Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Chippewa29

Coed Scouting in USA?

Recommended Posts

I like the idea of having Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts as male only. I like the idea of having Girl Scouts and Brownies as female only. I like the idea of both boys and girls having their own separate "clubs", where they can do "boy" stuff, and "girl" stuff, as kids usually look upon these things. Attempts to change what we have to all co-ed are, IMHO, misguided.

 

I'd be right in there with those who would call for expansion of opportunities, though, by creation of co-ed programs within the framework that exists. The BSA has already gone down that road with Explorers and Venture. I don't know about the GSA, but I don't think they've looked there. And it's rather apparent to me that if co-ed programs of the same nature, proven worth, and fun that the BSA offers in its all-male programs were to come about, both the BSA and the GSA would likely lose numbers. Perhaps not significant numbers at first, but numbers just the same. (This isn't a slam at the GSA, for the BSA is all I know.)

 

As the BSA has already started the trek, it would seem a natural that creation of new programs, and expansion of older programs (Explorer & Venture), under the BSA umbrella, to offer new and more far ranging co-ed opportunities would both protect the BSA "numbers" that seem to be of huge concern all the time, while at the same time, offering a hugely successful program base to more kids nationwide. Boys and girls could still have their separate trails to walk, or they could choose to walk together, using the time tested methods of the BSA. Separate or co-ed...the choice would be theirs. Idealistic? Perhaps. But it would keep what we know, and expand it for all, while satisfying the requests of many.

 

But I'd not want to see the choice of separate be eliminated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to say no too. Not because I have any issue with a girls ability to do exactly what my son does... but because Scouting promotes a unique opportunity for the kids to push their limits in front of a closer peer group.

 

I do second the idea of a younger Venture program. In my experience GS doesn't offer enough outdoor opportunity and this would be a great alternative for those girls who want the rough and tumble.

 

But keep the main programs seperate.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, this is the crux of the problem with any Scout organization, the lack of living up to the promise of what the kids see in the handbooks, and on the ads on TV. The problem is not with the fact that these kids cannot be trained to do just aobut any kind of outdoor activity, it is in the local parents and masters who do.

 

I have long trained my BSA Troop in all aspects of high adventure. They run their own rafts on Class III water, climb, backpack, and do it all, even to high altitude (>14000 ft) ice and snow mountaineering. Even the 11 year olds learn boatmanship, and technical climbing, right away...and guess what, it works. We have trouble getting rid of them when they turn 18.

 

But I have been spouting this litany for months. It will work with girls as well as boys. They will learn well what they are interested in. Why doesn't Scouting hack it? Well, the answer lies in why does my Troop have to put up with a hostile round table? Because of a bunch of adults who dress in little kids uniforms and think that is what is important. They and are not receptive to help from outside, from people who would help, but are either not asked or are turned away due to arrogance, or to the sometimes apalling lack of outdoors acumin. Change the adults' attitudes, and you will change the character of Scouting all for the better. Most adults involved DO have their hearts in the right place, but good grief, go out and learn more about the outdoors, become a master of even one aspect that you will actually do WITHOUT kids, and you will be ahead. Use those people you find in the outdoors to help you.

 

At present, the GSA has little to offer girls in the outdoors, so Venture is usually it for them. So be it. They will go where they can to get what Scouting promises but seldom delivers. Younger Venture...well I have done that for 10 years but havn't called it that. Yeah it works too. Well, thats my advice. Learn a 'hard core' (or even a soft core) outdoor skill and teach it to your Troop. Teach all the technical and safety stuff too. They CAN handle it, and they love it. Well, enough of a tirade for tonight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nope, going co-ed would never work - the girls could never survive at BSA camps with the guys - no electricity for their hairdryers and curling irons! LOL!

 

sorry - couldn't resist.

