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UncleP

Push for Coed Scouting

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Yes, I understand the societal changes occurring in the 21st Century.  I am not anti-co-ed in any sense of the word. (I don't even know if anti-co-ed is even a word.  :) )

 

What I am trying to point out is that the freedom of choice is being systematically removed from the society.  In the far extreme the other way, having men and women separate denies the choice of co-ed.  In our society, we are doing the same in the exact opposite, the choice of separated social dynamics is being denied.  A fair and equitable society would promote both options.  male/female separate AND co-ed, allowing people of that society to choose from both worlds.

 

This third option is still valued in our society as we see the strength of GS/USA offering females this option.  It would be nice to have it equally applicable to males as well.  One does not see large numbers of people opting for Heritage Girls as one sees it happening with Trail Life/USA.  As far as male/female traditional roles adapting, 4-H has mastered this within it's co-ed program.  Males can have access to household/traditional female skill development (some of the best needlepoint at the fairs are done by males and many of the needlepoint classes  I attended were taught by males.  On the other hand, females raising horses, sheep and pigs is common as well at the fairs.  The boys have the option to choose.

 

What is interesting and supports a valid point is that religious based organizations have co-ed development programs as well as such programs as Heritage Girls and Trail Life USA and do just as well as 4-H.  These community and faith based organizations still honor the option in our society for the freedom to make multiple choices, not just ones that are correct only according to some political agenda that restricts the freedom of choice.  It is unfortunate that only the wealthy that can afford it in our society still have the option and means to make such a choice.

 

Even the world of sports still is a bastion of male/female separation that has always had the option for co-ed.  Yet, one does not see co-ed as being a chosen choice very often.  But when it is chosen, it is acceptable, net not much in the schools, community and professional levels.  I have yet to see professional wrestling or ultimate boxing pitting male against female.  The choice is there, the famous tennis match between King and Riggs was viewed more as a joke than serious sports.

You might be surprised to learn that I have certain sympathy with your argument.

 

To me it doesn't really matter whether scouting anywhere is coed or exists in male and female variations and I can see sensible arguments for both. (I can also see some of the concerns about going coed that were voiced here as well that turned out to be unfounded)

 

My point has merely been in response to your comments above about why did BP start it as separate.  

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Some sports like wrestling are now co-ed and some girls are doing great in tournaments. 

 

Some is a relative term and even then imply a smallish number.  I applaud the ability to have this option in the realm of sports, but I would also fight hard to preserve the other option as well.

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I'm not too familiar with how they are running the STEM program. The other programs are open to girls who are 14+ and even then, there are exclusions. Male venturers can join OA but females can't because...envelope please... OA is a BOY scout program and girls are not allowed in our clubhouse until they turn 21 and register as adults. 

 

I could care less about OA. If they went coed it might actually make the local Lodge here work again.

 

You still miss the point: Girls have plenty of avenues open to them -- some which exclude boys -- that are just as good or better than Boy Scouts in what they are allowed to do.

 

So I will ask again, what is the POINT of opening Boy Scouts to girls? What does it get them they are being denied elsewhere or through Venturing?

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BSA also has opportunities for girls. Venturing, Varsity, STEM, etc., are all open to girls, so even BSA is not being exclusive or discriminating...though many would have you think they are. They have one group, Boy Scouts, dedicated to boys. So girls, while being excluded from joining Boy Scouts, still have the SAME opportunity for adventure, outdoor program, STEM and other things as they'd have if Boy Scouts was open to girls. They can do everything Boy Scouts can do. Strike that, the can do MORE than Boy Scouts can do...they just cannot get Eagle.

 

 

Are you actually arguing that girls have more opportunity in BSA programs than boys? I'd love to hear more about this idea. 

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You might be surprised to learn that I have certain sympathy with your argument.

 

To me it doesn't really matter whether scouting anywhere is coed or exists in male and female variations and I can see sensible arguments for both. (I can also see some of the concerns about going coed that were voiced here as well that turned out to be unfounded)

 

My point has merely been in response to your comments above about why did BP start it as separate.  

 

I think (and it's only my opinion based on my historical research of the era) that BP understood deeply the importance of leadership, character development, camaraderie, and moral choices based on his time in the military.  I'm sure it played a large part in his own life and he wished to share it with others.  With that being said, moving the age down from military service ages to those much younger would promote the same kinds of benefits to the younger males at an earlier developmental stage and with the military being all male, co-ed wasn't part of his expertise. Knowing the desire of females to be a part of that process was also recognized and he and his sister developed a program oriented specifically for the women of that era as well.  BP needed his sister in the process who would know the needs of the female sector of society.  Yes, times changed and instead of altering both of these programs, would it not be beneficial to all to promote a second option of integrating both into a hybrid program between the two.  It does have it's advantages yet by preserving the separate program, would offer youth a viable alternative and it's advantages.  Each person could have a choice which in my mind is not only equitable but good for a changing society while retain and even expanding the freedom of choice.  To this day, even with the changing of societal norms WGAAAS still retains this option for the gals.  Would it not have been far more restrictive to insist that the guys no longer have that choice and have to go with just the hybrid option?

Edited by Stosh

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I think I've said pretty much all I have to say in this discussion, but let's please get our facts straight:

 

 

Varsity Scouts is only open to boys.

 

 

Actually two, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

 

My bad, I always get Exploring and Varsity mixed up. I meant the former.

 

Forgot, you can add Sea Scouts to the coed list too.

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Are you actually arguing that girls have more opportunity in BSA programs than boys? I'd love to hear more about this idea. 

