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In reading some International posts on the net I think our friends

Down under have got an interesting program with girls & Boys together.

With a lot of the adult leaders in our cub program being female.

I went to training classes this past fall 75% of the leaders there

were female.This training was both Boy Scout and Cub Scout.

I just thought this would make a interesting topic.

What do you think about it.

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This has been discussed often & sometimes quite loudly!


I can not see how the percentage of female leaders in BSA has any bearing on the combining of BSA & GSUSA, or on BSA becoming completely coed. However, you will find that the topic of allowing females into BSA in any capacity, has also been discussed often & loudly.


Bottom line is that, while BSA encourages female leadership in all areas, a completely coed Cub & Boy Scout youth program is highly unlikely any time soon.


A merging of GSUSA & BSA is even MORE unlikely.


BSA seems quite happy with having Venturing as it's only coed youth Scouting program.



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Here are my two cents

Girls in "Boy Scouts" does pose a pretty good question. I think that question has been discussed since 1910. I've heard hearsay that the BSA and GSUSA did discuss a merger in the mid 60's, but like some world politics, it never occurred.


I would not totally credit that our "friends down under" have cornered the market on a boys and girls co-ed Scouting program. I would expect most countries worldwide follow this model.


Of course, some other countries scouting organizations dont have a Cooking Merit Badge or Proficiency Badge. Also, "Leave No Trace" or Low Impact Camping, can be thrown out, as some European Scouting units set up a small village in the camping areas. On another note, some countries have many different Scouting organizations, but only the first official Scouting Organization in each country is invited to the World Jamboree. Ive heard that the BSA receives the only official delegation invitation. This point just to say, the BSA has evolved into our current program, and we seem to be pretty darn good program right now.


But about girls and boys together... Since the 50's, the Boy Scouts have had the Explorer program and now since 97' the Venturing Program. The previous Explorer GOLD Award and the current Venturing Silver Award hold a lot of prestige. The personal work and commitment that a Venturer places into earning these awards, they should be considered the equivalent of the Eagle Scout Award.



You asked What do you think about it?


A lot of factors could go into this. Ive known some seasoned Scouters, that had three/four daughters and no sons. Ive known quiet a few single parents with son(s) and daughter(s), and the siblings would be tag-alongs but not official participants. Some good and positive youth educational/recreational programs are not available to the youth in rural areas.


With the existing Venturing BSA program, it is probably best asked something like;

Will the BSA ever be fully co-ed?


A second question to ask I would expect would be; Is there any benefit to a fully co-ed program?


I dont believe so, not just yet.


In the future, yes, probably so, the BSA may become fully co-ed. There are many educational and recreational benefits that can be shared by both sons and daughters and their families.


Just to illustrate from some world history. (and Im not trying to stir the political pot here, just stating some world events)


We know Rome wasnt built in a day. Also, it took 45 years for the Wall and the Iron Curtain to come down. We are still watching another Wall from the South Korean Border. And we seem to urge the building of a wall between Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank, not to keep them apart but more to maintain the peace. Will those walls come down too? I expect so, sometime in the future.


Scouting Forever and Venture On!



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I was leaning more toward a co-ed cub program.

At 14 the girls can be in the vent. program.

My sister was a girl scout growing up with

3 older brothers in scouts.She was alot tuffer

than the other girls.With both parehts as leaders

she spend a lot of time camping with our troop.

She was not fond of "camping in the local mall.

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In the end it's important for boys to spend time with other boys and bonding as men, just as it's important for girls to do things together with other girls. There are plenty of opportunities outside of scouting for coed interaction (church, school, other community events), and there's still the Venturing program if they want to do coed scouting. That, combined with the myriad complexities that are thrown in by making activities such as camping coed leave me inclined to think that things are best left as they are.

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I take offence to that, LOL. I was a Girl Scout for years and we never camped in the mall. IMO the girls have their program and the boys have theirs and the two should not be combined. I remember alot of boys also had to tag along with the Girl Scouts and at the day camps they would have their own seperate area with things for them to do. Now ya'll forgive me if I get this wrong, but I had a friend who was in the Explorer Scouts(?). She would ride around with the police dept. As I said forgive me if I got that wrong and please correct me.

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No Sniffles, you did not get it wrong. Your friend was a Scout in a Police Explorer Post.


Explorer Posts (along with Sea & Air Scouts) were the coed branches of the BSA. In 1998, Exploring was moved to Learning For Life to become their worksite based, career education program. Outdoor Exploring was retained by BSA and changed into Venturing. Venture & Sea Scouts are now BSA's coed, older Scout program.



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By no means did I mean the all girl scouts camp in malls,

But hers did, and I remember see was none to happy.