 

I grew up in Girl Scouts - from Brownies (we didn't have daisies then) all the way through college as a camp counselor. 17 or 18 years. they must have changed the program, though, as we did LOTS of outdoor things. Summer Camp, of course, but we also did whitewater rafting on the Colorado river, lots of canoeing, locally and in the boundary waters, backpacking - etc. I also loved folk music and went on a "Wider Opportunity" to Berea, KY for their folk arts festival - do they still have "Wider Opportunities"? and also went to "flight school" and learned about flying small planes. I was President of the Senior Planning Board, and Director of a Summer camp for underpriveledged kids in our council/county area. and so much more.

 

I feel that Girl Scouts offered me as many opportunities as the BSA now offers my son. maybe they have changed the program - but I think in both the GSA and the BSA, scouting is what the individual, troop, district and council make of it. My GSA troop loved to camp - and our leaders and council provided the means. Some troops and councils are run by duds. and some fire the imagination of their kids and they run with it.

 

But keeping them separate is best for the kids - I feel it gives them more opportunity to develope their sense of "self".

When I would go on "campouts" with Church groups and such - the girls were always trying to impress the boys,(and came with tons of makeup, appliances and accesories) and the boys were always showing off for the girls. It was like school all over again - a popularity contest. the girls were cattier with the other girls - and played horrible tricks on each other, and the boys would refuse to do much (if any) of the planning, cooking and cleaning up. Granted this is from a girls perspective, only - but I doubt the boys got much out of those outings, either.

 

I'd vote for keeping 'em separate. Meeting at an event or Jamboree is great - but keep the troops all boy or all girl!

 

LauraT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Laura, I work at an outdoor education camp (tents etc) and I am an SM. I see a lot of what you describe outside Scouts but not much inside Scouts. (We are co-ed). I suppose it is due to the type of people who are attracted to Scouts. Maybe after several mornings of looking at the pillow-shaped hair, crankiness of midday camp pack up and the unwillingness to do chores etc reality hits. Schools and other non-scout organisations rarely have the ammount of camping that we have and I suspect that the novelty value wears off quickly - then kids are kids.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't come too soon. Why you ask? I have a daughter and a son. My daughter is a Venturer now, and will receive her GS Gold award this fall. But she's had a much less fun or exciting scouting career than my son.

 

GSA is broke. I signed on and got all the GS training, through Seniors and also district manager. I also have a letter from the Council, to me as district manager, complaining about 3 camporees in 18 months. The letter reads in part "Two or three campouts a year are two or three too many for girl scouts." This letter arrived the same week as our service unit meeting, where the leaders were raving about the last camping trip, and planning their next one. Not kidding.

 

Her summer camps were far less exciting. She signed on for a 2 week "horse woman" camp. Turned out is was for free labor. They spent 2 weeks shoveling stalls and had three rides, all less than 1 hour long.

 

If I could do it over, and have my daughter in BSA from age 8, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

 

As for the mixing issue. Hey, I was in ROTC with the first class of women to attend summercamp. We survived and flourished. My wife was in the first class of women at Yale. They survived. BSA got women SM's in 1978, we've survived.

 

Philmont, Sea BAse, and every summer camp now have female rangers, guides, mates, counselors, etc. etc. And BSA has survived.

 

But the best part is that these girls and women have added to our program.

 

So, I say let the combination come. You can still have units of either sex (especially at younger ages), but girls can only benefit from the BSA program as opposed to the GSA program. After all, there has to be a reason that GSA can't recruit or retain numbers at anywhere near the levels of BSA programs.

 

Let's start giving our daughters the same high quality program that we give our sons.

 

Jim

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Laura17:

I'm with you as the GSA program is what the leaders make of it. I was in a VERY activity troop as a young girl. We went camping every single month, and not like some of the BSA. We went primative camping, take the shovel and everything. I remember the day I explained to my 5 webelos what primative camping was, they all blushed. They thought that all camping areas came with latrines. SURPRISE. Of course we had only been camping to our council areas, I had not ventured them out to far, as they seemed sheltered a bit, but they have all been thriving in the new troop- after a bit of sticker shock from the older boys.

 

But I vote No to combine. The girls need to convey to their leaders what they expect. My boss is a girl scout leader of 20 8yr old girls and she spent a week with them at a primative camp. So they are getting good experiences.

