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kscouter

Girl Scouts letter to BSA

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That's very interesting Eagle, thanks. My wife was a leader in the GSUSA while I was a Scoutmaster, so it was easy to compare. She didn't last long because the program just had no point. When she tried to run her troop like a BSA troop, she was stopped by the higher leadership. 

 

If the BSA wanted to partner with a Girls program, Campfire would be the way to go because the program closely resembled the BSA. They have been struggling with membership ever since they opened up to gays. Campfire was at the time a very values and traditional program. It didn't hold well to liberal progressivism. I don't know how they are doing today, but we haven't seen Campfire candy sells for a long time. 

 

Barry

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Chicago Tribune editorial board....

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-scouts-20170824-story.html

 

"An obvious solution to consider is a merger, which would assure strong membership and reflect social change. But if that’s a non-starter, here’s an interesting alternative: Since we’re waaaaay past the era when Boy Scouts went canoeing while Girl Scouts learned to sew, open both organizations to all youths. Both do the same types of activities, from rocketry to rock climbing. Both are good at selling stuff. So let them sell the benefits of membership along with the cookies and popcorn. Allow the kids to sort out how they want to spend their time, and with whom. Talk about equality, and empowerment."

 

Washington Post Opinion (by one of their reporters who is an ex member of GSUSA)..

"Girls shouldn’t be barred from the Boy Scouts if that’s where they want to be. But the effort to undercut the Girl Scouts by stealing the lifeblood of their organization is sneaky, pathetic and shameful. #Resist #Persist"

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Washington Post Opinion (by one of their reporters who is an ex member of GSUSA)..

"Girls shouldn’t be barred from the Boy Scouts if that’s where they want to be. But the effort to undercut the Girl Scouts by stealing the lifeblood of their organization is sneaky, pathetic and shameful. #Resist #Persist"

 

If you take out the "sneaky" part, which is really a different issue from what action the BSA should take, I think this writer has created a paradox.  She is saying the BSA should let in girls but shouldn't "steal the lifeblood" of the GSUSA.  Melodramatic metaphors aside, those are really the same thing.  You can't let in girls without potentially letting in girls who would otherwise be in the Girl Scouts.

 

As for "sneaky"... regardless of what the correct decision may be, the way the BSA has handled this, and particularly some councils (see the thread I started, "A letter from my SE"), has been sneaky.  Including the apparent attempt to "hide" a survey on the Internet.  Who thought THAT was a good idea? That's like me putting a meatball in my dog's dinner bowl and expecting it to be there for more than about 10 seconds.

Edited by NJCubScouter
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NJ.. the sneaky part they are referring to is an accusation the BSA is badmouthing GSUSA. I have never seen that (outside of GSUSA parents and scouts fed up with their program). As you mention the actual sneaky part is the BSA tactic that is preventing current members of BSA from knowing what is being discussed.

 

Merger or any partnership with GSUSA should be off the table. Campfire scouts may be a better option. I wonder what the female venture scouts think of that resist/persist hash tag. To me it is incredibly condescending. I am confident girls and young women have the strength of character to chose the program or programs that suit them best.

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I wonder what the female venture scouts think of that resist/persist hash tag. To me it is incredibly condescending. I am confident girls and young women have the strength of character to chose the program or programs that suit them best.

All but one of our female Venturers is a member of GSUSA. They do Venturing for the high adventure stuff they don't get in GSUSA. They believe goes should join Venturing not Boy Scouts. They're in it for their Gold Award that's it. They're in adventuring Venturing for the fun they can't get elsewhere.

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Here's another "sneaky" BSA trick. Their latest "family" post (that's three in as many days) claims families have been clambering for online registration.

 

Really? Families have? More like memebership chairmen and the poor volunteers that's have had to drive to council to submit an app every time someone changes or adds a position. Families though? ZERO in my years of taking apps. They're just as happy to fill out the hard copy.

 

More BS from BSA.

 

http://scoutingwire.org/online-registration-is-live-across-scouting-nation/?utm_term=0_b9ab80fed4-75ce608ddc-204047165&utm_content=buffer336fb&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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The BSA shouldn't be making it's decisions based on what the cookie mafia's leadership thinks. That goes for membership policies or anything else. I don't see the overlap between the GSUSA and the BSA. It's serving different demographics. Plenty of other countries have a Co-ed Scout Association and a Girl Guides Organization. As long as the Cookie mafia is happy running an organization where the girls don't get out in the woods there will always be a small but substantial group of girls that want that experience. 

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Today on Facebook a GSUSA Leader friend of mine forwarded a GSUSA meme/ad of "GSUSA is for the GIRLS!". No coincidence I think. While BSA National is trying to sneak this one in, GSUSA is prepared to elevate the issue. And I saw a number of articles popping up on Slate, etc addressing why progressive girls would want to join those mouth-breathing Boy Scouts. I think GSUSA may, at least in the short term, play the part of 'bad cop'. 

