Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
SpEdScouter

What if the Boy Scouts went coed?

Recommended Posts

Ok, let's just say for discussion sakes that they decided to make the Boy Scouts of America just "Scouting" and opened up the whole program from Cubs to Webelos to Boy Scouts open to girls too.

 

What do you think would be the biggest changes? How do you think just such a program would work out?

 

Remember Scouting has been coed in other countries for 30 years and they work it out. Also we have coed Venture crews plus many girls already participate "under the table" in cub scouts.

 

Would we say a creation of a strictly boy only program?

Would Girl Scouts survive?

 

What do you all think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've done several threads about this over the years, always a good discussion.   Long story short, I think allowing girls in the BSA would be beneficial for everyone.   It would certainly give the BSA a much needed boost of new membership and energy.  However, several respected forum members disagree, and I understand their concerns.

 

The GSA would survive.  Not in grand fashion, but much like it is now.    If the BSA went coed, the outdoor-oriented folks would move over from the GSA.   But I doubt there are many of those folks left in the GSA.  

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would certainly give the BSA a much needed boost of new membership and energy.  

These are exactly the same words that were used over and over to justify allowing gays. If this is to be a serious discussion, it needs to about how adding girls would affect the quality of the boys program, not about about trying to fix the membership decline. After all, the girls do have their own national scouting program, so it's not about them.

 

Barry

  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Barry, the GSA might be a national scouting program, but it offers little/nothing compared to the BSA.  Particularly in the outdoor arena.  Even with its evident weaknesses, the BSA is by far a better program.   My daughter, a former girl scout, has been a Venture scout for about a year.   She still talks about how much better the BSA is compared to the GSA, in every category.   Before she was old enough to be in Venturing, she counted years till she could join a crew.   To borrow her words:  "I'm tired of cookie sales and gluing popsicle sticks, I'm ready to go backpacking."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sort of agree with Eagledad that thinking of it as a way to just add numbers to the membership isn't a good way to view it.  There are things good and bad that could boost membership, and I don't think that should be the driving force behind this kind of change to the program.  I disagree that girls have a comparable scouting program and that this discussion should not be about our nation's young women.

 

Broadly, I think it has to be acknowledged that adding girls would cause changes and have both benefits and draw backs.  Which brings me to some threshold questions.  

 

We currently can only serve half of the population, is that acceptable to us?  I believe that scouting provides a real and unique benefit to the boys in it, why is it OK to not provide those benefits to girls?  I believe scouting makes not only the individuals in it stronger but our commonwealth writ large stronger, would providing its benefits to the other half of our population be an even better benefit to our commonwealth?  Finally, is there any component of our structure of Aims and Methods that we would think would not be as beneficial to the young women of our nation as it is to its young men? 

Edited by T2Eagle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not about the girls. The mission of the BSA is to develop boys into moral and ethical decision makers. Would allowing girls into the troops have a negative affect on that mission for our sons? As the father of a daughter who was in the Girls Scouts, I appreciate the motivation for improving their experience. But I would not support the merge in anyway if it reduces the quality of the boys program. I don't think many folks including me expected much of a change to the program when women were accepted into the the troop program. But after observing the program for the last 20 or so years, I believe that policy has devastated the quality of the program simply because it tripled the number of inexperienced volunteers. Are you willing to sacrifice your sons experience to get something a little better for your daughter? 

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at the BSA mission statement, it says nothing about boys.  It does say "youth".

 

Link to source

 

Mission Statement

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.

 

Vision Statement

The Boy Scouts of America will prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The new guy brings up an old discussion, but maybe there are some fresh opinions ...

 

Well, like @@desertrat77 I know of one sister who, in spite of some good years venturing, was resentful of her brothers (one older and one younger) going off camping every month.

 

That said, @@T2Eagle, for every one of those young women I know of dozens who are more than happy to hunker down in their GS troop. GSUSA will hardly feel the dent.

 

So don't think of it as providing benefits to "the other half". Maybe opportunity (assuming that all scouters would welcome such a change with enthusiasm and announce the open door to every girl and sonless mom in their community -- a big ask), but for a very long time the program will benefit boys more than girls.

 

The handbook would need a rewrite to address things like peer pressure etc... from both sex's viewpoint. A simple minded example: my most involved older venturers learned to skimp on the prom dress.

 

@@Eagledad, we might want to consider other things that lead our volunteers to continue scouting in ignorance. Foremost might be removing the 18th birthday deadline on earning Eagle. And requiring all direct contact leaders to be 1st Class Scouts.

 

My Czech scout informs me that of the four troops in his "entity" (he couldn't find the word for it, but it sounds close to what we would call very small districts), two are co-ed, one is all male, one is all female. I suspect something similar would happen here, as has happened in venturing.

 

But, as I mentioned earlier, AHG and TLUSA may beat BSA to the punch as they are working from the top down to devise common awards and representation at national activities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My biggest concern would how would the program be effected. While my time as a CS leader and family camping has lessened my concerns some about a coed program, I still have nightmares from the one trip my troop had as a youth that was a complete and utter failure because we had siblings and mothers in attendance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at the BSA mission statement, it says nothing about boys.  It does say "youth".

 

 

Thanks for the correction, but it doesn't change my point.

 

 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How many times have we read stories on these forums that end in something like "my daughter is twice the outdoorsperson than half the Eagle Scouts I know."  That would translate well to the field.  Last time I looked Venturing was the fastest shrinking of the three traditional programs. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm of two minds about this. 

1.  I feel (no data or supporting documents/study) that boys need a place to be boys.  The way they act changes when a girl is around. 

2.  I don't see a program that provides the same type of opportunities for the girls.  As a father of 2 girls, by the time they're old enough for Venturing, they're committed to other time consuming activities.

 

I think we need to look at the Scouting program in Canada & in England.  They've both been co-ed for awhile now.  How did it affect their program? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Czech scout informs me that of the four troops in his "entity" (he couldn't find the word for it, but it sounds close to what we would call very small districts), two are co-ed, one is all male, one is all female. I suspect something similar would happen here, as has happened in venturing.

 

Which goes back to the adults driving the unit.

 

I have said several times before that I believe the main reason scouting is going away from the traditional outdoor program is because fewer volunteers today have the experience of a traditional scouting program and don't understand the value of it. Adding girls would increase the likelyhood of adults with similar backgrounds to build even less traditional Boy Scout patrol method programs. I assisted Troops in our area with volunteers that no scouting experience and it was amazing the differences between their expectations and the simple activities of experienced units.

 

Adding girls would be a major change, so we should assume and consider that there would be major repercussions, good and bad.

 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

@@Eagledad, we might want to consider other things that lead our volunteers to continue scouting in ignorance. Foremost might be removing the 18th birthday deadline on earning Eagle. And requiring all direct contact leaders to be 1st Class Scouts.

 

 

Why do that? Adults should learn the Scouting skills, they don't need rewards for it. IMO this makes earning Eagle an even bigger part of the program... It shouldn't be.

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  

×