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Why not girls or atheists?

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I wouldn't take the daily mail seriously on anything. They spin what they want to tell the story they want. In this case that story is "things ain't want they used to be". Their best stunt recently was when they used words like "vile" and "sick" when Radio 4 broadcast extracts from a book that the mail had described as "brilliant" and mischievous" prior to it being associated with the BBC.


Anyway according to the 2011 census 75% of the population had some form of religious belief. Religion has no doubt declined, particularly in the last 20 years, but it's far from terminal.


Back to the topic, I'd advise you to get to understand firstly the different attitude to discussing religion that our American cousins have. They are far more open about it than we are in the uk where frankly we are pretty awkward about it. Secondly read up on the chartering system that BSA have. It will explain a lot about why change has been and will continue to be rather slow. Finally as I said above, take the time to take a look around and engage with folks on other topics. You will find the natives here (mostly) friendly and welcoming and certainly I have got some good ideas that I have applied in the UK.


Feel free to be open about your opinions (I share yours on inclusivity and regulars will be aware of that) but remember that you are the internet equivalent of a guest in another country.

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Peregrinator writes: So atheists get attacked when they attack what others hold dear? And this is news? It's called blowback.   No, it's when atheists demand equal rights, they often get death th

Peregrinator writes: Opposing the public expression of religion is not demanding equal rights.   Good non-sequitur. None of the cited cases are opposed to the public expression of religion. ca

I have 2 atheist scouts in my Bear Den. I am a Christian, as that is what others have labeled me as, and I will never deny the scout experience from a boy. Period!!! Girls have GSUSA or AHG or Ve

'skip and tyke, there's no "US" in the URL, so as far as I'm concerned, we Yanks are only "native" by virture of numbers ... and we happen to be closer geographically to the webmaster. On or two of us actually are interested in our impression on the rest of the world, so thanks.


... The fun loving youth leader being derived from a pastor is very different from the UK' date=' as kids don't go to church ... they are never going to meet there pastor, let alone do any fun things with them. ....[/quote']


It's much harder to paint the US with one brush like that. But, let me clarify the concept a little more. The "youth" in "youth pastor" is a position, not an adjective. It is a person (other than the head pastor) who churches employ to invest in youth as an service to the community at large. So in a demographic like yours, the man or woman (who may be young, but may also be a retiree) would be expected to form a group with primarily unchurched children. Churches often have basketball courts or great rooms that are larger than their sanctuary, so the physical structure is a natural draw.


So, in that sense, American youth ministries are vying with scouts for the same population. The distinction being that the average youth ministry keeps the door open to atheists, as well as others. With the mainstreaming of atheism, I don't see this changing much, as secular families sometimes purchase space for weekly gatherings as well, and do develop youth programs for the communities in which they live. Sometimes these "newcomers" get press by someone wanting to inflame controversy, but this is nothing new ... imitating a grand tradition while trying to dodge its weighty theological underpinnings. It's the hallmark of many an American movement.


The bottom line: many of my youth (Catholics and Orthodox being a prominent exception) never actually interact with their pastor. In fact, for some of them, it's the scouting program that motivates that first face-to-face discussion. For example, one youth of mine started on earning a religious Bronze award, one requirement of which was to interview their clergy about their responsibilities as a minister and what it took to obtain their position.


Scouting UK is a strange place too regarding uniforms' date=' as lots of the 'old guard' like the kids to wear full uniform at all times, nicely ironed. where as lots of the newer leaders and the uk commissioners prefer a more modern image, neckers and hoodies.[/quote']


For half of our members, it seems, getting to dress up like a third-world general is BSA's appeal.

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OK, I guess the Daily Mail must be your version of National Enquirer, neither of which I read. But the question that tyke seems to wonder about has a simple but complex answer and we 'dance' around this topic all the time (and I have tried to figure out how to make a sub-forum but continue to fail at the attempt) and that answer is simply 'religion', at least for membership by gays. The girl membership thing is more political, I think, but then I don't think about it much, lol. Gay membership restrictions are, OTOH, almost completely founded in religious beliefs which, because of that reverence law, we 'discuss' with great difficulty.

Cambridgeskip is probably correct that change will take time but remember how recently I thought that even the changes that HAVE occurred would take a lot longer than the did.

As I tell my students, predictions about the future that extend more than a year or so into the future very rapidly accrue uncertainty. We suck at making predictions.

So we just plug away, each of us like the good 'natives' that we are(lol), 'Doing Our Best' to achieve our goals and the entire system moves like herd of turtles one way or the other.

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Apologies for the use of the term "natives". I should have remembered that it has slightly more sensitive contatations your side of the Atlantic! Let's pretend I said "locals" instead?


As for the Daily Mail.... not really National Enquirier. The Sun is more like that. ie more of a comic. No The Daily Mail is more like Fox News. Rabidly right wing and notorious for barely veiled racism, xenophobia, homophobia, islamophobia and sexism. An utterly appalling publication (in my opinion) that continues to sell by the millions for reasons I can't figure out.


