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Stosh

Alrighty Then, Now That We Have That Settled....

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I like the way it is set up now.  Elementary and Middle School youth wouldn't do well with co-ed, but Venturing requires a HS/College level maturity to make it work effectively.

 

I've been a Cubmaster for several years now (I decided not to bridge when my son did).

As a matter of full disclosure, I do also have a daughter of Cub Scout age.

 

Now, all that said, I'll respecfully partially disagree.

 

Other than a few changes to some of the skits, I honestly don't see any reason why elementary School aged girls could not be Cub Scouts.  Programatically, there is nothing they couldn't do, and the only even close challenge would be Webelos Camping (and at that age, even that would not really be an issue with proper, YPT, adult supervision).  The reality is that families are alreadly allowed to fully participate, so the only real difference would be uniforms and advancement.

My daughter's Girl Scout Troop is very outdoor oriented, and expect most would drop the GSA program in favor of the Cub Scouts (other than GSA fund raising is much easier).  I expect all of them will be easily encouraged to Venturing when they turn 14.

 

Boy Scouts, on the other hand, I am honestly much more apprehensive about - not because the girls couldn't do It.  I know girls in one of my Explorer (at the time) units, that would put Eagle Scouts to shame with their skills (go Post 122!).  As politically incorrect as it is to say so, but there is a point where the boys need to be boys without the girls.  (I expect girls have a similar need, but I haven't gotten there yet with my family experience).  Between puberty, discovering girls, and just generally trying to find their place - the boys should be allowed to have something of their own.  I could not abide Scouting if, like the schools, they effectvely require us to medicate our boys so they can be more attentive like the girls of that age.

 

I honestly don't know how to resolve that with my own feelings that disrimination, even justifiable gender discrimination, is generally unacceptable.  It is also not as fair that the Girl Scout award (Gold?!) does not seem to carry the same communitty awe that an Eagle award does.  Could separate troops work - probably; maybe even separate patrols - not sure about Troop Leadership then.  I guess my opinions here are more maliable; but if we did let them do Cub Scouts and we do let them Venture, we have to give them something to do imbetween.

 

As for when, Probably more than 5 years; social opinons on GLBT issues moved very fast in the last decade and we could not keep up; Gender issuse seem largely settled (i.e. discrimination is wrong); however, youth programs in general seem to get a pass, understanding the different needs of boys and girls in those age ranges.

 

I expect that the bigger challenge in the next 5 years will be religion.  Here too, the social opinions are moving faster than the Boys Scouts can.  Clearly the more liberal elements of politics and media are not happy that even the "local option" exists.  They do not understand the structure of the Boy Scouts, where some units are in fact extensions' of a Church's ministry and not open communitty groups.  BSAs public relations people have been competely unable to get on top of this, and at this point I don't think they ever will.  I'm not sure where the tipping point was, when it became discrimination against GLBT (moving to unacceptable) and switching to discrimination against religeous beliefs (or beliefs at all) becomming acceptable.  Nationwide, we lost the ability to find common ground, there might have been a point once - Scouts are just one of the many battle grounds, along with bakers, flourists, photographers, B&B owners, etc.

 

For the Scouts, how fast this occurs will depend on the Religeous Chartering Organizations, if they leave en mass as a result of the local option, those left behind will be less attached to strict adherence in the interpretation of a Duty to God, and it will be easier (or possilbly even necessary for survival) for the program to drop or amend that requirement, and it will happen sooner rather than later.  If they stay with the Scouts it will be a longer fight, and the results may be that like many of the small business pressed on GLBT issues, that it may choose to shut down, or become exclusively attached to religeous ministries, rather than adhere to what will be required. 

 

It will start with the tax exempt status, based on the 1983 Bob Jones' University decision, the Scouts, and maybe even Churches themselves will lose their tax exempt status on the basis that holding that the religion clauses of the First Amendment did not prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from revoking the tax exempt status of a [religious university] whose practices are contrary to a compelling government public policy, such as eradicating racial discrimination.  Replace religeous university with institution or organization and racial discrimination with any discrimination.  On the positive side, inspite of the Court's recent rulling on Marriage Equality, in general, this court has been inclined to protect the objections of Religeous Institutions to intrusive government policies, but I can't honestly expect that will last indefinately.

 

It this a bad thing?  Is there a middle ground?  We had better find it before the courts do.

