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Stosh

What if the Boy Scouts didn't go coed?

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Also removed the word Boy from the cover of the handbook and the uniform.

True...I recall some people thinking aloud that the removal was a precursor to the BSA going coed.   But I never saw or heard anything else about it.

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I don't think that Boy Scouting would change all that much from what it is now if it did not go co-ed or went back to male only, other than perhaps the loss of opportunities with the loss of female leaders (and potentially those leader's spouses) in the short run until those leaders can be replaced by trained male leaders.  Of the two possibilities though (not going co-ed being one and taking it a step further into reverting back to male only being two), I think option two is likely to cause even more harm to the public image of the Boy Scouts and could certainly affect membership numbers.  I'm just not seeing some great clamor from men saying they would love for their son(s) to be Boy Scouts, if only the BSA didn't allow female Scoutmasters. 

 

I know the 1972 changes get a bad rap from a lot of Scouters.  I went through the program with the 1972 requirements.  Some of the older Scouts were bothered by the changes at first too until our Scoutmaster took it upon himself to map out some of those changes.  It turned out that a lot of the things "missing" from those T-FC rank requirements that were familiar to those used to the old requirements ended up in the Skill Awards, and more importantly, the Skill Awards that were required, so not much was lost.  Sure, camping merit badge was no longer Eagle required, but to become Eagle Scout, you still had the same number of camping nights that was required under the old requirements.  It can be argued that the camping merit badge was a big loss, but it could also be argued that, given all that was happening in the outdoor sporting world at the time, that the camping merit badge was still highlighting a lot of very soon to be outmoded and outdated methods of camping and desperately needed a makeover.  Think Leave No Trace is some kind of new concept from the 90's?  It was already starting to become part of the ethos in 1972.  That's also when modern backpacking was really getting it's start - no more canvas tents - welcome to nylon.  Dig trenches around your tent?  Don't even think about it.  None of that is new - it all started becoming part of the ethos way back then.  I know it's a popular idea that the Boy Scouts were just flailing blindly and reacting to trends it couldn't forsee except that isn't the reality.  Search enough and you'll find "white papers" from the research division of the Boy Scouts of America not only discussing the trends of the time, but prediciting future trends from it.  The Boy Scouts saw what was happening to the outdoor sports ethos well before those of us in units did.  The Boy Scouts also kept track of the major migration of population from rural to urban centers (do people honestly think the Boy Scouts of America came up with a program that was meant to be more attractive to a city lifestyle in a matter of months?  They saw the urbanization trend years before any of us noticed).  The update in the early 1980's brought Scouting to a more Suburban focus (just as Suburbanization was really starting to become supercharged - yes, there were suburbs from the 1950's through the 1970's but ask any outer ring suburbanite about their suburb in the 1970's and most will still remember farms and fields on the outskirts of town, and how driving from their suburb to the "super-boonie" 20 minutes away was like driving through the country - now the "super-boonies" are packed full of people and they no longer have farm fields either). 

 

Changing requirements isn't new either - in 1965, the BSA removed a Tenderfoot requirement that had a Scout judge the width of a river using the Boy Scout way without the use of a tape measure.  The BSA removed the requirement because it felt it was no longer applicable to modern life.  I read of one Klondike Derby in 1969 that had this as one of it's stations but the "Boy Scout Way" couldn't be found in the Boy Scout Handbook, because the requirement was removed.  A Scoutmaster tracked it down in his 1951 Boy Scout Handbook (back issue of a Boy's Life in the Ask Pedro section). 

 

I guess the point is that the Boy Scouts of America is always making changes.  It's been my experience that the most successful units are those that embrace the changes and go with them.

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 In fact, have you kept a diary of your last 70 nights outdoors?

 

In a manner of speaking I sure have. I always take photos of the places I go and people I meet. The last 70 outdoor nights? No problem.

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It boils down to finding men that want to be leaders in scouts.  I don't see many female coaches for the baseball, football, soccer and lacrosse teams in my town.  One guy I know who coaches year round flat out told me that scouts was too much work, and he volunteers for everything.  The main problem I see with this would be finding even more leaders to help out.

 

Probably a big deterrent is simply the year yound aspect. You coach football, you get a new group of kids every year, then a break going into basketball, and another in baseball. New parents, new kids, breaks between sports, even if for only 2 or 3 weeks, can be refreshing.

 

Doing scouts every week, working with the same parents? Dealing with the politics? I can see how it can tire people out.

