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UncleP

Push for Coed Scouting

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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:

 

Hyperbole much?

 

Rank advancement alone does not meet the aims and methods of Scouting, otherwise those other two aims and seven methods would not exist.

 

All that you mention can ALSO be done in Venturing. Ever taken a look at those awards? I've met a few Venturing Scouts who could plan better than most adults I know. But service, citizenship, leadership, training and all that you mention BESIDES EAGLE are all things you can get in Venturing.

 

Please don't compare what goes in in Cub Scouts as any type of big deal that girls are missing out on. If you spend any time helping an active GSUSA troop AND a Cub Scout pack/den, you'd know that's hogwash. Girls can get just as good or better experience in GSUSA. Of course, like Cubs, it depends on your unit. Get a bad unit and you get a bad experience.

 

So again I ask -- if you really know how to compare what girls can get in GSUSA and other programs -- what does Boy Scouts give that other programs and Venturing doesn't. You answer shows me you don't value Venturing, GSUSA or any other programs (e.g., 4-H, Explorers, etc.).

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I completely agree with Cambridgeskip about the origins. Scouting was started as a single gender program because of when and where it started. Organizations for middle and upper class men were single sex. I'm certain that, once he left the nursery, BP was educated and worked in single sex environments. That was his world.

 

I understand some feel that letting in females 'lessens' the program for boys in some ways. I'd be OK with that if I felt the commensurate benefits for girls outweighed that. I'm just not convinced it does.

 

One thing I've thought about a lot lately is how boys/men figure out who they are and how to act when they are with other men. I think that often, when we're around the opposite sex, there is a performative aspect. For some people, this is more pronounced. I do think, though, that spending time with our own gender is an important part of how we define ourselves. For women, there are so many opportunities to do this. I can go out for a drink with a girlfriend, chat while our kids play, call a friend, play women's league hockey, go to a bachelorette party, etc. Few men seem to do this- a "guys night out" has rowdy connotations. I know few, if any, men who would meet another man for a cup of coffee and a chat. Scouts gives boys a way to do this, and a way to define themselves as men without an undercurrent of ogling women/drunkenness/general debauchery. When we get rid of those opportunities, I think we lose something significant.

For comparison, my ex went to an all-male college. It was four years of drinking and sleeping with anyone he could. It was all male, sure, but there was no structure around what that means.

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So bearess, are you saying boys need to be around boys to learn how not to be idiots when they grow up and are not around women? I never thought of that.

 

Skip, the problems your wife has with credit cards would never happen where I live. The bill is always placed in the middle of the table. There are plenty of cases where the fact that I'm married means nothing. I can't even ask about my wife's medical info without her written permission.

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My wife pays for everything on her card.  It's a credit card that she gets sky miles for.  I don't dare interfere with that process.  She's down to Houston visiting grandchildren right now because of that.  I can only imagine the divorce papers being served if I ever picked up the tab, or even got close to touching it.

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"BP would be spinning in his grave to see how far away from 'traditional scouting' we've come and include so many merit badges that have nothing to do with his founding principles and ideals." 

 

Most of BP's merit badges were vocational.

 

 "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. "

 

Or it may do what it did for Canada.  Not sure how one predicts the future, although politicians claim to be able to do it.

 

"Opportunity - Girls should have the same opportunities to experience scouting and benefit from it, and let's face it, GSUSA doesn't provide a comparable program."

 

And BSA has to - or should -  provide that "opportunity" out of its private funding?

 

"100 years ago, there were also men's clubs and women were only allowed to hold a handful of jobs. I'd like to think we have advanced as a society a little bit since then."

 

Me too, but not relevant, I think.  It's not employment.  BSA is not "society."  It is one private youth program, and not nearly the largest in the U.S.  Were it the sole opportunity to gain some critical life skill, you might have an argument, but it's hardly that.  And, as noted, Scouting has been open to girls in some of its programs - as it happens, since 1969 (Exploring).  Must every citizen pay up to give every other citizen every possible opportunity?  If girls are "all in," must BSA provide other program that is desired by some?  

 

"Everyone knows this, . . . ."   The list of what "everybody" knows is fairly narrow or perhaps nonexistent.  At one time, 85% of Egyptian citizens polled were sure the U.S. crashed the planes into the Twin Towers to slander Islam.  Vaccination?  

 

"Our obligation to the heritage of scouting isn't to abide by his teachings exactly as they were, but to take them and adapt them to modern society and adjust them over time as we learn how to do things better. We don't stick to early 1900s first aid methods because we know better now. We don't judge people on the shape of their face (BP said we could judge a man's character that way). We do a lot of things differently today because we've got 100+ years of life lessons and experiences to add to BP's teachings. I view it as honoring our heritage to alter the program as needed over time." 

