Jump to content
RememberSchiff

Outside Magazine: Boy Scouts Should Allow Girls

Recommended Posts

On that we are in agreement - but I imagine such research, typically performed by random survey, would have a significant margin of error. If we look at other polling/surveys of what people think they will do at some point in the future based on a policy that has yet to be implemented, the results are often significantly different than reality.

 

Additionally, such a survey would have to include both current members (youth - which surveying is problematic), parents, adult leaders, and everyone that might join due to the change. That is a pretty big poll of survey recipients.

 

I am not sure that such results would be probative either way.

All the 14-20 year old young women in the country are invited to join venturing.  For 10+ years, it has been the fastest shirnking division of the BSA.

Every European scouting association continued to have declines in male membership for decades after including females. Very few have reversed that trend (the exceptions being communist or fascist countries where scout associations had to rebuild from scratch).

Even Scouts UK is not quite up to it's pre-1990's # of boys. (Not sure if that's true for percentage of eligible boys.) They've got perhaps the best problem to have, not enough leaders for the demand. But that's the point isn't it? For all of its programming success, the former leaders who wanted to maintain a unisex program moved on haven't rallied behind the revamped organization.

 

Empirical conclusion: opening to girls loses boys, at least for 3 decades.

 

Sure, find me the market research that shows there are 10,000+ girls who will commit and bring what brothers they have along, and we can have a different conversation about the credibility of a stop-loss. Until then, it's your wishful thinking against the rest of the western world's plus venturing's experience that many will be sacrificed for the sake of the few.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surveys typically are based on samples and are simply data.  But failing to survey the customers was one fact of the rush to the New Scouting Program that nearly did us in decades ago.  It is incompetent not to research important decisions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the 14-20 year old young women in the country are invited to join venturing.  For 10+ years, it has been the fastest shirnking division of the BSA.

Every European scouting association continued to have declines in male membership for decades after including females. Very few have reversed that trend (the exceptions being communist or fascist countries where scout associations had to rebuild from scratch).

Even Scouts UK is not quite up to it's pre-1990's # of boys. (Not sure if that's true for percentage of eligible boys.) They've got perhaps the best problem to have, not enough leaders for the demand. But that's the point isn't it? For all of its programming success, the former leaders who wanted to maintain a unisex program moved on haven't rallied behind the revamped organization.

 

Empirical conclusion: opening to girls loses boys, at least for 3 decades.

 

Sure, find me the market research that shows there are 10,000+ girls who will commit and bring what brothers they have along, and we can have a different conversation about the credibility of a stop-loss. Until then, it's your wishful thinking against the rest of the western world's plus venturing's experience that many will be sacrificed for the sake of the few.

With regard to the UK I would be very hesitant to link the drop in numbers in the 1990s with going coed. I was a scout at the time and what put most boys off was the fact that it had stagnated and its image sucked. I used to get a hard time at school for being a scout and no one cared that girls could now join. I was teased for the dreadful uniform.

 

Yes we lost some adult members over it and most didn't come back but an awful lot more adults have come on board who wouldn't have if it was single sex. That took time but it didn't eventually happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you mean, it DID eventually happen.  Right?

Yes! Sorry!

 

Example, we have two 18 year old female ASLs who we have because they have been with the group all the way from Beavers to Explorers and out the other end

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With regard to the UK I would be very hesitant to link the drop in numbers in the 1990s with going coed. I was a scout at the time and what put most boys off was the fact that it had stagnated and its image sucked. I used to get a hard time at school for being a scout and no one cared that girls could now join. I was teased for the dreadful uniform.

 

Yes we lost some adult members over it and most didn't come back but an awful lot more adults have come on board who wouldn't have if it was single sex. That took time but it [did] eventually happen.

'Skip, I'm not denying that there were other factors, and that opening to girls was part of a larger necessary transformation in Scouts UK.

But, I'd argue that it opening your program, as it was, to girls did not solve your membership issues ... as some had proposed it would with BSA. Those no-doubt-phenomenal ASL's were a two-decade work in progress (starting when they were hardly even twinkles in their parent's eyes). That says something for British resolve!

 

Americans are not always so generous with their time. Venturing is the case in point. To date, not enough time is put in or returned to that program to make it grow. The only place I see American adults committing large amounts of time toward teen programs is in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and unisex sports. I just down see there being enough adults with a commitment to co-ed scouting for some 30 year transition.