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Just depends on how much you love it.  Been at it for 35+ years and haven't burned out yet.  :)

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In a manner of speaking I sure have. I always take photos of the places I go and people I meet. The last 70 outdoor nights? No problem.

The date-stamp feature on my camera is busted ... so when I look back, they all kind of blur to me. :confused:

 

I suppose those electronic devices are almost to the point that they could monitor when a boy is sleeping ... go in radio telescope mode (to detect those standard candles in the universe) ... and based on clarity of signal deduce if there is nothing more than canvas between boy and sky ... then synchronize signals from the other nearby boy's (and girl's .. just to stay on topic) devices to determine if they are indeed with registered scouts and two adults within 300' ... finally checking with a tour-plan database to confirm that they are on an "official" activity. The morning after night seventy, all the devices in the vicinity sound reveille in unison and announce "Congratulations to Troop ###'s latest Eagle scout!" :rolleyes:

 

Or, maybe we can be content with boys being intentional about 20 nights, and just doing the other 50 for fun!

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As far as Cub Scouts, as a Cubmaster, I'd never want to lose the female leaders we have. Many are good friends and just about all are great leaders. The vast majority are working moms and they still volunteer at a greater rate than the dads. What I would love is to see is the Cub Scout program go coed. Plenty of girls in our community wouldn't instantly join. 

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I didnt diary much until about 10 years ago. With over 30 nights a year in the woods, I certainly have my last 70 in journal form. Some with photos, some not.

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I didnt diary much until about 10 years ago. With over 30 nights a year in the woods, I certainly have my last 70 in journal form. Some with photos, some not.

Just a quick visit to the old gang, and I noticed this. It took me a few minutes to find it but I still have my diary that I wrote on my solo 100+ miler way back in 1973 in the Yellowstone backcountry. Thanks for the memories. See you 'round.

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To answer the original question:

 

If troops provide an active program with lots of input from their Scouts, troops will sustain membership.

If troops have great relationships with local packs, they will get like minded Webelos to join and stay, and membership will grow locally.

If excited Scouts ask their friends to give it a try just once, they'll join, and memerbership will grow locally.

 

Boy Scout troops will "right size" for boys that want to camp, hike, swim, etc., in their area

Weak troops will continue to fold due to lack of adult leadership, and boys that want that outdoor program.

Boys that have no desire for an outdoor program, will rarely give it a try (with some exceptions).

Boys already too busy, will rarely give it a try (with some exceptions).

 

If you can't figure it out by now, my area has had a huge influx of hispanics over the last decade. Packs have been somewhat successful in fall school recruitments, but membership falls off after the new year. Troops haven't had much success in getting Webolos to make the jump and giving camping a chance, and recruiting Boy Scouts from the schools and neighborhoods, has had no success. In talking with the parents of these hispanic families, most are very active Catholics, and most church activities happen on weekends.

 

I even had a Webelos ask me, after our troop invited his den on a camping trip, why we couldn't go camping on Thursdays.

 

Boy Scout troops will meet the needs of the boys that want camping, and could grow a bit.  But we need to find these boys and make it available. Other than that, we'll continue to consolidate troops until we get to that level.

 

sst3rd

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To answer the original question:

 

If troops provide an active program with lots of input from their Scouts, troops will sustain membership.

If troops have great relationships with local packs, they will get like minded Webelos to join and stay, and membership will grow locally.

If excited Scouts ask their friends to give it a try just once, they'll join, and memerbership will grow locally.

 

Boy Scout troops will "right size" for boys that want to camp, hike, swim, etc., in their area

Weak troops will continue to fold due to lack of adult leadership, and boys that want that outdoor program.

Boys that have no desire for an outdoor program, will rarely give it a try (with some exceptions).

Boys already too busy, will rarely give it a try (with some exceptions).

 

If you can't figure it out by now, my area has had a huge influx of hispanics over the last decade. Packs have been somewhat successful in fall school recruitments, but membership falls off after the new year. Troops haven't had much success in getting Webolos to make the jump and giving camping a chance, and recruiting Boy Scouts from the schools and neighborhoods, has had no success. In talking with the parents of these hispanic families, most are very active Catholics, and most church activities happen on weekends.

 

I even had a Webelos ask me, after our troop invited his den on a camping trip, why we couldn't go camping on Thursdays.

 

Boy Scout troops will meet the needs of the boys that want camping, and could grow a bit.  But we need to find these boys and make it available. Other than that, we'll continue to consolidate troops until we get to that level.