 

Read what Venturing Crew can do that Boy Scout units can't. Snowmobiles, pistols, and a few other things that Boy Scouts are not allowed to do. So yes, coed units can do more than boys in Boy Scout units. Here's the list in case it was not known to you.

Edited by Col. Flagg

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Read what Venturing Crew can do that Boy Scout units can't. ATVs, pistols, and a few other things that Boy Scouts are not allowed to do. So yes, coed units can do more than boys in Boy Scout units. Here's the list in case it was not known to you.

 

 

 

That list doesn't address the enormity of what the Boy Scout program encompasses that Venturing does not. Nor does it address the many years girls have to wait to even join Venturing while boys can be in the BSA from 1st grade. 

 

I'm honestly amazed that anyone would actually argue girls can do more in the BSA than boys. It seriously is mind-boggling. 

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Read what Venturing Crew can do that Boy Scout units can't. Snowmobiles, pistols, and a few other things that Boy Scouts are not allowed to do. So yes, coed units can do more than boys in Boy Scout units. Here's the list in case it was not known to you.

 

That's kind of a backwards argument. Cub Scouts can do activities 1-5; Boy Scouts can do activities 5-9; Venturing 8-15. Boys can therefore do 1-15 while girls can only do 8-15. Just because 8-15 are the most fun, it does not mean they have MORE opportunities. They have FEWER. 

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If viewed

 

Read what Venturing Crew can do that Boy Scout units can't. Snowmobiles, pistols, and a few other things that Boy Scouts are not allowed to do. So yes, coed units can do more than boys in Boy Scout units. Here's the list in case it was not known to you.

 

While I think your other arguments are valid, this issue is based more on age appropriateness than it is on gender.  I'm not going to go out in the woods with an 8 year old with a .22 of ether sex, I would feel more comfortable with a more mature 17 year old of either sex hunting in the woods.

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@@Cambridgeskip one of the issues I struggle with currently is the issue of these choices.  I was a Venturing Advisor for 13 years of a co-ed group in the BSA.  I don't have a problem with that.  And I can stay in the BSA as long as I have the option of choice of an all male developmental program option as well.  Take away all-male Boy Scouts, I have no other all-male option except by going to the Trail life/USA option or start an all-mail youth group in my church or other organization.  Going with an established program or starting another one from scratch would sway me towards Trail Life/USA or GS/USA, but GS/USA won't take me.  My choice if I wish it is very limited at best.  Sure, I can stick with Venturing, but I get as much enjoyment working with my church youth group, both which are co-ed.

 

Now, If I struggle with this dilemma, I'm sure others do as well.  If the issue of co-ed or separated is not a big deal, then there is no need for a choice.  If the choice is not there anymore, again, no need to decide.  But for those who wish a choice, I would like to see that option remain on the table.

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In a free society that champions personal choice, removing choices from their citizens is not a step in the right direction, never has and will not go away until it becomes illegal to make that choice.  Thus the society will no longer be able to have such freedoms.    Culturally/Socially today the female has more freedom in this area than males.  This is not equality in any sense of the word.

 

this.  

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... or start an all-mail youth group in my church or other organization.

 

The all mail program sounds really boring to me. Not even all email? :)

 

What's wrong with local option here? You want a troop that's for boys only. I understand that. Someone else wants girls only or coed.

  • Upvote 1

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That list doesn't address the enormity of what the Boy Scout program encompasses that Venturing does not. Nor does it address the many years girls have to wait to even join Venturing while boys can be in the BSA from 1st grade. 

 

I'm honestly amazed that anyone would actually argue girls can do more in the BSA than boys. It seriously is mind-boggling.

 

First, not sure what Boy Scouts covers that Venturing does not. The main difference I see is rank advancement. Am I missing anything else substantial? Since less than 2% of Venturing crews use the rank advancement method, that tells me they don't join Crews for rank advancement, but more for the activities.

 

Second, while BSA does not have a program for girls, GSUSA does...and it is pretty good. Sure you can get a bad troop that does scrap-booking and home economics type stuff, but you can also get Dens and Packs that do very little too. The point is the OPPORTUNITY is there. It is not incumbent upon BSA to offer such a program when one already exists for girls...with 2.7m members too. So just as strong and just as vibrant as Scouts. Nothing is being denied them but Eagle.

 

Mike, you are "amazed" because you are electing to see only the age group for girls below Venturing. Look at your own words: "I'm honestly amazed that anyone would actually argue girls can do more in the BSA than boys. It seriously is mind-boggling."

  • Fact: Girls cannot join BSA until they are 14.
  • Fact: Venturing takes girls 14-21.
  • Fact: Venturing can do more than Boy Scouts.
  • So girls, in BSA, in Venturing, can do more than Boy Scouts. Done.

That's kind of a backwards argument. Cub Scouts can do activities 1-5; Boy Scouts can do activities 5-9; Venturing 8-15. Boys can therefore do 1-15 while girls can only do 8-15. Just because 8-15 are the most fun, it does not mean they have MORE opportunities. They have FEWER.

Meh, really? Of course Venturing can do anything below 7. But who would want to when you can do black powder, snow mobiles and pistols.

 

Nice cherry picking to prove your point, but you're reading it wrong.

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The all mail program sounds really boring to me. Not even all email? :)

 

What's wrong with local option here? You want a troop that's for boys only. I understand that. Someone else wants girls only or coed.

 

Good catch on my typo.  Need to better proof read in this crowd!  :)

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