 

On this issue, I have said before, and will reiterate, that at the Boy Scout age through early college, many youth question their religeous upbringing as they question other aspects of their life, and their role in the world.  This enevitably leads many to self describe as agnostic or atheistic, even if not fully understanding either the terms or their own "spirituality" and beliefs.  I personally view that Scouts could help in this regard, without evangelizing a particular faith structure, but by being good role models who do have a belief structure, we help the Scouts to find that there is value in having one of their own.  By being welcoming we engage those searching for answers ranther than drive them further away.  As a result, I personally believe that the membership should not be restrictive, that atheists and agnostics be allowed in, as long as they understand that the organization does not shy away from a spirituality component.  They can be members, but maybe advancement might require something more.

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Alot of girls do boy scout stuff "under the table" so to speak meaning they participate in their brothers troop but are not official. One girl won our pinewood derby.

 

And thats a big one, the pinewood derby. Just why dont more girl scout troops do it?

The girl scouts have the Powder Puff Derby, and our cub scout pack had plenty of female siblings building and racing cars. But I have been told that a lot of girl scout leaders think building and racing cars is too "masculine", so they look for more "feminine" activities.

 

There are a lot of parents that are concerned with guiding their children into "gender appropriate" activities (my daughter isn't allowed to play basketball, that's too masculine - she can play volleyball instead. My son isn't allowed to sing in the school musical, it's too girly.).

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Yes the rest of the world makes it work, but a lot of them tend to be much less uptight and fear driven then we are. Boys and girls tenting together? Sure. Boys and girls changing in front of each other? No big deal. I have even read articles that claim that German coed scout troops will go skinny dipping together (I have no idea if that claim is true - but since Germany is the land of coed locker rooms, nude sunbathing in city parks, and no clothing allowed coed hot tubs and saunas - I do find it somewhat believable).

 

 

 

 

One of my young leaders (explorer scout that is a trainee leader with scouts) is half German and when she's in Germany attends a troop in Berlin. She's quite interesting to talk to, and I'd say even if that is true of German scouts you have to remember that they run very differently to the rest of Europe. History means that Germans are very uncomfortable and suspicious of uniformed youth groups. That means that scouting there is very informal and relaxed with very few members even owning a uniform. My scout despite being one of the most imaculately turned out scout in terms of uniform when she's here doesn't own a German uniform.

 

It's variable from country to country on tenting arrangements.They are more relaxed about it in Scandinavia, in the UK it's allowed but not recommended and in practice happens vanishingly rarely although you MUST have single sex changing and showering facilities. In other countries it is simply not allowed. 

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On this issue, I have said before, and will reiterate, that at the Boy Scout age through early college, many youth question their religeous upbringing as they question other aspects of their life, and their role in the world.  This enevitably leads many to self describe as agnostic or atheistic, even if not fully understanding either the terms or their own "spirituality" and beliefs.  I personally view that Scouts could help in this regard, without evangelizing a particular faith structure, but by being good role models who do have a belief structure, we help the Scouts to find that there is value in having one of their own.  By being welcoming we engage those searching for answers ranther than drive them further away.  As a result, I personally believe that the membership should not be restrictive, that atheists and agnostics be allowed in, as long as they understand that the organization does not shy away from a spirituality component.  They can be members, but maybe advancement might require something more.

I think the boy/girl thing gets a pass because we're used to seeing it in sports.  This Pew study, http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/, suggests the fastest and only growing demographic in the religious landscape is "none/other" which includes atheists, agnostics, nothing in particular under both religion is important and not important categories.  In fact, that demographic made up 23% of the overall survey results (second only to evangelical Christians).  Of that 23%, 70% are adults under 50 and 32% are adults under 30.  Given the logic for the current change was basically changing social mores, and we can't afford to ignore that large of our target parent demographic, the God change will come quickly.  Besides, the local option will already be established as the new normal.

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Can we please keep religion in a religion thread?  There are already 500 of them.

 

Would BSA put them out of business by taking all of their youth or would they put them out of business by merging with them?

GSUSA is facing huge internal opposition to its program changes, backlash to its increasingly leftist politics, backlash and cookie boycotts over property sell-offs (1/3 of camps), and mega-councils (312 down to 112). This article looks like the most non-partisan report covering most of those major issues (except the social/political stuff, which might be their bias): https://philanthropy.com/article/FinancialLeadership-Woes/155055

27% membership loss in the past 10 yrs, ~26% from 2003-2013. BSA has membership problems, but from 2003 to 2013, it was significantly less at 18%

So, my opinion is that girls would flock to BSA. BSA has moved far enough on the social issues that the reasonable liberals in GSUSA can be comfortable with it, and retains (for now) the focus on traditional outdoor skills that so many GSUSA members are upset GS is scrapping.

