Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
vol_scouter

How has the addition of girls affected Scouting in other countries?

Recommended Posts

Just a mathematical question:  If the membership is, say 100,000 members of boys and two years later the membership is 100,000 having gone co-ed, how much of that is number really the LOSS of boys and gain of girls?  Sure, the organization has suffered no lost of membership... or has it?

 

It hasn't, but I don't think that is really the relevant question.  I think the relevant question is, what was the goal when the change was made?  Was it to end up with the same number of members in total?  (In which case you have achieved the goal.)  Or was it to keep the same number of boys and add some number of girls?  (In which case you have not achieved the goal.)  We don't know what the goal would be, because at this point there isn't even a proposal.  (See my post above.)  All of this is hypothetical.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any future speculation is always hypothetical.  Simply turning Boy Scouts of America into Family Scouts of America and not seeing any major changes in membership simply means that there's a new program out there and it's not Boy Scouts of America anymore. If mom and/or dad want in on the program, sign up as scouters.  If younger sister wants a program, the GSUSA is there for them as well.  Parents can sign on as leaders in that program as well, but at the present time I don't see any inkling that GSUSA is going to accept younger brother in their program.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a mathematical question: If the membership is, say 100,000 members of boys and two years later the membership is 100,000 having gone co-ed, how much of that is number really the LOSS of boys and gain of girls? Sure, the organization has suffered no lost of membership... or has it?

Yes, if Scouts UK membership's trajectory has leveled, then they have only about 80% of the male membership that it did in 1990. However, there is no indication that this is a mere return to baseline. If they recruit another 20,000 boys, and 80,000 girls they will exceed thier historic number of boys served and be nearly 50% female. A thirty year wait for a recovery? Not sure BSA would withstand that in our environment of caustic punditry.

 

However, unlike the Brits, we have had a 50 year decline with no end in sight. We are serving fewer American boys every year. Continuing to do so will open the door for an organization who may "crack the code" to attracting boys. I personally don't believe that extending membership to sisters and girlfriends in itself will be part of that code. But if the people who attracts those million boys also happen to have some couple hundred thousand girls who hike and camp independently along side them ... BSA may be found to join them under some new U.S. scouting federation.

Edited by qwazse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is nothing wrong with discussing the potential consquences of somthing that could potentially happen at some point in the future, but I think it should be kept in mind that there does not appear to be any actual proposal being considered by National that would make Cub Scout packs and/or Boy Scout troops "coed."  I don't really see any likelihood that it will be seriously considered in the near future. Over the summer there was a statement by the Chief Scout Executive (https://voiceofscouting.org/chief-scout-executive-asks-us-serve-entire-family) that spawned a thread in this forum in which some people thought the BSA is heading in that direction.  However, the CSE's statement does not include a proposal to go "coed."  Instead it spoke vaguely about how the BSA should "begin exploring how we can serve the entire family."  The one actual example it gave was of several areas in which troops have formed a "partnership" with the GSUSA to create "programs" for the "entire family."  One forum member spoke of a similar program in his/her area. But this is not the same thing as a "coed unit."  In that statement, the CSE asked for a sharing of ideas about how the BSA could serve the entire family, but I have not seen any follow-up articles about what kinds of ideas were presented and what the next step is, if any.

 

 

My bet is before the end of 2017 we will see coed BSA pilot programs for cubs and scouts.  The number of units that are coed and being left alone by national seems to be growing.  I don't think it is a question of "if" but rather "when" 

 

The other thing I have noticed is Crews camping and doing activities with Troops, including summer camp, where the female crew members are below the Venturing age.  I imagine they are not registered with BSA but are being fully included just the same.

 

Another issue where we must tread carefully and with a look to the future :):(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My bet is before the end of 2017 we will see coed BSA pilot programs for cubs and scouts.  The number of units that are coed and being left alone by national seems to be growing.  I don't think it is a question of "if" but rather "when" 

...

That's like me observing the greater numbers of western Pennsylvanian teens who hike and camp with their mates independent of BSA or GS/USA and betting BSA lifting it's ten-year-old ban on patrol overnights. Not gonna happen.

 

Unless ...

Venturing does a turnaround and becomes overwhelmingly popular, or

Major political upheaval and an opinion from POTUS, or

Market surveys show large segments of young males who will only participate in co-ed organizations, or

Boy Scouts start demanding that BSA open to girls.