I do not think this will happen,I just thought it would make an interesting topic.




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I guess we were blessed with 2 wonderful leaders. We always camped out at the local camps and we were lucky enough to know one of the oldest girl scout who would let us campout on her property a couple of times.


I did not take offence to what you said, I was just teasing. I have a good friend who was a former boy scout and he is always teasing me about how easy the girl scouts have it. It really depended on the leaders of the troop. I have never heard of anyone camping out in a mall though and IMO that is not a way to show the girls how to camp.

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You can't "camp" at a mall. There is no place to pitch tents or have a campfire. What they most likely did was attend a "lock-in" of some sort. Lock-ins are overnighters in some sort of building. You will find lock-ins at museums, aquariums, planetariums, zoos, schools, churches, etc.


At a museum or zoo or something of that sort, the group usually has the run of the place after hours. There are often special events/activities set up for the participants to do.


At schools, churches, etc, the group is usually local (kids from the school or church) & they usually have a specific purpose/theme & work on specific activities.


The Girls Scouts in our parish school have a lock-in in the school hall every year. They sleep on the floor, do various service projects, play games, sing songs, watch a movie & have fun. It gives the older girls a chance to get some leadership & service hours by planning program & working with the younger ones. It is also a great time to work on Bridging awards (earned by girls moving up to the next level of scouts by learning about the next level & doing various activities with girls in the level younger & older).


A lock-in at a mall might be similar to what our girls do. They just might be using a meeting room in a mall. There is also a Council's Own badge that is about shopping & many malls have fitness trails. So there any number of reasons for a mall sleepover.


BTW - My girls always went "real" camping at both Council camps & state parks along with various lock-ins. I am also looking into a museum lock-in for our Cub Pack.


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As a former Girl Scout myself, and current Cub Scout leader, I'm not sure how I would feel about a co-ed program for the younger kids. Boys and girls learn differently, they play differently, and they interact with each other differently. I think the entire scouting experience would have to be changed to accomodate a girls' interests as well, and that would diminish Lord Baden-Powell's vision. Speaking from only my limited experience, the third-grade boys I see each week don't want to hang out with girls. They don't play with them at recess during school, and they stay away from "girl" activities after school.

That's not to say that there may be girls out there who have had a bad experience with Girl Scouting and would welcome the challenge of Boy Scouts, but that's a failing of the leadership, not the GSUSA program. In fact, one of my Bear scouts has a twin sister who has asked repeatedly if she can be a Cub Scout, because we do more fun stuff than the Brownies do. That's her leader's fault.

My brother was a Cub Scout, as well as a Boy Scout for a few years. Not once did I want to be a Boy Scout! I went outdoor camping, attended the Snowflake Jamboree in February, went to summer camp, learned to sail, all that great stuff that the boys do. I just did it with Girl Scouts.

Frankly, Eamonn, I am surprised you would welcome it. From reading some of your other posts I was sure you'd weigh in on the side of "CHANGE? We can't have that!" ;-)



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Two "European-style" Scouting programs open to both girls and boys will soon be available to Americans.


One is "Independent Pathfinders," an American program offered through the North American "World Federation of Independent Scouts" (WFIS-NA) based in Canada. The other is the Baden-Powell Scout Association (BPSA-USA) based in Texas.


Both programs use Baden-Powell's Scouting program, in which a sponsoring organization's unit called a "Group." A Group is divided into various "Sections," typically "Beavers" or "Otters" for ages 5-7; Timber Wolves for ages 8-10; Pathfinders for ages 11-13 or 14; Senior Pathfinders for ages 13-18; and Rovers for over age 17 or 18 with no upper age limit.


Independent Scouting offers all age Sections. In this program, a Troop may be all male, all female, or mixed. For the American editions of the various Section handbooks and the rules & regulations, called "Policy, Organization, and Rules" (PO&R) see:




The BPSA-USA will initially offer only the following Sections: "Scouts" ages 10&1/2 - 13, "Senior Scouts" ages 13-18, and "Rovers" ages 18 and over.


BPSA-USA Groups may have a male Troop and/or a female Troop. These Troops can meet and camp together or separately, but they must be able to function independently of each other. BPSA-USA is based strictly on the Patrol System which requires the least amount of adult interference possible, therefore absolutely precluding mixed Patrols of boys and girls.


Some details can be found at:




and the UK version at:




Some Sponsoring Organizations currently sponsor both a BSA Troop and a Baden-Powell Rover Crew for people over 18. Likewise it would be possible for a Sponsoring Organization to sponsor a BSA Troop for its boys, and a BPSA-USA Troop for its girls.


