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meyerc13

Female Venturers and Boy Scout Advancement

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After reading about the latest girl who wants to join the Boy Scouts, Sydney Ireland, two points in her story really jumped out at me.  One, she is 15, so is old enough to join Venturing.  Two, she doesn't want to join Venturing because she wants to be an Eagle Scout.  Then, today, I read a post on this forum from someone who knows a girl in a Crew who wants to earn Merit Badges.

 

So the question occurred to me, why does the BSA allow boys in Venturing to continue on Boy Scout rank Advancement (including Eagle and merit badges), but not the girls?  Is there anything in either our merit badges or Boy Scout ranks advancement that requires male anatomy?

 

My personal guess is that the BSA doesn't want to start a turf war with the Girl Scouts... and while they've encroached on their territory with Exploring, Venturing, Sea Scouts, and now STEM Scouts, they can still point to the lack of an advancement system and say, "See, we don't let girls earn merit badges and ranks - we're not trying to run the Girl Scouts out of business."  In other words, it is all about politics. 

 

I honestly can't think of a single good reason why the BSA has the double standard in regards to Venturing - if you are a boy, you can earn ranks even if you drop your Boy Scout Troop membership, but if you are a girl, sorry, no ranks for you.  I can't recall seeing anything in the ranks that is uniquely male.  Maybe I missed it?

 

Let me also say that I think this girl's request is silly... why should a girl be able to join the Boy Scouts?  However, at the same time I wish my daughter could be a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout because I think that the Girl Scouts is so far off track with their program that they are blind to the fact that they are catering to gender stereotypes by making their program less and less about the outdoors - while many girls are just as eager as boys to explore nature and have adventures.  I can't wait until she can join a Venturing Crew, but sadly she's six years away from that.  Yet even when she does join, we have another artificial barrier - she can't have the same Advancement opportunities as the boys in the Crew.

 

Does anyone else wish the BSA would 'acquire' the Girl Scouts of the USA so that we could do away with all of this silliness and just move on with an awesome Scouting program for girls and boys?  From what I've heard the Girl Scouts are struggling a lot more financially than the BSA, maybe a takeover isn't so far fetched? 

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For clarification, no girl in my crew was ever interested in a MB. But I have met those who were.

 

The pressure to maintain the distinction comes from two sides. Many venturers want to be more than "Boy Scouts for girls".

 

For example, I suggested that the names for the revised venturing awards (which were previously Bronze, Gold, and Silver) be renamed "Star Venturer", "Life Venturer", "Eagle Venturer" -- after all there's an Eagle on on the highest award in venturing. That got zero traction.

 

Similarly, I have no sense that BSA and GS/USA cultures will mix on a national level. If the venturing membership continues to shrink, there is no indication that more American youth will be served by further merger.

 

It falls upon independent scouting organizations, like BPSA, to prove that inclusive membership policies will lead to more youth being served better than what we have with the traditional American model.

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yes, I do.  

 

I have two daughters younger than Scout Son, the oldest of which is in her 2nd year of Brownies.  She did the Daisy thing before that.

 

Her first Daisy troop was a trainwreck, but her current troop is actually pretty good from what i can tell overall, from the stand point of having a good "patrol" going.  their camping thus far has been cabins at the GS reservation, and sleepovers at churches and museums.  She camped at almost every Cub outing we did, since we almost always did family events, and so I always found this thing frustrating.  They do let one of the dads along sometimes since he stepped up, but they are generally not at all welcoming to any parent attendance.  I hinted a time or two about my scouting experience and a willingness to help.... yeah, they're just not all that interested i think.  My wife has their camping certification so she has done a bit with the troop, but i sense that she's treated as an outsider in a way too.

 

I find it interesting how the GS Troop equates to what we call a patrol.  It actually runs fairly tight I think but it is oh so leader dependent.  Also, this is now becoming another source of problem for my family, as my youngest is now of the age to start Daisies..... so if we can even find a troop for her, there will be yet a 3rd troop for us to keep up with.

 

Anyway, I do see the argument that boys need a place to be boys.  i even see the argument against female scouters...... but I'm not so sure I agree with either.  There can be problems on both accounts but those can also be managed.  

