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UncleP

Push for Coed Scouting

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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.

What I'm guessing will happen is the cub scouts will get the fair share of the girls. When those girls crossover, just taking boys will become difficult for many reasons.

 

Barry

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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.

 

You're defining "do more" as a handful of specific outdoor activities off of a checklist. The BSA program is far bigger than a list of outdoor activities. Talk about cherry picking...

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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?

 

 

Speaking of picking and choosing.

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Why are showers and toilets always the big concern about this? And why is it always brought up as if the BSA has no concept of how to handle facilities for a 2nd gender already?

Because the cost of required plumbing and equipment closed some camps. And because of the previous membership changes, many councils don't have the donations they once had.

 

It's not a "must", it's a benefit. In my opinion it comes down to a few key things:

 

Societal norms - Gender segregation is a thing of the past in nearly all walks of life. Men aren't exclusively the top of the corporate ladder anymore, our military is co-ed, few (if any) schools remain that separate kids by gender, gender equality in all forms of adult life is the new norm. I think we should be raising our kids to learn to succeed within that system, not within the century-old paradigm of gender segregation.

Wow! Sounds like a pretty politically correct approach to convincing folks like me who believe that changing membership reduces the growth my son would benefit by not changing.

 

Membership - How long does the BSA survive at the current pace of membership decline? Based on recent years and numbers lost in those years, we've got 20 years at most. If going co-ed can do for us what it did for Scouts UK, I think it's well worth it to secure the long-term future of scouting in the US. 

 

This was the same reasoning used for accepting gays.

 

I get the feeling you don't really care about program membership strength, you are just reaching. The only scout program that has as many members after a major membership change is the Boy Scouts in Great Britton. And it took 30 years to get there. Imagine how many scouts they would have now if they had done nothing. 

 

I could go on with your other theories, but here is the problem I see, I believe that admitting girls will slowly dissolve the advantages boys would have with an all boy troop. I't s not touchy feely theories, I worked the program long enough that I can't see how girls maintains the same program quality, much less improve it. 

 

So I ask, if there is even a slight risk that boys will loose some growth potential as a result of adding female scouts and scouters, is it worth it to you? I don't really care about your answer, it's more of a question for you to ponder to learn your real motivation for wanting girls in the Boy Scout program.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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I get the feeling you don't really care about program membership strength, you are just reaching. 

 

 

If that's what you think, I wonder if you even read what I wrote. The program isn't getting stronger on the current trajectory. My reasons for being in favor of a co-ed program are almost entirely based on a desire for a stronger program, one that better equips kids to be prepared for their adult lives and one that will last more than another decade or two. Not sure how much more of a desire I can have to strengthen the program if those are my motivations. 

 

So I ask, if there is even a slight risk that boys will loose some growth potential as a result of adding female scouts and scouters, is it worth it to you? 

 

I don't think adding girls would do any harm to the program. But, entertaining your notion that it would for just a second, if it did diminish the program for boys a little, I'm still for it. Because I believe in the strength and benefits of the program already and think it's maybe the best youth program available to kids today, it has room to give a little if that means more kids can enjoy scouting the BSA way and that the BSA can endure to serve future generations. 

 

 

I don't really care about your answer, it's more of a question for you to ponder to learn your real motivation for wanting girls in the Boy Scout program.

 

You've made it very clear you don't care about my answers. You've made up your mind that single gender is right, co-ed is wrong. So you question my motivation because since I'm so wrong about this, I must have some ulterior self-serving motivation for being in favor of this kind of membership policy change, right? 

 

I've made my motivations and my reasoning behind my stance on this clear. I've been through this subject a thousand times in my own personal observations and thoughts, and discussed it with I don't even know how many parents and scouters. So thanks for the suggestion that I reconsider my motivations and thank you for posing that question to me. But I'll let my previous statements on this stand, knowing quite well what my motivations are and having zero doubts about where those motivations come from.

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I don't think Eagledad is saying all male is right and co-ed is wrong.  All I see him advocating is leave the all male option on the table.  I have never seen him post anywhere that co-ed is wrong in that he has never spoken out against Venturing, Sea Scouts, STEM or LFL as being wrong in their membership makeup.

 

What I do see him advocating is that GS/USA offers girls the option for an all female option that people today are trying hard to take from the boys.  There's no fairness in that approach and the prejudice against the boys (at least in my opinion) is what is wrong.

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You're defining "do more" as a handful of specific outdoor activities off of a checklist. The BSA program is far bigger than a list of outdoor activities. Talk about cherry picking...

 

So enlighten me. What am I missing that Boy Scouts offers that Venturing does not BESIDES rank advancement...specifically Eagle? 

 

 

Speaking of picking and choosing.