Edited by qwazse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'Skip, I'm not denying that there were other factors, and that opening to girls was part of a larger necessary transformation in Scouts UK.

But, I'd argue that it opening your program, as it was, to girls did not solve your membership issues ... as some had proposed it would with BSA. Those no-doubt-phenomenal ASL's were a two-decade work in progress (starting when they were hardly even twinkles in their parent's eyes). That says something for British resolve!

 

Americans are not always so generous with their time. Venturing is the case in point. To date, not enough time is put in or returned to that program to make it grow. The only place I see American adults committing large amounts of time toward teen programs is in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and unisex sports. I just down see there being enough adults with a commitment to co-ed scouting for some 30 year transition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whilst UK Scouting was moving towards Co-ed it certainly wasn't a strictly co-ed movement in the UK in the 1990's

UK Scouting is organised round the Group principal, that is there are (upto) three  Sections under one management system, known as the Scout Group which consists of Beavers, Cub Scouts and Scouts, Explorer Scouts are a District provision, but are often attached to groups as is Scout Network ( 18 - 25)

 

the following is a rough timeline

In the late 1960's There was a major re-structure, which ( amongst other things) resulted in the creation of Venture Scouts - replacing Rover Scouts. Also the Name The Boy Scout Association was changed to The Scout Association

In the mid/late 1970's Girls could be admitted to Venture Scouts ( age 15.5-21 ?) if the Venture Scout unit, and the Scout Group it was a part of agreed

In the Early 1990's Girls could join all sections within a group, at the Discretion of the group ( typicaly all leaders/adults had to agree to this) if Beavers went Co-ed in a group, then all other sections age upwards had to.

In 2007 the local /Sectional option was removed and all groups had to accept Girls no matter what, or face closure/removal of leaders.

 

However, as far as i know its acceptable to run two ( or more) nights still as single sex, as long as there is active provision in the group for all sexes, and the relevant Scouting commissioner approves. so in theory its possible to have the following hypothetical set up:

 

17th Somewhere town Scout Group, West Norwhereshire District

 

Monday: Beavers (Girls) 5:30pm-7pm  Scouts (girls) 7:30-9:30pm

Tuesday Beavers (Boys) 5:30-7pm, Scouts (Boys) 7:30-9:30pm

Wednesday 6:30-8pm Cub Scouts (Girls)

Thursday 6:30pm-8pm) Cub Scouts (boys)

 

However i havent seen the above set up, and it would only be allowed to exists with the aproval of the District Commissioner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I don't believe adding girls would offset LDS loss, and since the BSA is investigating this change I don't believe LDS would leave as a result of adding girls (my guess). If that is the case, I tend hope BSA did do the studies that show membership increase. Hopefully they are accurate          

 

OR, LDS has already told BSA that they are on their way out and this is viewed as a way to help offset that loss; as you are probably correct in your assumption that if LDS were to leave over this, adding girls won't offset that loss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the 14-20 year old young women in the country are invited to join venturing.  For 10+ years, it has been the fastest shirnking division of the BSA.

Every European scouting association continued to have declines in male membership for decades after including females. Very few have reversed that trend (the exceptions being communist or fascist countries where scout associations had to rebuild from scratch).

Even Scouts UK is not quite up to it's pre-1990's # of boys.

 

OK, but what does that have to do with opening membership? If BSA, including Venturing, is currently losing members, then it does not follow logically that by being more inclusive, more members would leave. It isn't as if boys have been avoiding Boy Scouts because of girls being included. They obviously left for every other reason as girls being included was not even an issue (and not even in Venturing as they could simply join a regular troop).

 

I don't deny that BSA has a growth problem but that problem is highly unlikely to be related to the current discussion. No one avoided joining Cub Scouts because girls were in the Den.

 

Empirical conclusion: opening to girls loses boys, at least for 3 decades.

 

 

 

Based on what?!? Again, BSA (cub and boy scouts) has lost members for decades when no girls were members. There is no evidence, empirical or otherwise, that their inclusion would lead to more losses.

 

There is a logical fallacy in the conclusion you are trying to apply. In order for there to be empirical evidence, you would have to show that the inclusion of girls, via a regression analysis, lead to a decline in boys. No such data exists to my knowledge.