To prove that the programs are equitable, your sponsoring organization might stage a "Girls Against the Boy Scouts Traditional Scouting Skills Competition." The girls would have the edge here, since this program still uses all of the required Scouting skills that were "modernized" out of the BSA program, including the ability to follow a mile-long trail of Woodcraft Signs, Kim's Game, and Signalling (Morse, Semaphore, and/or Indian Sign Language or ASL). And since retesting of the previous award's abilities is required to pass Second and First Class, the girls' retention of other Scouting skills (like remembering how to tie the sheepshank) might stay with them longer than the boys as well.


Of course, some other countries scouting organizations dont have a Cooking Merit Badge or Proficiency Badge.


Typically Baden-Powell programs have two Cooking Proficiency Badges: "Cook" for Scouts, see:




And "Leading Cook" for Senior Scouts, see:




Also, "Leave No Trace" or Low Impact Camping, can be thrown out, as some European Scouting units set up a small village in the camping areas.


That may or may not be true for WOSM associations, but American Traditional Scouting Associations include LNT. Independent Pathfinders First Class requirement #1 reads "1. Camp as a Pathfinder for at least 12 nights. Explain the principles of the "Leave No Trace" program."


The BPSA-USA incorporates LNT into all outdoor advancement requirements, for instance 2nd Class requirement #1:


1. Camp with your Patrol for a minimum of ten nights outdoors. Explain how you used "Leave No Trace" principles to minimize the impact of your campsites on the local wildlife and environment. Keep a detailed camp logbook and show it to your Patrol Leader.


On another note, some countries have many different Scouting organizations, but only the first official Scouting Organization in each country is invited to the World Jamboree.


There are alternative World Jamborees for non-WOSM members.


This point just to say, the BSA has evolved into our current program, and we seem to be pretty darn good program right now.


It is a great program but not for everybody, girls for instance.


Boys and girls learn differently, they play differently, and they interact with each other differently.


In the BPSA-USA model, boys and girls form separate Troops which may or may not meet together. The program is identical.


I think the entire scouting experience would have to be changed to accommodate a girls' interests as well, and that would diminish Lord Baden-Powell's vision.


Baden-Powell had great empathy for girls who aspired to be women with outdoor capabilities (he eventually married one). He initially spoke very favorably of girls who formed Patrols using his book Scouting for Boys:


"In fact as early as 1907, in his first Boy Scouts' Scheme pamphlet, he had

described Scouting as the basis 'for an attractive organization and valuable

training for girls'. In 'The Scout' in May 1908, he asked rhetorically under

his own name" 'CAN GIRLS BE SCOUTS?' and replied firmly, 'I think girls can get

just as much healthy fun out of Scouting as boys can...and prove themselves

good Scouts in a very short time.' By September 1908 his enthusiasm for Girl

Scouts had not diminished. 'I have had several quite pathetic letters from

little girls asking me if they may share the delights of a Scouting life with

the boys. But of course they may! I am always glad to hear of girls' patrols

being formed...' This contrasts strangely with the official historian's [Rose

Kerr] contention that, from the beginning, Baden-Powell thought it 'obvious

that the girls' movement...must be run separately from that of the boys...and

find a name of its own'.


"Until now, he has never been credited with having initially envisaged a

programme virtually identical for boys and girls. Since Baden-Powell's

regimental days, he had urged men to learn the traditionally feminine skills of

cooking and sewing. For the daughters of leisured families to learn to do the

same, so that they would not have to depend upon servants for their very

survival, seemed sound common sense to him. And if Scouting could confer

character upon men, why should it not do the same for women who, in his

opinion, were unnecessarily mollycoddled and therefore ruined as companions for

men? They needed social graces and more of Olave's [b-P's wife]sporting and

outdoor capabilities [from Baden-Powell by Tim Jeal]."


In this (as in other topics) B-P was too progressive for his time. Social condemnation over the "coarsening of young ladies" forced him to invent a watered-down program called the Girl Guides. His sister Agnes was blamed for going too far in this direction, and this became a factor in the messy business of taking it away from Agnes and giving it to Olave, as detailed in a chapter on the subject of girls and Scouting in Jeal's biography:


"To blacken Agnes's reputation further, Olave unblushingly wrote about

[Agnes's] 1912 'Handbook' as if her husband had never had anything to do with

it. 'Robin and I called it 'The Little Blue Muddly', ' she wrote in her autobiography.

Muddles there undoubtedly were, but largely because a Movement based

upon adventure had through no fault of Agnes's been watered down to suit

the cautious inclinations of influential Edwardians. Agnes had demonstrated

considerable skill in sitting on a far from stable fence, buffeted on one side

by the suffragettes and on the other by reactionaries."





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