 

OA is mostly about sash and dash. I cannot believe we are actually counting OA as something girls can get boys can't, but I will grant you that. 

 

So besides rank advancement (specifically Eagle) and OA (which is not very active in the majority of the areas I've lived), what else are the girls being denied that they can't get in Venturing that is offered in Boy Scouts?

Edited by Col. Flagg

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So enlighten me. What am I missing that Boy Scouts offers that Venturing does not BESIDES rank advancement...specifically Eagle? 

 

You're right, it's just rank advancement they're missing out on. Just a program of skills and leadership development that takes years to complete and requires kids to learn and show proficiency in a variety of subjects, develop a service-oriented mentality and provide service to the community, learn how to be better members of their family, their school, and their church, become good stewards of the environment, demonstrate they they live up to the oath and law, etc etc... No biggie, just a few requirements and badges, I guess. 

 

Oh, and they can start doing that 8 years sooner than girls can. And it's just Eagle, a high prestigious award that really has no true equal for girls. 

 

So yeah, you're right, not much of a difference. 

 

:rolleyes:

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You've made it very clear you don't care about my answers. You've made up your mind that single gender is right, co-ed is wrong. So you question my motivation because since I'm so wrong about this, I must have some ulterior self-serving motivation for being in favor of this kind of membership policy change, right? 

 

I've made my motivations and my reasoning behind my stance on this clear. I've been through this subject a thousand times in my own personal observations and thoughts, and discussed it with I don't even know how many parents and scouters. So thanks for the suggestion that I reconsider my motivations and thank you for posing that question to me. But I'll let my previous statements on this stand, knowing quite well what my motivations are and having zero doubts about where those motivations come from.

I wasn't asking you or those who think like to reconsider, I never thought you would because your reasoning isn't based from experiences or facts. I only wanted you to understand there is a lot at stake here.

 

You say your reasons are clear, but there is nothing clear in the simple statement that girls would add strength to the program. I can state examples why I believe female leaders took away strength from the program. I'm not sure you could give examples otherwise. In fact, history is on my side. The program will take a hit and not recover for some time. History shows that. Is it worth it for the theory of adding strength? That is all I ask.

 

And, I don't think you have a sneeky ulterior motive, I think you are being up front. But your reasoning is not pragmatic, it's more emotionally based. Is that self-serving, oh I don't know. I wasn't thinking that.

 

Experts in human behavior say almost 90 percent prepubescent behavior growth occurs by observing role models. Role models of the same gender have a higher impact on that growth. Adding girls, and female leaders in a youth program ages 14 and under dilutes that impact of growth on boys side of the program. Oh I know troops already have female leaders, but adding girls will increase the balance heavier to female role models. Same with the girls side. Male role models don't have the same influence on behavior growth for young girls as female role models. This isn't even getting into the complications of logistics for patrol method. But I don't think it's a reach, even if the patrols do camp 300 feet apart.

 

Barry

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I don't think Eagledad is saying all male is right and co-ed is wrong.  All I see him advocating is leave the all male option on the table.  I have never seen him post anywhere that co-ed is wrong in that he has never spoken out against Venturing, Sea Scouts, STEM or LFL as being wrong in their membership makeup.

 

What I do see him advocating is that GS/USA offers girls the option for an all female option that people today are trying hard to take from the boys.  There's no fairness in that approach and the prejudice against the boys (at least in my opinion) is what is wrong.

This is exactly right. I believe all the advantages of one gender program are mostly diminished by puberty.

 

I'm not even that concerned about girls in cubs except that I can't see how girls could be turned away after Webelos. So, instead of fighting that battle, I would rather keep the program as is and let girls join at the Venturing age. 

 

Barry

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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?

 

I think there's two different issues here.

 

First the origins of scouting. Much of the early days of scouting had a bigger emphasis on preparing boys for military service. And in that context we need to think about the UK's place in the world in 1907. We were a super power, at the peak of our international influence, an empire that spanned the world. For a man, serving one's country mean joining the army to protect and expand the ever growing empire. A great and glorious adventure! Meanwhile for women it meant basically staying at home, and very little else. Hence the starting off as a boys organisation and the almost surprise that girls even wanted to do it.

 

All that was blown away by the First World War in the carnage of the Somme and Ypres.

 

In terms of that choice I certainly agree that there is a strong argument for having a mix of both single sex and coed provision. In an ideal world I agree that that is probably what we would have.

