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RememberSchiff

Outside Magazine: Boy Scouts Should Allow Girls

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I'd say their time is running out as BSA camps, maybe your Council plans to sell them.

 

Nope. Not likely. They are in the shadow of national and have a fund of money that would make Trump proud.

 

I don't see time as running out. There's nothing compelling them to invest the money to make camps coed. And since it is BSA, they will likely make the change, not realizing the down stream impact, and then react. Let's face it, BSA does not plan ahead well, nor do they foresee (or learn from) the consequences of their actions.

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This really doesn't seem that hard if you charter only single sex units (i.e. all boy or all girl packs & troops).  

 

Summer camp - in the short term, reserve one or more weeks over the summer for all girl weeks.  Longer term, if there is interest expand camps or build new facilities.

 

Camporees - Hold separate camporees - one for boys, one for girls.  

 

Doing what's best for boys - this doesn't impact that.  Its still parents of boys running boy scout troops.  How does this impact that?

 

Separate but equal - During the civil rights movement, accommodations were not equal because the quality of those accommodations were not determined by those groups.  In the case of all girl troops or packs, the quality of those units would be determined by local leaders.  The BSA has little to do with unit quality.

 

This all doesn't seem like that big a deal.

 

It's only not a big deal IF the units are either all girls or all boys. Then you can have "Girls Week" and "Boys Week", much like they have LDS Week now.

 

However, I cannot imagine units will align strictly all one sex. What then?

 

If you've ever been to a coed camp with lacking facilities you'd know that most BSA camps are woefully unprepared in terms of coed facilities.

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It’s now 25 years since I was a 13 year old boy (more’s the pity!) in that time I’ve noticed a couple of things change in the UK. When I was 13 it was almost unheard of to have a purely plutonic friend of the opposite sex. Yes at 13 the first hints of dating were on the cards, there was the odd friendship between boys and girls here and there. But it was a pretty unusual thing to see. I had one female school friend when I was a teenager, and the hard time I got about that was extraordinary! 25 years later and watching teenagers, not just at scouts, but in the street, in public, everything seems to have changed. Gangs of friends are naturally mixed. There’s the odd gang of boys and the odd one of girls but mixed is the norm. I can’t confess to knowing where that has come from, but come about it has.

 

Genuine question, has there been any similar change in the USA?

When I was a youth, I had a few platonic female friends, but most of my friends were male. And that appears to me to be still true of most the kids I see today. At least for those not yet in high school.

 

Another thing has been the ‘esprit de corps at scouts. In the UK this has always been at troop level rather than patrol level. At least as far as my experience can see.  When I was a kid any given scout would identify themselves as a member of a troop. The patrols were simply how the troop would organise itself. While it was that way when I was a teenager I think it has become more so in recent years. The PLs would rather work together to run something as a troop than individually as a patrol.

I think that is true of most troops here in the states. I know it was in my troop when I was a kid.

 

My thought is that both of those reasons is why mixed scouting has worked in the UK. Would it work in the USA or any other country where it is still single sex? I don’t know.

I think there are cultural issues that make coed scouting more difficult in the USA than in many other countries. Simply put, here in the USA we are much more uptight about many issues, and are much more fear driven. So what is easily dealt with in Europe, isn’t here.

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We had female staff members at summer camps in 1978. We had female staff members at Maine National High Adventure Base when I worked there in the mid-1980's. The BSA figured it out way back then - it can certainly figure it out now.

 

 

I am not sure of the date but I am pretty sure we had female staff members at Philmont (including rangers) before 1974....

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This is not an editorial, but a regurgitation of facts already in evidence. I.e., one girl with a special interest in obtaining a Boy Scout award. A worthy follow-on would have been, "since then our magazine has been recieving letters for girls and their parents ..." Or, "among the women in my circle of friends ..."

Or even, "among famous women, only the greatest of those were in organization's whose target audience shifted from male to female."