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Ignoring, for the moment, if this is a good thing or not for the BOYS ...

 

One of the things I really do like about the Girl Scout approach (and I understand that specifics are very leader dependent), is that it really is focused to try and encourage the Girls to believe that they can do anything they want to, including areas that at one time were not traditionally women's areas or roles.  It is because of this, that I accept their reluctance for male leader role models to be involved in their program (as it may reinforce that a man has to teach me how to do this, rather than a woman teaching the same thing).

 

In practice, it still means (again very leader dependent) that the girl scouts to activities that appeal to their leaders (mothers), and thus at the unit level there is still a strong 'traditional role' focus, at the service area levels there do tend to be more STEM and other women empowering activities.  At least this is my experience with my Daughter's troop and others in this area.

 

Opening up the BSA programs to girls gives the girls more choice, lets the girls (and their families) decide what they want to do.  It is, by definition allowing the girls to do the same things that boys can do.  This should also be a very empowering message for them. 

 

Clearly the GSUSA feels threatened, and they should.  I don't think the BSA would take huge portions of their membership.  Most of the Girl Scouts like the activities they do there.  I would be surprised if even as much as 10% of current girl scouts moved over, and I expect that most of those that did, would likely already have BSA members in their family.  That's not an insignificant loss to the GSUSA, and not an insignificant (potential) bump to the BSA membership.

 

With a proper marketing spin by the BSA (yeah I know, fat chance), it would be hard for the GSUSA to make a public case that the BSA has to stay boys only and that only they can serve the like minded girls.  The only real avenue for their attack, which appears to be the current approach, is to discredit the motivation - it's only for membership numbers, not because of the girls, etc.

 

On the moral high ground front, I think the GSUSA already lost this argument when they began to admit the transgendered boys living as girls (I am not sure of the PC terms).  They have, in essence already said that if GSUSA program is a better fit for them, come on and join.  Likewise, with the BSA policy on transgender girls living as boys being able to join the BSA - it's probably just better all the way round for both organizations to drop pretense and accept all who think that their respective program is the better fit for the youth member's personality.

 

My daughter has already said that given the opportunity, she would rather do the types of things her brother does.  She doesn't dislike the girl scouts, and she has many friends there, she just likes the other types of activities more (or at least thinks she does based on her exposure so far).

 

I dislike that the GSUSA has used terms like "sneek" and what not in their comments.  Assuming that the decision has not already been made and that the solicitation for comments is sincere, then they have been fairly open about the process.  Even if the decision has been made, looking for how the best implement it, how to make it work, and what to do (particularly for the 11-13 girls), has been relatively public for anyone paying attention.  No, it hasn't been a press release, etc., but that wouldn't normally be the case until a transition plan had been developed.

 

Is this whole process even necessary?  That's a harder one.  I like that the BSA currently has a place for boys to be boys (so to speak), but I also like the thought that my Daughter could get exposed to youth-run activities rather than adult leader run activities.  I personally like that the BSA is being more inclusive, and removing opportunities for obvious progressive/SJW and similar attacks.  The religion/atheist thing is still out there, and no doubt the next target.

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Today on Facebook a GSUSA Leader friend of mine forwarded a GSUSA meme/ad of "GSUSA is for the GIRLS!". No coincidence I think. While BSA National is trying to sneak this one in, GSUSA is prepared to elevate the issue. And I saw a number of articles popping up on Slate, etc addressing why progressive girls would want to join those mouth-breathing Boy Scouts. I think GSUSA may, at least in the short term, play the part of 'bad cop'. 

 

There must be a split in the progressive political spectrum, since we've been accused of being mouth breathing troglodytes for not allowing girls into the program. Not sure how the BSA wins with these people.. 

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Chicago Tribune editorial board....

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-scouts-20170824-story.html

 

"An obvious solution to consider is a merger, which would assure strong membership and reflect social change. But if that’s a non-starter, here’s an interesting alternative: Since we’re waaaaay past the era when Boy Scouts went canoeing while Girl Scouts learned to sew, open both organizations to all youths. Both do the same types of activities, from rocketry to rock climbing. Both are good at selling stuff. So let them sell the benefits of membership along with the cookies and popcorn. Allow the kids to sort out how they want to spend their time, and with whom. Talk about equality, and empowerment."