 

Remember the joke though about a man asking a farmer for directions and the farmer answering "Well I wouldn't start from here." Well it applies to where single sex and coed provision is in many parts of the world. And in this case the here I am talking about is not so much the here and now as getting there from the general history of how women have been treated over many centuries. Remember what women have had to struggle for over the years. The right to vote, for equal pay, to not be raped by their husbands. The list goes on. There is a very long history of women having to fight to get what men have already got. Scouting is no exception. Guiding began because a group of girls turned up a rally and were told to go away again. They were told no you can't have this. You can't do this. From that place it becomes difficult to get to that ideal position rather than having the position that currently exists.

 

In addition there is still the problem of what is often called every day sexism. Legally near enough every sexist law that discriminated against women in the UK has gone (only exception I'm aware of is military service) but there is still a problem with attitudes. I have never been asked by a salesman if I need to check with my wife before spending money. Mrs Cambridgeskip has been asked what her husband thinks. I have never had my bum groped in a bar or been wolf whistled in the street. Mrs Cambridgeskip has. She's sick to death of putting her credit card on the dish to pay the bill in a restaurant and the waiter turns to me for my PIN. She's been told that she's under mining my masculinity for running her own business. There is still a big pay gap at all levels. Women are massively underrepresented in Parliament, on the boards of companies, in the legal profession. Women still get blamed for being raped.

 

While that drip feed of sexism exists, while there are still these glass ceilings you are going to have a hard time of convincing many women that reaching for what men have while continuing to keep what they already have. Not going to happen.

 

If in 1908, as the scout movement had formed, a decision had been made to have girls troops, boys troops and mixed troops you would probably still have that today.

 

Can't get there from here though. At least not directly, no matter how good an idea it looks.

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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. 

 Nope, Male Venturers CANNOT join OA, unless they are also registered in a Boy Scout Troop and Elected through the Troop. The  way to OA is through a Troop.

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I think there's two different issues here.

.... I have never had my bum groped in a bar or been wolf whistled in the street. ...

Interesting note: thanks to scouting, I got wolf-whistled.

 

Our scout house growing up was next to a sorority house. Both were old mansions, with plenty of lawn space between the two, and we only used the basement of our building, entering from the back where shrubs divided the properties. So most times (meeting nights for us being school nights for them), each party made no nevermind of the other.  Except one late-spring evening where I was doing some project at the building, I was leaving a little late and heading down the street in front of both houses. Some of the women were on their porch -- I suppose waiting for a party to start. One of them whistled after me. Not exactly knowing the rules of decorum for such things, I waved and moved on.

 

Lesson's learned:

Buddy system.

Take the other street home when the college girls are out.

Don't forget to say, "Thank you ma'am."

Uniforms catch eyes. :D

 

One wonders if I were with a female scout buddy, would we get the same reaction?

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@[member="Cambridgeskip"}  would you agree that taking away from the boys is as fair as adding a co-ed contingent to the program?  We are all gaga over new programs over here, why not add a co-ed part to the program.  They added Venturing, they added Learning for Life, they added STEM, all co-ed and no one was upset because it was adding to the options of the youth.  So we add a co-ed program for kindergarteners though grade school for outdoor co-ed members.  Maybe not have the same awards, but awards more appropriate for guys and gals. 

 

Do you seriously thing people will complain as much adding to the program as taking it away?

 

So, mom and dad show up at recruitment night with Johnny and Sally.  They get to see everything there is on the table.  "We have over here the Cub program for all boys and over here we have the "Tribe" program for both boys and girls.  Which application form do you wish for your your children?"    "What's the difference?" they ask.  "Well if you wish to have your son in a program directed specifically for young boys, there's the Cub program.  All the leaders are male role-models.  Otherwise the Tribe program has activities designed for both girls and boys in mind.  The adults are both male and female."  The LGBT or whatever child can join the co-ed program, no problem.  It is then up to the parents to decide what's best for their children.  No one is going to get turned away and everyone gets to make the choice they wish for their children.  

 

Run that process for 2-3 years and one will be able to tell statistically which program is going to be preferred.  If everyone picks the co-ed group, well then maybe the Cub program passes into history.  Or maybe the boys go with the Cub program and the girls go with the co-ed program, that ratio will also let the BSA know how people feel about it, too.  10 years down the road it should be clear what the viability of the programs will be.  They may balance each other out and BSA gets to sell more books and uniforms and everyone walks away with a win.  The only group that's going to be upset are when the co-ed group doesn't have enough boys and they force everyone into the co-ed program against their wishes and takes the Cub option off the table.  If they didn't want a co-ed program will they join it anyway or will they find a different program to enroll their kids?

 

It's a slow process, but by taking it one step at a time and evaluating it, one might be able to bring about some changes that benefit everyone in the long run. 

Edited by Stosh
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Male Venturers CANNOT join OA, unless...

 

Female Venturers CANNOT join OA, unless... they are 21 and registered as an adult leader. 

Edited by krikkitbot

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