 

Although I believe the last scenario the most likely after the next world jamboree, I don't see any of those scenarios making boots-on-the-ground leaders happy. We would likely follow the Brits' trajectory and loose many units until a new generation of leaders could be trained to fill their place.

Edited by qwazse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's like me observing the greater numbers of western Pennsylvanian teens who hike and camp with their mates independent of BSA or GS/USA and betting BSA lifting it's ten-year-old ban on patrol overnights. Not gonna happen.

 

Unless ...

Venturing does a turnaround and becomes overwhelmingly popular, or

Major political upheaval and an opinion from POTUS, or

Market surveys show large segments of young males who will only participate in co-ed organizations, or

Boy Scouts start demanding that BSA open to girls.

 

Although I believe the last scenario the most likely after the next world jamboree, I don't see any of those scenarios making boots-on-the-ground leaders happy. We would likely follow the Brits' trajectory and loose many units until a new generation of leaders could be trained to fill their place.

I agree wit some and disagree with other points here.

 

I certainly agree that hosting the World Jamboree in 2019 will be highly influential. There will be an awful lot of both scouts and adults who will be exposed to coed scouting for the first time. Those who camp at the jamboree, the many more who will go on day trips, families who host others as part of home hospitality. And their friends. I would anticipate a greater acceptance of coed scouting following that.

 

If memory serves, and Ian may correct me if I am wrong, the admission of girls to all sections here followed a number of groups which just started unilaterally accepting girls. It was a bottom up movement among certain groups and HQ eventually went along with it. Certainly that was the impression I had, bare in mind I was only 13 so perfectly capable of getting the wrong end of the stick!

 

I think you may be over egging the pudding in terms of linking the drop in numbers in the UK with going coed. There was an element to it I would agree, a number of adult leaders who quit as they didn't like the way it was going. However, being a scout and Venture scout in that period I wasn't aware of a single youth member that quit because of it. The issue was more the program, the image and the terrible uniform for the many of my friends that quit while I kept going. That's not to say that you wouldn't have initial losses. Any organisation that goes through a fundamental change will suffer losses, either in protest at the change or before the change if it comes too late. Either way there would be fall out. Here in Cambridge a number of the university colleges saw academic staff resign in protest as one by one they were opened to women. Such is life.

 

If I were BSA HQ at the moment I would be steering clear. The impression I have is there are an awful lot wounds being licked following the settlement of the gay issue and making a fundamental change to the membership model is probably the last thing they want to get involved right now. Equally though that very issue, not wanting another fight, could result in a blind eye being turned to units having girls as unofficial members. I suspect that, one day, the change will be made. Across the world previously male only institutions of all sorts have only gone one way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My bet is before the end of 2017 we will see coed BSA pilot programs for cubs and scouts.  The number of units that are coed and being left alone by national seems to be growing.  I don't think it is a question of "if" but rather "when" 

 

  :):(

I will take that bet. I'm reminded of the 15 or so years of posters coming and going on this forum who proclaimed that allowing gay scouts into the program would boost membership numbers significantly, even though evidence of other North American Scouting programs making the same membership changed showed otherwise.

 

After the beating the BSA took that led to the homosexual policy changes, National has no stomach at the moment to push for further major membership policy changes. They would not only be fighting an uphill battle against traditionalist (donations), the GSUSA would bring out the big guns against the BSA as well.

 

Barry

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will take that bet. I'm reminded of the 15 or so years of posters coming and going on this forum who proclaimed that allowing gay scouts into the program would boost membership numbers significantly, even though evidence of other North American Scouting programs making the same membership changed showed otherwise.

 

After the beating the BSA took that led to the homosexual policy changes, National has no stomach at the moment to push for further major membership policy changes. They would not only be fighting an uphill battle against traditionalist (donations), the GSUSA would bring out the big guns against the BSA as well.

 

Barry

 

I have to agree with you, I don't see it happening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it does happen, and the only reason they do it is to increase membership, then they're in for a surprise. It won't change much because that's not the issue. If it were than venture scouts would be growing. It's not about girls, or gays, or God, or STEM, or making a uniform that has a pocket for an mp3 player.