 

There could also be benefits with coed too.  One of many being that my family could be a united Scouting family instead of scouts being a source of conflict.  YES, scouting is often a source of conflict because of this silliness.  That just aint right!!!

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Coed troops will eventually happen.  Girls should absolutely be able to earn Eagle.  It's just a question of when and how. It's part of moving scouting into the future. 

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I don't think Venturing is really the issue here. This young lady wants to earn Eagle. If she was male, whether age 11 or 15, in order to earn Eagle she would first have to join a Boy Scout troop and earn the ranks through First Class in the troop. She would then have the option of earning the rest of the ranks, through Eagle, in the troop or in a Venture crew. So you can't earn Eagle without being a Boy Scout, and as we all know, the current policy is that girls can't be Boy Scouts.

 

So in other words, maybe this young lady would enjoy being in a Venture Crew, and maybe she will be. But under current policy, she cannot earn Eagle.

 

I have expressed my views before that there is nothing wrong with having separate programs for boys and girls at that age group. I would not have a problem with girls earning Eagle, if a way can be found to do that.

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After reading about the latest girl who wants to join the Boy Scouts, Sydney Ireland, two points in her story really jumped out at me.  One, she is 15, so is old enough to join Venturing.  Two, she doesn't want to join Venturing because she wants to be an Eagle Scout.  Then, today, I read a post on this forum from someone who knows a girl in a Crew who wants to earn Merit Badges.

 

So the question occurred to me, why does the BSA allow boys in Venturing to continue on Boy Scout rank Advancement (including Eagle and merit badges), but not the girls?  Is there anything in either our merit badges or Boy Scout ranks advancement that requires male anatomy?

 

My personal guess is that the BSA doesn't want to start a turf war with the Girl Scouts... and while they've encroached on their territory with Exploring, Venturing, Sea Scouts, and now STEM Scouts, they can still point to the lack of an advancement system and say, "See, we don't let girls earn merit badges and ranks - we're not trying to run the Girl Scouts out of business."  In other words, it is all about politics. 

 

I honestly can't think of a single good reason why the BSA has the double standard in regards to Venturing - if you are a boy, you can earn ranks even if you drop your Boy Scout Troop membership, but if you are a girl, sorry, no ranks for you.  I can't recall seeing anything in the ranks that is uniquely male.  Maybe I missed it?

 

Let me also say that I think this girl's request is silly... why should a girl be able to join the Boy Scouts?  However, at the same time I wish my daughter could be a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout because I think that the Girl Scouts is so far off track with their program that they are blind to the fact that they are catering to gender stereotypes by making their program less and less about the outdoors - while many girls are just as eager as boys to explore nature and have adventures.  I can't wait until she can join a Venturing Crew, but sadly she's six years away from that.  Yet even when she does join, we have another artificial barrier - she can't have the same Advancement opportunities as the boys in the Crew.

 

Does anyone else wish the BSA would 'acquire' the Girl Scouts of the USA so that we could do away with all of this silliness and just move on with an awesome Scouting program for girls and boys?  From what I've heard the Girl Scouts are struggling a lot more financially than the BSA, maybe a takeover isn't so far fetched? 

 

Nobody in Venturing, boy or girl, who hasn't become a First Class scout first, can work on Boy Scout Advancement. 

 

I have a feeling in the next few years, we will be allowing girls in what is currently Boy Scouts (i.e for 11-17 year olds).

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I have expressed my views before that there is nothing wrong with having separate programs for boys and girls at that age group. I would not have a problem with girls earning Eagle, if a way can be found to do that.

 

 

As someone starting a Venturing Crew that will be mostly girls, I agree.  From age 11 through 13, boys need their own program.  At age 14, the boys have the maturity to work in a co-ed environment.

 

Also, any Boy Scout advancement for Crew members in our Crew will continue be done through the Troop.  I see Boy Scout advancement as a distraction to the Venturing program.  The Venturing program is designed with an emphasis on Adventure, Leadership, Personal Growth and Service.  Those four components are what the Venturers design their program around.  The Venturing rank advancement focuses on those four areas without the specific skill requirements of Tenderfoot through First Class and without checking off a specific number of merit badges.  