 

If wise, you change what you must to save the best of what need not be changed.  If very wise, you usually know the difference between the two.  Although change is not coextensive with improvement, change is inevitable, for better or worse.  We changed by providing that the leasers are to be elected, not appointed by the adults.

 

Change is almost always debated because change is stressful and upsetting.  Example: resistance by U.S. military leaders to repeating firearms, so we went into war with Spain with mainly obsolete single-shot, black powder rifles to oppose the smokeless powder, magazine-fed Mauser rifles of Spain.  Thank God Spain was a fourth-rate power.

 

The demise of the Patrol Method is somewhat of a mystery since BSA does not explain much.  I am told by a high-ranking professional that it started with people at National who had no idea what is was.  They were (and are) so bogged down with secondary issues - results of causes instead of causes, that they "misplaced" the Patrol Method.  They seems to have also misplaced outdoors (only introductory training for program leaders) and values (As to the last, how else to explain the scandal of summer camp merit badge mills run by "professional" Scouters.)

 

To some "freedom of choice" is to freedom to select the choices they prefer.  Sort of like "Power to the People [who think like me]." (Well, your ideas are just wrong - even evil since I am a supporter of good.)

 

To some "compromise" is steady "progress" to what they want and away from what others want.  The issue then, is what do you give up and what do I get, never the other way.  So  for example, "reducing government spending" is reducing the rate of increase (for now).

 

Boys are competing in girls' HS sports (shattering girls' records) and visa-versa.  We should also eliminate age and weight categories.  It may not be true that an 18-year-old is unfairly advantaged over an 11-year-old or a 200-pounder over a 140 pounder.

 

I wish this was a simple issue for me.   :( 

Edited by TAHAWK

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All of this makes for interesting reading. I truly respect everyone's views. For me, if BSA can remain for just boys as members until after I die, that would be great. If it changes before then, I'll resign. After 38 years as a SM (for three different troops including my home troop), I've had a great and challenging trip. I've spent the last three years doing maintenance at a very special council camp with a bunch of mostly retired unit leaders. We are a very dedicated group of folks. Our fellowship is strong for the Boy Scouts. I hope to keep "working" out there for many years to come. I really don't know if my friends would leave the BSA if this change occurs. It just wouldn't be the same. I don't mind the occasional tweak, but some things don't have to change.

 

sst3rd

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 "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. "

 

Or it may do what it did for Canada.  Not sure how one predicts the future, although politicians claim to be able to do it.

 

It's a gamble I'd be willing to take. Unless someone comes up with some better idea for how to stop (or just slow) the membership decline. Maybe co-ed would be the old band-aid on a bullet wound, just slow the demise a bit. I don't know. What I'm not sure we've got much else to lose when the end could very possibly be just a decade or two away at the current rate of annual membership loss. 

 

 

"Opportunity - Girls should have the same opportunities to experience scouting and benefit from it, and let's face it, GSUSA doesn't provide a comparable program."

 

And BSA has to - or should -  provide that "opportunity" out of its private funding?

 

The BSA has no obligation to, of course. But they do have the opportunity (for lack of a better repeated word) to offer a comparable program for girls. I don't see it as a burden the BSA would have to carry. I see it as a chance to broaden their audience and improve on what they're already offering boys. 

 

Guess it all depends on how you look at it. Opportunity or obligation, benefit or burden. 

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It's a gamble I'd be willing to take. Unless someone comes up with some better idea for how to stop (or just slow) the membership decline. Maybe co-ed would be the old band-aid on a bullet wound, just slow the demise a bit. I don't know. What I'm not sure we've got much else to lose when the end could very possibly be just a decade or two away at the current rate of annual membership loss. 

 

Better yet if one is into gambling, why not take all the suggestions put them in a hat and pick one out.  Either it's going to speed up the decline or fix it. 

 

I guess I don't make a very good gambler because I like to stack the deck and minimize the risks.  I don't know of any organization that plans out their future on risks according to questionable outcomes.  If all that BSA wanted to do is improve membership, drop the annual fees to $5 and directly subsidize the local units.  That isn't going to happen, but it would increase the numbers substantially., but could it survive financially.  On the other hand I would think that making major changes to the program that people like, would there be enough unknowns out there that would like it to off-set those that wouldn't?  With change it could mean improvement, decline or destruction of an organization.  Is what we have worth the risk of change?

 

The BSA has no obligation to, of course. But they do have the opportunity (for lack of a better repeated word) to offer a comparable program for girls. I don't see it as a burden the BSA would have to carry. I see it as a chance to broaden their audience and improve on what they're already offering boys. 

 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, offering up MORE programs will open new markets and new opportunities for youth.  Offering LESS programs, especially those that have traditionally made the program what it is today, is a major risk at best.

 

Guess it all depends on how you look at it. Opportunity or obligation, benefit or burden. 