GSUSA would not merge with BSA, the organization's politics are too far apart.  While GSUSA has made God optional, BSA is increasing religion in the program.  GSUSA is intent upon de-emphasizing outdoors in its main program, while BSA is keeping "modern" stuff on the periphery via optional awards and separate programs.  etc etc  A merger is a long way away.  But, who knows, money talks.

BSA has looming issues very similar to GSUSA's but is holding out better. National should take a good hard look at what GSUSA's program changes have done to GSUSA, and what its own similar program changes of the 1970s did to us. Girls leaving the program that GSUSA is "improving" would be very attracted to the program BSA has but is increasingly (and stupidly) looking to "improve."

**Full disclosure: Most of these articles say GS peaked at 3.8 mil in 2003, one is saying they had 2.8 in 2003, they all agree on ~25% loss in the past 10 years.
 

------

 

It's variable from country to country on tenting arrangements.They are more relaxed about it in Scandinavia, in the UK it's allowed but not recommended and in practice happens vanishingly rarely although you MUST have single sex changing and showering facilities. In other countries it is simply not allowed.

Balderdash, it is a well-known fact that all Europe is a nude utopia.
In all seriousness, if changing facilities are segregated, am I to take it that girls may tent with boys, but must go change their clothes somewhere else?  What's the point?

 

------
 
My problems with including girls (I'll take a serious crack now that some less firebrand posters have made their cases) are basically two:
1. Discrimination is Good. The basis of girl inclusion for so many people is that "it's discrimination!" but that objection is illegitimate.
Our society, including many social conservatives, has bought into the false idea that all discrimination is bad and only bad people discriminate. You discriminate every day, I discriminate every day, President Obama discriminates as much as Nathan B Forrest. Discrimination is biological and evolutionary and cannot be scrubbed from humanity; it can only be subdued by breaking humanity with the power of the state making biology illegal.
Some discrimination is good, which is why we say someone has "discriminating tastes." I am no prude, but I do not like copious profanity; I do not spend a lot of time around vulgar people because I do not want to become vulgar; I have stopped seeing friends who drink too much or use drugs because I have no desire for that in my life—I discriminate against them. BSA discriminates against criminals—ah!, you say, "but they're criminals! You can't compare girls to criminals!" No, criminals are human beings just like girls are human beings, and I have met some very charming, intellectual, thoughtful criminals. But the fact of their humanity is not grounds for registering them: they are outside what we're doing, and girls are outside what we're doing.

All clubs discriminate.  Every club exists for a reason, and anyone who falls outside that interest is discriminated against.  BSA is a voluntary association, it is a private organization. It is not a public accommodation. It exists for a specific purpose to serve a specific group of people who wish to be served by it. It's "aims" (mission) have changed over the past century, but it's purpose is to achieve its aims in boys. Discriminating against girls is not a matter of misogyny; that is, it is not bad discrimination. It is discrimination that allows for a specific purpose to be achieved by specific means ("methods") that work with the people—boys—that we aim to achieve our goals in. That girls are not the people in whom we are attempting to achieve our aims is not bad because they do not have any right or expectation to our association, just as no one has a right to your association if you do not want them at your dining room table.

2. Girls are different than boys, in the aggregate.  Girls are not as strong as boys, they're physically smaller, they're more empathetic, they're more social, they're more verbal, their faces have a greater range of emotional expression, their brains have different physiology, and on and on.
Girls are different from boys mentally and physiologically.  They are motivated by different things.  They are not competitive in the ways boys are competitive  They seek personal fulfillment in different ways than boys do.  They view success in different ways than boys do.
(And here we must note that your tomboy daughter is not an argument against the bell curve, she is an outlier, and policies are not made on outliers)
Some proponents of girls in Boy Scouts do not accept that girls and boys are different because their conception of equality is sameness; that is, difference=inequality, equal=identical.  Equality of outcomes (leftism) vs. equality of opportunity (classic Liberalism).  They do not accept hard-science fact that men and women are different, and instead insist that all difference is culturally-based via misogynist patriarchal programming of children and societies.  Gender difference, they say, can (and should!) be wiped away by changing the environment (society, family, school, etc).  They insist that there are no girl toys or boy toys, male clothes or female clothes, women can do anything as well as men, etc.
But then they turn around and if a boy plays with girl toys, wants to grow his hair long, puts on makeup, and says he's a girl—all gender "stereotypes" that they hold abhorrent—they insist that that boy is a girl because he's doing girl things.
Transgendered people take hormones precisely because males and females are physiologically and psychologically different.  Chaz Bono sums it up well: After beginning testosterone, he became less verbal and got more annoyed with his girlfriend's constant talking, his sex drive increased, he lost fat and gained muscle, became more irritable, felt anger more sharply, became more analytical in his thinking, etc.  Changing his physiology through hormones changed his emotions and logic.  But in recognizing and daring to speak these facts about gender difference, he is himself labeled misogynist by the kind of people who think transgendered people should change their bodies in the first place.
 
