries. I would like to know the affect that adding girls to a previously all male program had on the membership. Did it increase the membership or decrease it? Was the change to make everything coed or were girls added in a separate but parallel program? I would like to solicit facts about what has happened in other countries - not opinions as to whether adding girls is a positive or negative for the current members. So facts, please! Yours in Scouting, Vol_Scouter
  10. vol_scouter

    Methodist Statement

    For a doctrinal or policy change in the UMC, both the clergy and the laity must both pass it. Ordaining homosexual clergy and allowing gay marriage would have to both pass the clergy and the laity. The clergy have brought it up many times over the past 30 or 40 years where the clergy in turn passes it but it gets soundly defeated by the laity. So whereas saying many Methodists support those changes might be correct but saying most would not be correct. If past trends continue, it does not look like there will be a change for some time but with the rapid change in the nation there could be a dramatic shift. One way or the other, as the second largest Chartered Partner, the support of the clergy and the laity through the United Methodist Men is certainly a positive for the BSA.
  11. vol_scouter

    STEM Scout pilot program

    I see your issue and can clarify it for you, it is also youth led. Youth are allowed to fail, it is actually part of the program. Teaches the same things: ingenuity, teamwork, perseverance, etc. The program is Scouting - it was designed to be so.
  12. vol_scouter

    STEM Scout pilot program

    So the purpose mentions character traits and values with the lone exception of "to train them in scoutcraft". Thus, the thrust is to develop character and instill values. Scoutcraft would seem to be a method to accomplish those goals. That then matches with the BSA Mission Statement, Aims, and the comments of Baden-Powell. So STEM Scouts meets the Mission Statement, fulfills the Aims, and meets the standards of outlined in the Charter with the exception of the current interpretation of Scoutcraft.
  13. vol_scouter

    STEM Scout pilot program

    So what is Scouting all about? If we look to quotes from Sir Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell:"Field efficiency, backwoodsmanship, camping, hiking, good turns, jamboree comradeship are all means, not the end. The end is character with a purpose.†"Keep before your mind in all your teaching that the whole ulterior motive of this scheme is to form character ..." So the purpose of Scouting in general is character development. For the BSA, the Mission Statement is: "The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law." So Scouting is about values and character development. He also said: “A fisherman does not bait the hook with the bait the fisherman likes, he baits it with the bait the fish likes, so it is with boys.†Camping is a means to instill those values and character but not the only means.
  14. vol_scouter

    STEM Scout pilot program

    Renax127, I have a Venturing Crew full of youth who are interested in STEM but have little to no interest in the woods let alone the backcountry. All children want to explore their world but increasingly that world involves technology derived from science and mathematics that has provided the fuel for engineers to create the new technology. They have far less interest in the outdoors. We have used STEM to get the youth involved and get them into the outdoors. If we turn the paradigm around, we have no Crew because they do not want to join a primarily outdoor activity group. STEM Scouts seems like the same hook - provide high quality STEM experiences with some outdoor activities. It is likely that some of those youth will develop a love of outdoor activities. However, they would never join a traditional Scouting unit.
  15. vol_scouter

    STEM Scout pilot program

    NJCubScouter, The same thing was said of Exploring but it has not occurred. Same thing was said of Venturing but it has not occurred. A new program does not have to affect the membership of any other part of the BSA. If the membership in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts were to ever change, it would only be because the volunteers want the change. The Scouting professionals have no ability to affect such a change.