 

But I digress, I am willing to allow for the possibility that some boys and their parents would chose to skip out on the BSA experience because some girls got in, and perhaps even more than the number of girls that would join. I doubt it but I am certainly willing to allow for the possibility.

 

Doesn't mean that I would necessarily change my support for this change. I am sure some once had the same opinion about opening BSA up for other groups and I am sure BSA lost members when that happened too - but I also think it was the right thing to do. Sometimes the right thing to do is not always the most popular. I am sure we differ on what is right on this topic, and I respect your difference of opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OR, LDS has already told BSA that they are on their way out and this is viewed as a way to help offset that loss; as you are probably correct in your assumption that if LDS were to leave over this, adding girls won't offset that loss.

 

I doubt that the BSA's thinking on this is that specific.  They want to increase membership significantly.  I don't think they care whether they are "offsetting" past, present or possible future losses, or losses caused by the loss of a major CO vs. "regular" losses due to any number of factors.  They just want a lot more members, and I can see why increasing the potential membership base for Cubs and Boy-Scout-age programs by somewhere around 100% might seem like an attractive option.  Whether it "works" or not remains to be seen.  A lot of people have been making predictions, but I don't see the point.  Nobody really KNOWS what is going to happen in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there are multiple issues driving this change. One is some pressure from parents to let their daughters be included (especially at the cub scout level). Another is membership numbers. There are probably additional reasons, perhaps related to fund raising or the desires of various COs (or potential COs), I don't really know. If and when the specifics of the changes are announced, hopefully we will get a better understanding of the thinking (but this is BSA national, so probably not).

 

As for the reasons for the decline in BSA membership, I submit that those that say anything of the form "it's all because of X" are incorrect. There is no single, or overriding reason for the decline, it a huge list of reasons. Some have to do with the policies, programs and image of the BSA, but a lot have nothing to do with the organization - our society has changed. For one, fewer parents and kids think spending time in the woods is a good idea. They would much rather stay inside and play video games, or go to robot league, or play in their year-round sports team, or <insert activity here>. Almost all the traditional youth programs (4H, FFA, GSUSA, etc.) have experienced decline in membership (it's interesting to note most peaked around the same time: BSA's peak was in 1972, 4-H's in 1975, and GSUSA's peak was in 1970).

 

The reality is that the BSA will never be as big as it was in 1960 and 1970s. Society is different today, and what worked well in 1950 may not work well today. The BSA has to adapt. The question of course is how to adapt while staying true to it's core ideals.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, not forgetting, I simply disagree with your assumption that more boys would leave over the inclusion of girls than girls that would join.

Right. Because the 6-7% that have left year after years since the 2013 policy change has inticed guys to stay. Now let's add girls and surely more won't leave? Great logic that. We will see who's assumption is correct.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@Rick_in_CA, you don't believe in cause and effect then?

 

For YEARS the year on year decline is at 2-3%.

 

Then in 2013 it increases to 6-7% AND STAYS THERE after the policy change until 2017? That's just coincidence? No other big program changes? No perv file issues. Another 70,000 people per year decided to drop Scoutignout of no where?

 

Ok. Then why do you think the rate of declined has doubled and stayed there?

 

There's a relationship between policy and decline. You don't want to see it because it doesn't fit your belief system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a relationship between policy and decline. You don't want to see it because it doesn't fit your belief system.

Yup, because the only time* BSA makes the news is when there's strife and angst over policy change. Or the bad leader in jail. Who'd want to join that?

 

* Ok, there's probably some "Scout gets every merit badge" or "Eagle Scout fixes garden for the elderly" local "and finally" type stories but...

 

Maybe the UK is chasing celebrity but with Mr Grylls as chief scout, he's got enough clout to get "scouting is a good thing" type stories into magazines and newspapers, and there's a few more "ambassadors" like Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Steve Backshall (ok, big in the UK) who also stand up and say "we volunteer, scouting is a good thing" in the media. It's no longer a thing you do that you know is fun but you'd never tell your mates (ok, some kids still have that as they're achingly worried that they'll be shunned by the cool kids) to something that's socially acceptable. It's been a real transformation over the last 15 years. Yet still, even with all that, we're still only growing by 1-3%.

 

I hope BSA find the answer, but I'm pretty sure the answer isn't just in letting girls in, or allowing gays, or dropping god etc etc. There needs to be a transformation of public attitudes from negative to positive.

  • 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

×