Probably their lowest point came a few years ago. Not far from Cambridge is the town of Ipswich. Not somewhere you're likely to have heard of. A medium sized maket town where nothing much ever happens. It hit the headlines when a serial killer started murdering prostitutes. He killed 5 of them in the space of a few weeks. The Mail published a piece by one of their more nortorious columnists Richard Littlejohn (he lives in Florida, he's all yours, I don't want him back in my country) that described 5 young women butally murdered as "No great loss" and "Hardly Mother Theresa".

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As a gay' date=' atheist scout leader that has 3 girls in his troop it does feel a bit random reading some of the comments here. Scouting in the UK has had an open to all policy for years where no one is left out and I believe scouting has benefited for it. I bet if any of the scouts came to over to our troop they'd not see much difference, we still go camping, play with axes, knives, fire, play rough games etc. As an outsider looking in the BSA seems to come across as very serious, conservative and stuffy, if you look on the website the head scout is wearing a suit, in the UK anyone from scouting that appears in the media, including the chief scout, never wears uniform its generally a necker and hoody, and this is backed up by the media policy given to all leader to encourage a more relaxed atmosphere, as the stuffy image of tucked in ironed shirts puts kids off. It seems to be working as scouting UK is growing not declining.[/quote']





I'm going to let you in on an open secret. In the United States, non-profit organizations, especially those that have a nationwide presence, are, by and large, businesses first. Though the Chief Scout Executive does wear a uniform on occasion, his day to day uniforming is a suit and tie because he spends most of his day running a multi-million dollar business.


People disagree with me every time I say it but I'm not going to back down from it because it's so obvious. The BSA is the non-profit equivalent of McDonalds. The way it charters units, the control it wields over programming, advancement and volunteer policies, the way it controls the official supply line, is no different than the way McDonalds franchises it's stores.


The BSA has developed a business model that is working for them. The BSA knows who its audience is and right now their business model doesn't need girls or athiests or gay leaders to remain marginally successful. I use the term marginally successful because I believe the veneer of success is being propped up by council mergers and camp sales. At some point, the BSA will have to adapt, or go out of business.

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However the fundamental difference between bsa and mcds is quality control. Many laugh at my next statement, but it is true... Mcds quality control system is one of the best in the world. The controls they employ ensure customers will recieve identical products regardless of which time, day, or location. BSA suffers from a significant lack of any quality control.

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<< The BSA is the non-profit equivalent of McDonalds. The way it charters units, the control it wields over programming, advancement and volunteer policies, the way it controls the official supply line, is no different than the way McDonalds franchises it's stores. >>



Actually, BSA exercises very little control over program, advancement and volunteer policies.


Units can decide for themselves whether they want to participate in BSA advancement at all, and can use their own standards for awading badges if they wish, or create awards of their own.


Registration of a few adults is required, but after that additional adults can do most things in a unit. The "way it charters units" is that pretty much any group of adults can be a "chartered organization."

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Are we talking about the same program? Have you ever read the Guide to Safe Scouting? Can you seriously tell us that the G2SS doesn't have a significant impact on programming in the Boy Scouts?


Have you read the book on advancement? It reads like a military or tech manual with numbers like to headline paragraphs. Can you seriously tell us that guide doesn't have a significant impact on advancment in the BSA? That book pretty much defines the standards for awarding badges and about the only real leeway it gives units is the ability to define what active means in regards to PORs. I'd love to see a unit try to argue that they decided their Scouts only needed to earn 12 merit badges for Eagle Scout or a unit try to subsitutute Orienteering Merit Badge as a replacement for Citizenship in the World merit badge as a required Eagle Scout badge because Orienteering skills are more important and see how far they get.


Have you read the Declaration of Religious Principles that are required to be followed to be a Volunteer? Can you seriously tell us that has no impact on volunteer policies?



The only real difference between McDonalds and the BSA is that McDonalds is less willing to compromise their quality for the sake of the almight dollar.

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Calico, for precisly these reason you state are why eagle scouts get a leg up. Becuase of the defined program.


A 15 year old eagle scout did several measurable activities, has a standardized set of base knowledge. has put in a specific set of dues in blood sweat and tears.


15 year old Black belts - Did they all do the same program do they all have the same knowledge? Even in the same form? No nothing is standardized.


Both are great programs but only one is measurable to a complete outsider.




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Just because the corporation (BSA) has things in writing, requirements, guides, etc... in absence of real oversight, training, and accountability there is little impact (in a positive direction) on programming at the unit level.


BSA in general does not care about their product, only their brand. Unfortunately this shortsightedness IS affecting their brand. They just don't see it (yet). In 20 years, people will wonder what happened to the Boy Scouts, we will hear comments like; "they (Scouts) used to be really good at doing things for themselves, now it seems like everyone gets the badge." or "Boy Scouts, yeah... they used to do fun adventurous things, now mommy and daddy do all their requirements in a workbook."

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