There is no logically sound argument of the sameness of boys and girls.  Only gymnastic adherence to an unscientific ideology.
 
Because of these differences, Boy Scouts cannot serve both boys and girls with the same methods and achieve the greatest success for boys and girls.  Boys need spaces to be boys, girls need spaces to be girls.  Boys need different support than girls and vice versa.  Boys need leaders who understand how boys think, play, interact, grow, what motivates them, and who understand those intrinsically-boy traits for the biological fact and intrinsic good that they are. 
Boys need a place for those traits to be expressed without inhibition, and developed (and yes sometimes tempered!).  They cannot do that in the presence of girls, for whom they automatically censor themselves, put on masks, put on shows.
 
If Boy Scouts goes coed, program alterations will begin at that very moment because boys and girls are different.  Girl-centric mandates will be put in place, girl-centric options will be put in place, physical standards will be relaxed across the board or dual (sexist) standards put in place.  Difficult treks, rough games?  Scaled back.  Because if a girl can't do it, then it's exclusionary, but girls cannot match boys physically.  (Again, your tomboy daughter does not represent all girls, and she has a place in Venturing).
 
Now, ask yourself why this is even a question?  Why aren't we ever discussing "when is the retrograde GSUSA going to include boys?"  For the same reason that we ask "why are there so few female engineers" but never "why are there so few female garbage collectors?"  It's not a question of equality, it's a question of elevation and of cultural re-programming. 
It is assumed that BSA is a fortress of privilege or (ironically enough) the gold-standard because it is for boys, and that for girls to be equal they must be allowed into a boys organization, but never the other way around.  Coed Boy Scouts alongside single-sex Girl Scouts is not equality, it is special treatment of girls, and if we go coed without GSUSA (the only way it will happen anytime soon) you will see that anyone who suggests that GSUSA fold, merge, or also become coed will be labeled misogynist or bigot. 
The arguments are revealed to be false because they only go one way given two organizations that discriminate in exactly the same way.
 
Girls are already equal.  They have the same rights to free association as boys (and it is not boys' fault or problem if it is hard to start your own club); they have their own club; they have the ability to try to shape their own club to their vision if they don't like it how it is.
If people feel that BSA is better and girls are being denied our experience, it is does not follow to break Boy Scouts because Girl Scouts is broken.  There is no right to be a Boy Scout.
 
Arguments of convenience are truly disappointing.  They come from people whose understanding of Boy Scouts must be that it is nothing more than one more extra-curricular, a camping club.  Scouting's promise to boys is not "somewhere I can keep my kid busy for 2 hours" and therefore something you open up to girls "because I don't have time to drive to two places."  And when large numbers of those people enroll their non-tomboy girls, they will change the program to suit those girls because they do not understand that everything we do is done toward a specific aim and done in a certain way to achieve that aim in boys.

Edited by Scouter99
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Yes the rest of the world makes it work, but a lot of them tend to be much less uptight and fear driven then we are. Boys and girls tenting together? Sure. Boys and girls changing in front of each other? No big deal. I have even read articles that claim that German coed scout troops will go skinny dipping together (I have no idea if that claim is true - but since Germany is the land of coed locker rooms, nude sunbathing in city parks, and no clothing allowed coed hot tubs and saunas - I do find it somewhat believable).

Not true as far as I've seen. Stationed there 10 years and involved with scouting there. Never saw coed scout groups doing that. Saw others doing it, but not too often.

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If you dont believe Boy and girl Scouts are different just look at this LINK to the Boy scouts camping "store". Now look at the LINK to the Girl scouts "camping" store. The boys offer tons more for camping, backpacking, and fishing. However, for the girl scouts its getting better. 5 years ago all you would have seen on the girl scout side was clothes.

 

And amazing! For the first time since 1970 their is an official girl scout knife!

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Very true SpEdScouter, that is the reason there are girls who want to be in boy scouts not girl scouts, because girl scouts does not offer them what they want. That is also the reason co-ed boy scouts will probably have little effect on the membership numbers of girl scouts, because a lot of those in girl scouts are in a group they prefer.

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The girl scouts have the Powder Puff Derby, and our cub scout pack had plenty of female siblings building and racing cars. But I have been told that a lot of girl scout leaders think building and racing cars is too "masculine", so they look for more "feminine" activities.