 

sst3rd

Reach out to potential Catholic COs. most church activities besides retreats, weddings and funerals take place on Sundays... Almost every parish I've been a member in had/has a Boy Scout troop.

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I don't see that coed has nearly as much to do with survival of the BSA as adventure, fun, and the outdoors do. I'm excited about starting a venturing crew not because it has girls in it, but because it will get back to what scouting is all about; outdoor adventure and service.

Matt nails it.  In the name of "safe Scouting", liability avoidance, the National Council has gutted things which youth could do on their own, accepting a certain degree of risk in life.

 

We will start with patrols having activities on their own, without requiring adult supervision.

 

While I believe the program should have modification based on best outdoor practices (are we leave no trace or not?, do lashings in back country make sense at all?,...) I think the adventurous outdoors is the essential vehicle of Scouting, and we are not using it very well any more at the National program design level.

 

I think we need sequential, not concurrent advancement, but I believe the MB plan to Eagle is far, far improved over when I was a youth member.

 

Look at everything with a critical eye.  That starts with the salary of the CSE, and works its way down.

 

Now with that, as a Mod, this is a superb thread, and we ask you just keep it focused.

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The path towards co-ed seems to further complicate the program as well.  Of course the hypocrisy of BSA doesn't help much either.  For example, in Boy Scouting a female SM and a female ASM can take boys into the woods, but an all male leadership can't take a co-ed Venturing Crew into the woods.  If BSA goes coed, then the male/female adult leadershp of Venturing will now also apply to both the Cub and Boy level scouting as well.  My little girl is going to go with a bunch of boys and male adults?  I don't think so, not with the litigious society we live in with a boogie man (emphasis on man) predator out there lurking behind every tree.  Two moms can be den leaders for the cubs of all boys, but two males will never wash as den leaders for coed dens.  That's pre-pubescent, now with co-ed Boy Scouts, troops will need to recruit female leadership, too.  Those situations were two guys took the two freebie adult spots at summer camp will now mean a male/female team will be the freebies.  I wonder how long before the wives get wind of that setup?\

 

I just see G2SS growing to the point where it rivals the dictionary in terms of number of pages. 

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The path towards co-ed seems to further complicate the program as well.  Of course the hypocrisy of BSA doesn't help much either.  For example, in Boy Scouting a female SM and a female ASM can take boys into the woods, but an all male leadership can't take a co-ed Venturing Crew into the woods.  If BSA goes coed, then the male/female adult leadershp of Venturing will now also apply to both the Cub and Boy level scouting as well.  My little girl is going to go with a bunch of boys and male adults?  I don't think so, not with the litigious society we live in with a boogie man (emphasis on man) predator out there lurking behind every tree.  Two moms can be den leaders for the cubs of all boys, but two males will never wash as den leaders for coed dens.  That's pre-pubescent, now with co-ed Boy Scouts, troops will need to recruit female leadership, too.  Those situations were two guys took the two freebie adult spots at summer camp will now mean a male/female team will be the freebies.  I wonder how long before the wives get wind of that setup?\

 

I just see G2SS growing to the point where it rivals the dictionary in terms of number of pages. 

Tempest in a teapot, @@Stosh.

 

We already have non-married male-female teams managing troops. Finding moms and older sisters who are competent SMs/ASMs is getting easier. That configuration will be increasingly popular as we move forward, be we co-ed or unisex youth.

 

The G2SS is expanding quite readily without co-eds -- mostly as a function of tech gear and the availability of more extreme sport. I don't see the rate of that changing if troops remain unisex.

 

If we remain unisex, i figure the "bubble-wrapping" of outdoor scouting experiences will continue.

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Those situations were two guys took the two freebie adult spots at summer camp will now mean a male/female team will be the freebies.  I wonder how long before the wives get wind of that setup?\

 

Stosh

 

A bit of first hand experience. A quick tot up shows that across Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and Exec Committee my group currently has 33 adults, 19 men and 14 women. Between those we have 2 married couples and 1 dating couple. The rest are either married to or in a relationship with someone outside of the group or outside of scouting altogether or else are entirely single.

 

There has simply never been a problem with spouses or partners objecting to going away as a mixed leadership team. It just doesn't happen. Maybe that reflects a difference in British and American culture, I don't know, but it's simply not a problem stood where I am.

 

As I've said before, I think there are quite reasonable arguments for having separate male and female programmes but they are based on the differences in how boys and girls develop. This agument about mixed leaders though does strike me as mountain and molehill territory. 

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