 

Boy scouts has an image problem that has become self fulfilling. That's why the numbers are going down. It's where you go to pad your resume for college. Nerds and preppies. Many scouts will say that's nonsense but that's the image. The BSA is playing to its strengths so they're naturally going to lean in that direction. STEM and FCFY? That's not appealing to many kids so why is there wonder that the numbers are going down? The kids it is appealing to is reinforcing the image.

 

I think they should take a careful look at every method and be honest about what is going right or wrong with it. Does it support fun, adventure, challenge and the aims of scouting? That will make it cool. If high adventure is so important and there are fewer adults that know the outdoors, then maybe having really expensive high adventure bases that are hard to get into is not helping. Their squirt gun rules are beyond stupid. Advancement shouldn't look like school so clean up the MBs so each one has a higher percentage of fun, adventure, or challenge and isn't geared just to 12 year olds. Simplify the uniform and make it uniform. Put more focus on patrol method, leadership, and just letting the scouts make their own decisions. There are a lot of adults that don't get it, solve that.

 

UK scouts is growing. There are waiting lists to get in. That sounds like a high class problem to me. How does the BSA get there? It seems to have started with a leader, that had a vision, that could stir things up and get things done. The change shouldn't be about third rail issues, it should be about making scouts cool again.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I were BSA HQ at the moment I would be steering clear. The impression I have is there are an awful lot wounds being licked following the settlement of the gay issue and making a fundamental change to the membership model is probably the last thing they want to get involved right now. Equally though that very issue, not wanting another fight, could result in a blind eye being turned to units having girls as unofficial members. I suspect that, one day, the change will be made. Across the world previously male only institutions of all sorts have only gone one way.

I agree. Going coed will be a big change. One of the issues that will need to be addressed that you may not see in other countries is the "sexual predator" paranoia here in the US. Basically, every male is assumed to be a potential sexual predator by many. Especially a man without kids. Look at the resistance encountered by many men trying to help their daughter's GSUSA units. Or how many day care facilities effectively have a "no men allowed" policy. I have spoken to several male scouters that have said they won't be taking a coed unit out camping for fear of unfounded accusations - they will quit first. And I am not sure they are wrong to do so.

 

In the abstract, I think the BSA should be fully coed. But we don't live in an abstract world. In the modern USA ("Eek! A male!"), I'm not sure how workable it would be. Though Venturing appears to make it work - maybe that means it will work OK with younger scouts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree. Going coed will be a big change. One of the issues that will need to be addressed that you may not see in other countries is the "sexual predator" paranoia here in the US. Basically, every male is assumed to be a potential sexual predator by many. 

 

Trust me, it's fairly paranoid in the UK too. Or rather, it is bad enough that it definitely puts some volunteers off. I still get stuff like "been away playing with the little children" every so often. Though I think it's better than it used to be. We definitely had a bad patch, well, probably tying in with the falling numbers. I think the parents are fairly happy as we've put quite a lot of effort into making sure parents know about police background checks and our child protection policies. And their kids are there having fun so it's easy to think the best.

 

Ian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

UK scouts is growing. There are waiting lists to get in. That sounds like a high class problem to me. How does the BSA get there? It seems to have started with a leader, that had a vision, that could stir things up and get things done. The change shouldn't be about third rail issues, it should be about making scouts cool again.

 

Except the waiting lists are almost certainly a product of lack of leaders. I know of groups that could open Beavers Cubs and Scouts tomorrow, just from their waiting list, if they could magic the 6-9 leaders it would require.

 

On your second points, I agree entirely. The UK Beaver motto is "fun and friendship". Seems about right. Learning by doing. Learning as an adjunct to having fun with your mates.

 

Ian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think they should take a careful look at every method and be honest about what is going right or wrong with it. Does it support fun, adventure, challenge and the aims of scouting? That will make it cool. If high adventure is so important and there are fewer adults that know the outdoors, then maybe having really expensive high adventure bases that are hard to get into is not helping. Their squirt gun rules are beyond stupid. Advancement shouldn't look like school so clean up the MBs so each one has a higher percentage of fun, adventure, or challenge and isn't geared just to 12 year olds. Simplify the uniform and make it uniform. Put more focus on patrol method, leadership, and just letting the scouts make their own decisions. There are a lot of adults that don't get it, solve that.

 

Hit the nail on the head.  I couldn't have said it any better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.... or making a uniform that has a pocket for an mp3 player.

 

 

 

I thought that was for cigarettes. Oops. :D

  • Upvote 2

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  

×