 

Unless the change will promote the basic mission of the program rather than change it, I'm all for it.  If the change is to alter the basic mission of the organization, one might as well just start a new organization because the goals of the core mission are not the same.  Co-ed is a major shift in the mission of BOY Scouts to say the least.

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"Co-ed is a major shift in the mission of BOY Scouts to say the least."

 

The core mission of the BSA is unchanged regardless of who the members are. The name of the organization is not the mission of the organization. The BSA has been and will continue to be about character development, which happens to be completely aligned with the GSUSA mission. There is no shift. 

Edited by EmberMike

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It's a gamble I'd be willing to take. Unless someone comes up with some better idea for how to stop (or just slow) the membership decline. Maybe co-ed would be the old band-aid on a bullet wound, just slow the demise a bit. ...

The most striking American experiment we have is venturing, the singular co-ed program that has had the most rapid membership decline of all of BSA's programs.

Even the Brit's are just now coming around to serve as many boys as they had before going co-ed. More discussion here:

http://scouter.com/index.php/topic/28648-how-has-the-addition-of-girls-affected-scouting-in-other-countries/

All evidence points to BSA's membership decline accelerating by going fully co-ed at least in the near term.

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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. 

 

When looked at from a detached perspective that may make sense.

 

Trouble is that the people you are going to sell this to are not detached,

 

Cubs is a very well known and successful "brand" for want of a better word. Your concept of tribe may have the same program as cubs, may have the same structure, the same uniform and awards even. Trouble is that mum and dad of the 7 year old approaching you want their child to join this thing that's been around 100 years, in most countries in the world, that dad went to when he was a kid. And that thing is called Cubs. And I suspect that will go for boys and girls. And that is what I mean by "Can't get there from here".

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The most striking American experiment we have is venturing, the singular co-ed program that has had the most rapid membership decline of all of BSA's programs.

Even the Brit's are just now coming around to serve as many boys as they had before going co-ed. More discussion here:

http://scouter.com/index.php/topic/28648-how-has-the-addition-of-girls-affected-scouting-in-other-countries/

All evidence points to BSA's membership decline accelerating by going fully co-ed at least in the near term.

 

It doesn't matter who you let through the door, you're either appealing as a thing to do, or you're not. If you're appealing to more and more kids every year, they you're growing, otherwise you're shrinking. Yes, I'm saying the obvious. I believe the gender thing in the UK had a short term effect on numbers, but I believe the programme changes (and other things) have made it more appealing. No way to prove it either way of course, unless we can access alternate universes.

 

Going back to the original post, you have someone who is enthusiastic about boy scouting, who wants to do it, not being sent begrudgingly by their parents, and you're turning them away. Is that a good idea?

Edited by ianwilkins
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I have noticed Girl Scouts using power tools for their Gold Award. I saw one lass adeptly handle a Stihl chain saw. I wonder how many Gold Awards would be rejected as Eagle Projects over power tool restrictions? Apparently the mindset at the GSUSA is that girls should be empowered (their term) to use such tools by adults who properly instruct and supervise, as we would say "keeping the promise". Now wouldn't that be something if allowing girls in resulted in shaming the BSA to man-up to the same level. Geez, maybe our scouts could even shoot semi-auto. Or maybe, just maybe, allowing girls in will bring back a proper scout neckerchief to the BSA. 

 

Another $0.02

Edited by RememberSchiff

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...Going back to the original post, you have someone who is enthusiastic about boy scouting, who wants to do it, not being sent begrudgingly by their parents, and you're turning them away. Is that a good idea?

It would be a good idea if there weren't, for every one of her, hundreds, if not thousands, of boys who want a single-sex experience.

All we see here is a youth who is officially a member of BSA, who qualifies to earn BSA-issued awards that are known to be as, if-not-more, challenging than Eagle, with a petition of no-cost signatures. Elsewhere we see the occasional cluster of girls mastering First Class skills and earning merit badges.

In my district, there are hundreds of Girl Scouts in their late teens. Currently, there are four female venturers. There is no proof that there are any more girls who would be committed to the BSA at the Cub or Boy Scout level. We do know that there are boys and their leaders who will abandon cubs and troops at the slightest membership change.

Add a girl, lose a hundred boys. How is that fair?

 

We yanks are all kind of like Missouri, the "show me" state.

 

 

Talk is cheap.

Let's see an escrow account of 10,000 girls' dues and registration fees held in earnest for when they may sign on as members.

Let's see troops and troops of GS/USA partnering with BSA troops for weekly meetings and hiking and camping together. There are one or two examples out there, show me 1000.

Let's see thousands of scouters having fun cobbling together co-ed programs within the bounds set for them.

Let's see the meteoric rise of independent scouting organizations whose policies are inclusive.

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