 

There are a lot of parents that are concerned with guiding their children into "gender appropriate" activities (my daughter isn't allowed to play basketball, that's too masculine - she can play volleyball instead. My son isn't allowed to sing in the school musical, it's too girly.).

You mean their dads made the cars right :-)

 

I always wanted to pull the boy aside shine a bright light on them and ask them have they seen this car before this morning :-)

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You mean their dads made the cars right :-)

 

I always wanted to pull the boy aside shine a bright light on them and ask them have they seen this car before this morning :-)

When is was working in the pits for our district pinewood derby, I was running the lubrication station (that is where we retrieve the cars from impound and allow the owners to add graphite lube to the wheels), a cub came up with his dad. The boy tried to pickup the car but dad didn't let him. As dad was lubing the car, the cub (I think he was a wolf) looked at me and said rather sadly "he never lets me touch the car". Dad's reply was "I let you pick the color". I wanted to smack that dad and tell him "this isn't the point of all this!".

Edited by Rick_in_CA

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My problems with including girls (I'll take a serious crack now that some less firebrand posters have made their cases) are basically two:

 

2. Girls are different than boys, in the aggregate.  Girls are not as strong as boys, they're physically smaller, they're more empathetic, they're more social, they're more verbal, their faces have a greater range of emotional expression, their brains have different physiology, and on and on.

Girls are different from boys mentally and physiologically.  They are motivated by different things.  They are not competitive in the ways boys are competitive  They seek personal fulfillment in different ways than boys do.  They view success in different ways than boys do.

(And here we must note that your tomboy daughter is not an argument against the bell curve, she is an outlier, and policies are not made on outliers)

Some proponents of girls in Boy Scouts do not accept that girls and boys are different because their conception of equality is sameness; that is, difference=inequality, equal=identical.  Equality of outcomes (leftism) vs. equality of opportunity (classic Liberalism).  They do not accept hard-science fact that men and women are different, and instead insist that all difference is culturally-based via misogynist patriarchal programming of children and societies.  Gender difference, they say, can (and should!) be wiped away by changing the environment (society, family, school, etc).   

...

Arguments of convenience are truly disappointing. .

Different or not, that does not mean, for better or for worse that they are allowed to be treated differently or have different opportunites in the current political environment.

 

While the private sector still has more legal options, they are dwindling; but as a society we don't like to treat the genders separately, even when there is justification.

For example, under Federal Funding guidelines for medical research; I could have a perfectly effective cancer treatment that worked on men, but it would not receive funding if it did not also work (maybe not as well, but at least to some significant degree) for women; unless the treatement was very specific to male and/or female only anatomy, and even then under limited circumstances.

 

The problem with most of these arguments, is even asking to have the conversation about the issue (societially) will label you as being out of step.  Someone to be shunned, villified, or someone who should be lynched (in the world of public opinion, and sometimes even literally).

 

We have lost our ability to be civil about our disagreements; we have to punish the opposition (regardless of which side we were on).  And until we figure out how to return from that ... well I guess I just don't know.

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When is was working in the pits for our district pinewood derby, I was running the lubrication station (that is where we retrieve the cars from impound and allow the owners to add graphite lube to the wheels), a cub came up with his dad. The boy tried to pickup the car but dad didn't let him. As dad was lubing the car, the cub (I think he was a wolf) looked at me and said rather sadly "he never lets me touch the car". Dad's reply was "I let you pick the color". I wanted to smack that dad and tell him "this isn't the point of all this!".

Ugh, that is so sad.

 

Our pack, we decided to bring band saws to a campout 3 weeks before the derby and we let the boys design and cut it out.  That mostly helps.

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I wanted to smack that dad and tell him "this isn't the point of all this!".

Aw, too bad you didn't smack him. Even worse, I wasn't there to see you smack him. :)

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Real convergence of a girls' organization and boys' organization will look something like the alliance between AHG and TL http://www.americanheritagegirls.org/media/filer_public/6f/0d/6f0d726c-54e9-4287-a085-5560f3358a72/ahg-tlusa_moma.pdf

 

Will American Trail Heritage Life be the first all-ages coed scouting option available to more than 1000 chartering organizations the US?

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Real convergence of a girls' organization and boys' organization will look something like the alliance between AHG and TL http://www.americanheritagegirls.org/media/filer_public/6f/0d/6f0d726c-54e9-4287-a085-5560f3358a72/ahg-tlusa_moma.pdf

Will American Trail Heritage Life be the first all-ages coed scouting option available to more than 1000 chartering organizations the US?

But with a pretty specific focus. In reading that document I counted seven different reminders that someone like me would not be welcome in their group. Not that I would want to join even if I were allowed to, so I'm not offended by it, mostly just amused.

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