 

In other words, he has no evidence of slews of young women aspiring to Eagle like Sydney Ireland is. He has no evidence of a single woman not advancing in here career while a man with Eagle on his resume did.

In short he has nothing but vacuous praise for an organization that he wants to revise because he likes special interests.

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It's only not a big deal IF the units are either all girls or all boys. Then you can have "Girls Week" and "Boys Week", much like they have LDS Week now.

 

However, I cannot imagine units will align strictly all one sex. What then?

 

If you've ever been to a coed camp with lacking facilities you'd know that most BSA camps are woefully unprepared in terms of coed facilities.

 

That's the big question.  In the larger society, is this a discussion about girls having the same opportunities as boys, about really having co-ed scouting, or about ending a boys only activity.

 

This article seems to suggest the first option - this is about providing girls the same opportunities as boys.  if so - then it's easily solved.  I'd support that myself.

 

For those folks who are really interested in co-ed scouting.  Well, I think that's a reasonably conversation.  However, at the end of the day I just don't think the benefits outweigh the costs.

 

For those folks who are interested in ending a boys only youth activity - I don't have much time for that argument.  There's no discrimination here.

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I think there are cultural issues that make coed scouting more difficult in the USA than in many other countries. Simply put, here in the USA we are much more uptight about many issues, and are much more fear driven. So what is easily dealt with in Europe, isn’t here.

I've noticed :)

 

Seriously though I'd be properly curious to see what effect the 2019 world jamboree has on things. There will be a lot of scouts from every corner of the planet turning up, all with their own way of doing things.

 

In 2005 I was at the European jamboree in the U.K. One side of my unit we had a polish unit, other side of them were isralies. The other side of us were Italian, next one on was Irish. Across the track from us were Dutch, Swiss, Ugandan and Portuguese units. If I recall right there were 68 countries with contingents there. It was an incredibly eye opening experience. The Poles who never seemed to sleep, the scruffy French, the Hungarians with a unit of over 40 scouts led by just 2 adults the oldest of who was 22. The Dutch with their human pyramids, the Italians who pioneered everything, the German tents (look up the black magic German scouts beer tent, non alcoholic of course) it was an incredible experience.

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Just what kind of facilities improvements do folks think Scout Camps are going to need to make?  Females have been allowed to be Scoutmasters since the 1980's - they've already got things figured out.

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That's the big question.  In the larger society, is this a discussion about girls having the same opportunities as boys, about really having co-ed scouting, or about ending a boys only activity.

 

This article seems to suggest the first option - this is about providing girls the same opportunities as boys.  if so - then it's easily solved.  I'd support that myself.

 

For those folks who are really interested in co-ed scouting.  Well, I think that's a reasonably conversation.  However, at the end of the day I just don't think the benefits outweigh the costs.

 

For those folks who are interested in ending a boys only youth activity - I don't have much time for that argument.  There's no discrimination here.

 

But the decision to go coed has a huge financial impact which is being overlooked. If you make the decision to go coed without first making sure you have the infrastructure in place to accommodate coed units, you create a financial problem because councils now are forced to spend money they may not have to upgrade facilities to accommodate coed use. 

 

You also have an impact on program. BSA will have to review the Scouting program to make sure it is deliverable to a coed base. You then have to re-write all the literature to be coed and not boy-specific, because the SJWs simply won't tolerate any "privileged" pronoun use. There's a financial impact to that too. 

 

Then there's training. All the current Boy Scout leaders will now have to take a new YPT. Will that simply be the Venturing YPT or will it be something else.

 

Then there's Scouter recruiting. Any unit that has girls will likely also have to have trained female leaders. If you don't have any you will need to recruit them.

 

The point being that making the change to go coed has many immense, time-consuming and costly implications for units, districts and councils. These need to be FULLY researched and addressed BEFORE any decision is made. Given BSA's track record I don't expect such consideration to happen...and it will be costly.