 

The Venturing Summit award requires the same level of leadership, activity and service as the Eagle Scout Award.   Based on what I know about Venturing, I would give more weight to the Summit Award than to Eagle.  It requires 60 hours of service plus a project.  It requires a year of actual leadership as well as training in leadership, mentoring, goal setting, etc.  The Venturing Ranger award reflects a greater level of outdoor ability than one can get with Eagle (14 nights camping and a week at summer camp with no backpacking, no hiking, no wilderness survival, no canoing, kayaking or sailing required).  

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Nobody in Venturing, boy or girl, who hasn't become a First Class scout first, can work on Boy Scout Advancement. ....

Paper tiger. Accommodations could be made for any youth who are first class (concept, not patch) if the demand was there.

 

The bottom line is that too few scouters (be they in or out of venturing), parents, or male or female youth, have any interest in girls earning any award with "Eagle" on the name. If you could find 10,000 girls wanting to register if they could just make a run for Eagle in the next three years, you bet the requirements would be changed instantly.

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Paper tiger. Accommodations could be made for any youth who are first class (concept, not patch) if the demand was there.

 

The bottom line is that too few scouters (be they in or out of venturing), parents, or male or female youth, have any interest in girls earning any award with "Eagle" on the name. If you could find 10,000 girls wanting to register if they could just make a run for Eagle in the next three years, you bet the requirements would be changed instantly.

What kind of statement is that! If you could find 10,000 adults who want to earn Eagle while they are troop leaders (like the old days), the requirements could also be changed instantly.

 

Eagle requirements come from a Troop program and continued in the Venture. NOW WE WANT TO CHANGE THE WHOLE TROOP ADVANCEMENT PROGRAM JUST FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF GIVING GIRLS AN EAGLE?

 

Folks on this forum whine a lot about the Eagle loosing it's prestige with watered down Eagle requirements. I can't think of a better way of pretty much killing the honor of the Eagle than changing the requirements for what will only have the appearance of political correctness. Let me ask, does anyone know what the equivalent honor is in the Canadian Scouts or the Campfire Kids program? Does anyone care? Only the BSA carries that prestige and that is only because of the reputation of it's tradition. 

 

This is Boy Scouts of America. There is a program called Girl Scouts of the United States of America. Why does the Boys have to sacrifice the quality of their program to accommodate the so called progressives. It's time we see the energy spent on changing the Boys program redirected at the Girls program. It's not the boys program that is failing their gender, it is the girls program. Changing the boys program will only make it more adult run and less effective in building citizens of character and leaders of integrity. It's time we put our sons a head of our adult self serving desires.

 

I agree with Hedgehog, 14 is a good age to bring in girls because the boys have the maturity grow without being distracted. And leave the Eagle for the boys. Create a different award for Venture.

 

Barry

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...

Eagle requirements come from a Troop program and continued in the Venture. NOW WE WANT TO CHANGE THE WHOLE TROOP ADVANCEMENT PROGRAM JUST FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF GIVING GIRLS AN EAGLE?

...

Obviously "we" don't. The vast majority of scouters, such as yourself, don't. The vast majority of BSA and GS/USA parents don't. The vast majority of venturers, for varying reasons, don't. Same thing for ageist policies. The reason they were put in place was because very few people saw the value of them strictly representing accomplishment vs. deadlines.

 

However, you mention the HONOR of a rank. Well if THERE ARE FIRST CLASS SCOUTS (concept, not patch) BEING DENIED the opportunity of being recognized as such, not merely inconvenienced, but flat-out told "no," what honor is the 1st Class Rank?

 

There are two ways of watering awards down. The first is giving them to folks who haven't mastered the skills the award should represent. The second is by withholding them from folks who represent the award quite well.

 

I am glad for every venturer who is able and still works toward his Eagle. However, the fact that the majority of venturers don't even care about being on the trail to Eagle or joining O/A (especially if their girl friends aren't welcome in it) or other Boy Scout "honors" speaks volumes to their value.

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However, the fact that the majority of venturers don't even care about being on the trail to Eagle or joining O/A (especially if their girl friends aren't welcome in it) or other Boy Scout "honors" speaks volumes to their value.