 

 

This sounds exactly like the membership organization I chose many years ago when GS wasn't really "my thing". We called it 4-H. It's still around, isn't it? Suited us very well, my older sister the book-worm, and my younger brother who is a professional stunt man included!  Any family who wants a club that morphs to fit small groups and even individuals would do well to start or join a like-minded club. I'm not being sarcastic, I'm pointing out an organization that already does this and no one seems to be mentioning.  I even went to 4-H camp and loved it...cabin camping - boys on one side and girls on the other with a few shared activities for older scouts...something for almost everyone! (I was in a club with my sister and her friends - friends of mine moved from GS to form another club and my brother had a different type of club that emphasized the outdoors and started as all boys but had both boys & girls before long)

 

Where I live now was once a vibrant 4H community and there's nothing here to show for it, which disappoints me but not enough to revive it singlehandedly. I have 2 sons and they've had great experiences as Cubs (as have I as first a den leader and now a pack CC) and my older is faring well in his troop. I'm fine with the status quo of boys-only and co-ed Venturing. I think that makes very reasonable accommodations for everyone. When my fellow leaders who have older daughters saw what our WeBeLos scouts do, they and their GS daughters wanted to participate, too. Our Webelos Skills volunteer is a Troop leader and an Eagle Scout who himself has daughters and no sons. He held similar classes for the GS Troop those sisters were in because he wanted to impart the same skills to those like-minded girls who wanted them!  Everyone wins and no one disparages anyone else. We can all play together even if it's not actually together...who knows, some of those girls (who left GS after earning "Silver") may become Venture scouts - their brothers are still in Scouting, with active parents.

 

But, if BSA does make the move to include girls from year one in all programs, then they don't owe any other organization the benefit of their decision-making process to do so. Their members, yes. The GSA, no. Nor Cooperative Extension, the Fireside Girls, Junior Achievement or anyone else.  My background is in membership organization management and a Board needs to do what's right for the organization as the top priority. Sure, that means change and sure there's no one change that will ever make EVERYONE happy under the BSA umbrella. But nice try GSUSA, no one is being "sneaky". I'm a progressive woman and if the BSA DID make decisions based on what GSUSA wanted, I'd be rather upset!

 

Am I the only one here who DOESN'T think they're about to open membership to girls?? In my experience nothing happens quickly in the BSA (10 year "pilot" just to see if Kindergarten boys should join??  Painfully slow and kinda insulting to boys when girls are already Daisies, no? I appreciate the painstaking effort to make the program age-appropriate but it's not the right pace for our current world - how do you go from THAT to a snap decision to include girls??)

 

Frankly, BOTH organizations need to focus on their own missions and build their memberships accordingly. Yes to all who say that more minorities or other populations should be embraced. I can see it in my own Pack and I want us to do better, but it's a bit of a culture-thing (Boy Scouts more likely than Cubs so that may help us in our approach). I value diversity and our pack does so well in that area that we have a very successful International Night pack meeting every year. 

 

I'll keep an eye on this in the news and in these forums as it's an interesting topic. I just don't think it's a change we're likely to see in the near future.

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This is a sad day for both organizations.  The one doesn't realize it has lost it's original focus and the other has just begun to realize what it's focus could be but isn't....

1) No one is required to join either organization. Choose the program that suits your kids' interests and your desires.
2) The present GSUSA and BSA have very different programs and philosophies. Units in GSUSA are owned by the local GS Council. All money and unit gear is owned by the Council and parceled out to the unit. Sell cookies? Council gets money. BSA units are owned by a local organization: a church, synagogue, fire dept. PTA, even a hardware store. Sell popcorn?  Unit gets 1/3, Council 1/3, Popcorn 1/3. Unit can do what it wants with it's gear and money.
3) BSA: Leaders are recruited, trained, encouraged to get out and do stuff, especially let the BOYS plan and do stuff. There is a definite program of advancement and adventure. GS: If a woman wants to have a GSTroop, she can. If she wants tea parties, or fashionistas, that is what the GSTroop does. If she wants to hike /camp, she does. (she does?) BSA: many female leaders. GSUSA: Males are refused.
4) Membership: I once asked a GS Brownie leader to join us in a Cub recruiting event , she replied:  "oh no, we don't want any more girls, we have enough." (?!?!?!) If the GSleader wants no more girls in her clique, she need not admit them. BSA: You better have a real good reason not to admit a boy to your Troop (Charter org only wants certain religion, for instance).
5) When the GSTroop members graduate, that's usually the end of that Troop. No continuity. My home BSTroop just celebrated 65 years. There are Troops 100 years old.
6) Echoing a previous comment, when a GS leader wants to operate her Troop ala BSA , she is often chastised and denied GS support. Smaller Patrols making up the larger Troop?? Older girls mentoring younger? Every girl having a chance to lead? Doesn't seem to fit the GSUSA model some how.
7) See number one again.

 

See you on the trail.

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This issue is that currently, there is NO ALTERNATIVE for girls that would prefer BS activities so they end up in GS. Once BS opens that door more than Venturing, GS will no longer have their exclusivity. Girls will be free to join the program that interests them (and their parents) the most. As a parent of a GS and a BS, my anecdotal experience is that GS are going to lose quite a few girls that want to join their brother's organization.

 

and when girls are allowed into the BSA... there will "NO ALTERNATIVE" for boys that would prefer an all-boy program.  

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