Cheryl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3 yrs ago I would have said no. But we started a coed crew and its been great. Ive seen the light (or a least a better way). I do like the GSA and BSA programs being separate, but I also like the coed. For me, the BSA should make it optional for the Chartering Organization. They should be able to charter it coed if they want. That way you could have troops male only or coed. My Crew is coed and Ive had a few parents that dont like the idea. My crew also works with my troop and pack too which has raised a few eyebrows over the past couple of years, I just say theres two other troops and packs in town go gone one of those. But, were the fastest growing pack, troop, and crew in town. The growth in girls is not coming from GSA or other troops. Kids that have never been in scouting are joining as we have a great program. My coed crew helps with the pack and troop and often, if you didnt know better, youd think were a totally coed program. Of course they each do their separate activities too, but the troop and crew more often then not are together on all the campouts. 3 years ago they even went to summer camp together. I had the first girls at a BSA summer camp (in our state) and they even made a promotional movie out of it. The BSA camp had a Venturing program one week and we showed up with girls. Talk about having peoples chaws drop, but my girls kicked butt and it was the best camping experience Ive ever seen. You should have seen the table manners of the other scouts change when these young ladies entered the dinning hall. I know many arent up too the idea and for them thats fine, but for me, make it a choice and I think youll build a stronger BSA program then ever thought possible.

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a great topic for discussion but just to warn you.. don't expect co-ed scouting to take place other than in the Venturing program. We posed the question to a blue ribbon panel from the National program and the answer was a resounding...not gonna happen. The reason given..the Girl Scout program and the BSA have a long history together they do what they do and we do what we do and we are not going to intrude on their program base.

 

Just thought you might want to know.

 

Bob White

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry but I don't see what the fuss is about Australian scouting is co-ed from Joeys at 6 to Rovers at 20. There is also girl guildes from 6 to 20 and very rarely do the girls swap. Both organisations have similar programs and cater to different groups of children. All the girl scouts I've met have been just as capable as the boys and as happy to be covered from head to foot in mud at the end of a day's activities. While the old guard fights their little tuff wars the girls who could be in Scouting you'll find down the climbimg center and at the skate board ramp on saturday afternoon having played soccer in the morning, or been at dance class. Scouting really is for every one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ozemu,

No one denies that the program has scouting has something to offer both sexes, it is just the unique, informal, relationship between our two organizations. Both sides feel that a totally coed program could damage the GSA and that is not our goal.

 

Both programs have a purpose and neither wants to harm the other. Call it professional courtesy if you will. It's not as if the female population does not have a program, they just don't have the 6 year old to 13 year old BSA program available.

 

That situation is not expected to change in the near future according to the panel we spoke with.

 

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being a member (adult) of a Coed Venture crew I can attest to the benefits and challenges of a Coed program. Our crew has had two presidents in its tenure and both are female. Our crew spearheaded a Council Crew Rendevous. The female chair of the Organizing committee received the Council's first Venture Leadership award.

 

That being said, I see no reason to disturb the Boy Scout/Girl Scout programs. Youth may join Ventures when they are 14 and out of 8th grade and thats how it should remain. (IMHO)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said before, separate is good. But MY life would most certainly be easier if my kids were in the same troop. As it is, I have twice the monthly meetings to attend, twice the troop meetings, and it seems like four times the preparation work for my duties as TL (girls) and ASM and MB counselor (boys).

 

On the other hand, what would I do with all that extra time anyway?

 

If my daughter stays as interested in roughing it, she may consider going into a venture crew in a couple of years. We'll see how it goes.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Bob White slow down. It seems that there are two Aussie posters (imposters?) here. I personally respect your countries wish to be different. My only input on this thread is to refute misconceptions to keep the discussion balanced. "Vive le difference" say I.

 

Graham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i don't know, that could be a good thing; maybe being a scout might be a little more "cool"

 

on the other hand, you loose sight of what scouting i about, snoring, belching, and farting...getting dirty and telling dirty jokes...this could change a lot of things

 

eric

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×