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Just what kind of facilities improvements do folks think Scout Camps are going to need to make?  Females have been allowed to be Scoutmasters since the 1980's - they've already got things figured out.

 

Today: 500 Scouts and adults in summer camp. Maybe 10% are women? One small dedicated shower and toilet facility (2 toilets, 2 stalls) will take care of them.

 

Post Coed: 500 Scouts and adults in summer camp. 50% are women? You'd need to dedicated a whole section to women and girls.

 

My local council did an analysis on what they would need to do to accommodate Venturing Crews for a local event. Same numbers, 500 folks and 50% women. They needed to bring in separate shower and toilet facilities meet the demands of privacy, YPT and timing (e.g., rotation of sexes through existing infrastructure).

 

Maybe your camp is different. Mine has already researched the issue and they'd need to build new facilities to handle such a change. 

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Today: 500 Scouts and adults in summer camp. Maybe 10% are women? One small dedicated shower and toilet facility (2 toilets, 2 stalls) will take care of them.

 

Post Coed: 500 Scouts and adults in summer camp. 50% are women? You'd need to dedicated a whole section to women and girls.

 

My local council did an analysis on what they would need to do to accommodate Venturing Crews for a local event. Same numbers, 500 folks and 50% women. They needed to bring in separate shower and toilet facilities meet the demands of privacy, YPT and timing (e.g., rotation of sexes through existing infrastructure).

 

Maybe your camp is different. Mine has already researched the issue and they'd need to build new facilities to handle such a change. 

 

I doubt this. Even if you laugh at the BSA National camp standards in the shadow of Irving, there are your state administrative camp health codes.

 

http://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=25&pt=1&ch=265&rl=13

 

(i) Toilets and urinals. The camp shall provide at least one toilet for every 15 females and one toilet for every 15 males. In each male toilet facility, up to 70% of the toilets required may be urinals. In facilities with more than one toilet, some means of privacy must be provided for each toilet.

 

(j) Lavatories. The camp shall provide at least one lavatory adjacent to toilet facilities. In facilities with more than five toilets or urinals in a room, there must be a minimum of two lavatories.

 

(l) Shower facilities. Resident youth camps shall provide at least one shower for every 15 females and one shower for every 15 males. Each shower shall be equipped with water to meet the needs of the campers. There shall be soap or body cleanser available at all times.

 

I think other Councils have addressed coed needs as they upgrade their camp septic systems. to comply with 2017 health codes.

Edited by RememberSchiff

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I doubt this. Even if you laugh at the BSA National camp standards in the shadow of Irving, there are your state administrative camp health codes.

 

 

Doubt all you want. I have witnessed first hand the impact coed issues have on existing camp infrastructure. You need to add time in your program day to cycle in youth boys, then youth girls, then adult men, then adult women. The impact to program was delays in start times for reasons solely related to coed issues and not anything else.

 

Can these be overcome? Of course. But the camp needs to change infrastructure and program from what it is today. You can't just take the boy-focused program and apply it to coed.

Edited by Col. Flagg

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I have to agree with @@Col. Flagg on this one, I know of camps that do not have the facilities to handle coed Scouting. Heck there is one camp that I know of, when they do a weekend council Cub Family Camp, has to bring in a bunch of portajohns ( don't even ask about showers) b/c there is only one "bath house" at the camp, with 2 rooms; a men's and a ladies. 

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Ultimately, if the BSA decides to embrace a full co-ed program, I presume that bathroom facilities at camps will not stop them.  That's easily solved with a little money.  After all - so many girls will want to join that the new revenue will easily outpace any expenditures for new bath facilities.

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Half and half is an unrealistic sex distribution. If we are as successful as the Brits at recruiting girls (which I don't think we will be), female membership won't even come close to 25% for decades. The camp infrastructure change would be underwhelming.

 

Regardless, many camps around here have already built facilities for both sexes. They are following the money. With GS/USA camp closures, there's demand from Girl Scout troops (and others) who don't want to go miles out of their way to camp.

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