First Class in not just a recognition of skills, it also represents a scout's trials, actions and efforts that work toward a mission of developing moral and ethical decision makers. Having the skills without the effort is not Boy Scouting.

 

Barry

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First Class in not just a recognition of skills, it also represents a scout's trials, actions and efforts that work toward a mission of developing moral and ethical decision makers. Having the skills without the effort is not Boy Scouting.

 

Barry

I couldn't agree more. So what do you do after you see a 14 year-old become all that over a period of 3 to 6 months? I say to him/her, "You've become a 1st class scout. Can't give you a patch for it. But it's right there under your skin."

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I couldn't agree more. So what do you do after you see a 14 year-old become all that over a period of 3 to 6 months? I say to him/her, "You've become a 1st class scout. Can't give you a patch for it. But it's right there under your skin."

I question the sanity of any BSA adult leader who believes a person grows into a moral and ethical decision maker without practice. 

 

Barry

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I question the sanity of any BSA adult leader who believes a person grows into a moral and ethical decision maker without practice. 

 

Barry

As do I. Furthermore, I'd question the righteousness of anyone who is blind to a person who is indeed a practicing first class scout.

 

There are people who are qualified to take their mates hiking and camping independently ... and people who are not.

It's obviously not just skills. Track record matters.

 

So, I have this small number of youth associates who come to me with plans for outings. I've seen them demonstrate all of the skills a citizen-camper should have, I've seen them treat their fellows with remarkable ethics and morals. The plans are good. Do I give them the go-ahead? Or, do I only do so for those moral, competent, and prepared associates who have been awarded the proper oval?

 

If someone like me is looking for something other than that oval, what does that tell us about the value of the patch?

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As do I. Furthermore, I'd question the righteousness of anyone who is blind to a person who is indeed a practicing first class scout.

 

There are people who are qualified to take their mates hiking and camping independently ... and people who are not.

It's obviously not just skills. Track record matters.

 

So, I have this small number of youth associates who come to me with plans for outings. I've seen them demonstrate all of the skills a citizen-camper should have, I've seen them treat their fellows with remarkable ethics and morals. The plans are good. Do I give them the go-ahead? Or, do I only do so for those moral, competent, and prepared associates who have been awarded the proper oval?

 

If someone like me is looking for something other than that oval, what does that tell us about the value of the patch?

That is equating the program pinnacle of ethical and moral behavior growth with simple knowledge of practical hand skills. You keep saying you understand, but your words don't fit the definition. I'm going to bore with what I'm about to say because you know the mechanics of the BSA  structure. But you don't seem to understand the idealism within the scouting structure. How else to explain you the fallacy of your posts.

 

The skills of the Eight Methods are only actions for working toward developing moral and ethical behaviors. In other words, the patch at best only represents a stage the scout is at in practicing behavioral decisions. The patch only represents a beginning of a scouts phase decisions process, not an end. No two scouts are equal in their knowledge of skills or their maturity of making decisions. But it does define a knowledge base the scout is working from.

 

How often have scouters expressed frustration of 14 year old Eagles. In your explanation, all Eagles are equal regardless of age. So why are some adults frustrated with 14 year old Eagles? Aren't they just over achievers in the practice of the eight methods? Or does the community expect more from the reputation of an Eagle than just setting up a tent and tying knots? Do well expect a scout to mature by knowledge of common hand skills, or is can we expect more from the practice of making decisions?

 

Experience of practice in making choices and decisions based on balances of the Law and Oath are priceless compared to the skills practiced in the Eight Methods to earn a patch. Shouldn't that alone have value? How can a 14 year old Eagle Scout with experience as a Patrol Leader, Troop Quartermaster, ASPL, SPL, Troop Guide and JASM even be compared with a new 14 year old scout with no record of making ethical choices and decisions? Of course you could just allow the new 14 year old Scout to test out and slap that patch on the uniform. But isn't that like an engineer testing out for a surgeon without considering the experiences of the surgeon?

 

Doesn't experience have some value in making ethical and moral choices? That is the pinnacle of the Troop program. 

 

If proving that girls are just as smart ,and just as skilled, or just as whatever you need to feel better is your goal for Venture Scouts, then make up some award that compares apples to apples. But don't mess up a tested process so you can feel better.

 

Barry 

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