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John-in-KC

OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE: Girls as Youth Members, All Programs

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First - there were internal surveys done.  If they were overwhelmingly against, this decision might have been different - if they were anywhere in the 50/50 to 60/40 range, it probably wouldn't have changed anything.

 

The BSA is a business - it may be non-profit - but it is a business.  National's interest is NOT the same as individual unit's interests - it hasn't been for decades.  Its biggest motivator is membership - that's why you see so many statistics about membership numbers.  Without members, the organization will sputter out and eventually die.  Any organization that does not change eventually suffers from entropy and withers away.  I've been repeating this every since I've been here - like all businesses, the BSA has to adapt in order to remain relevant - not to its current customers but to attract new customers.  What is happening here is very much like what happens with commercial businesses all the time.  Think of it like this - you have a favorite restaurant and you have a favorite menu item.  The restaurant never changes its menu and over time, fewer and fewer people go to the restaurant - so the restaurant changes a bunch of menu items - keeping some of the old menu items but eliminating a bunch of others.  Let's say they eliminate your favorite menu item so you decide to stop going.  You're now thinking that the restaurant is kind of stupid because they're now losing customers except the restaurant, though wishing you would stay, is also betting that for every customer that leaves because of the menu changes, they gain 2 or 3 or more new customers who like the new menu. Ummm, ask Applebee's how that worked for them. Ask Olive Garden how that worked for them. Some of the most successful restaurants (traffic and margin) operate on an unchanging and limited menu model. Tell them they need to change to keep up with the times. They'll laugh in your face.

 

The BSA is betting that they'll gain more members than they lose.  Is that a wise bet?  Only time will tell - but the BSA has to try something - the current configuration isn't sustainable in the long term for the changes that society is going through. But successful businesses also make sure to move in ways that minimizes customer defection. Business 101. Cheaper to retain than acquire. Instead of building on it's core strengths, BSA has decided to actively alienate a sizable portion of the existing customer base by chasing an undetermined population size with existing competition in that space. People get fired for less.

 

 

(I have used my thumbs up for the day.) In my little unit of 8 leaders and 40+ boys we have, in the last 24 hours, had 3 key very experienced leaders say they are going after this year. That puts us down to 5 and we were lucky we added some because this is a rebuilding year. Of the remaining 5 two (2) are saying they are not saying anything but will have their boys wrap up their Eagles early and go.  2 of the remaining 3 are married and have a pair of young (if unenthusiastic) scouts but the parents really want them to get Eagle (they do a lot of Webelos 3 stuff behind our backs but that is another issue) so I am pretty sure they will stay. Almost none of the other new parents the last few years have stepped up. The other last person is myself and Mrs Turtle was all but demanding I spend my time elsewhere. So I would concur about the alienation part. Things my simmer down. We are still mid-year.

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IMOHO, After reading posts here and on other boards, comments on news sites and Facebook, I have noticed that there are several major issues with this upcoming change that have upset many Scouters about allowing girls into the Boy Scouts.

 

1. Volunteers were not consulted. Yesterday, I was on Facebook commenting on this change when my Council Exec popped up. His comment was that he found out about this change was from a group e-mail sent to all CSE's from national after the press announcement was made. He went on to say that this change was driven by the National Volunteer Committee. Does anyone know who these folks are, and how they are appointed? What is sad is that it was not promoted by National for all to take, and it's results, and so doubt now casts a shadow as to whether or not the sampled group was cherry picked to produce the results wanted. Now a quick search of this website will show that this change was long time coming, and that a survey was available (as well as a link) so it wasn't the change, but the timing that surprised and upset a lot of individuals.

 

2. Change without a set plan is not going to be easy to swallow, as it's hard to prepare for. While a plan is sort of in place for separate dens in Cub Scouts, there is at the moment no plan once the girl leaves Cub Scouts, other than a vague "Separate Program". The reality on the ground is that many units are already short staffed, and the Cub Scout plan of gender separate dens will require a duplication of effort, if a Pack decides to allow girls in. This will lead to either the Pack not choosing to participate, or covertly blending the sexes in single dens. Maybe this is the plan all along, this way it's a feat accompli once the girls reach the troops.

 

3. This is the third time since 2013 that National, in an attempt to placate outside forces, has made significant changes in the membership, all along stating that this will increase membership and sponsors will return. So far, this has only plugged the drain, but not grown the numbers. Past changes have resulted in a loss of Chartered organizations and units, as well as the growth of alternate programs for boys. This has caused many members to worry what's going to be changed or dropped next to avoid a lawsuit or bad press?

 

4. All this has led to a general feeling that National has lost touch with it's volunteers, or doesn't care about the people that actually make the program work. many Scouters have invested a lot of time and money in a program that they believe in, only to see it shifting away from its core mission. Professionals are paid to support the volunteers, but the level of trust that is suppose to be in place is eroded when the professionals at national seem to think very little about the leaders at the tip of the spear. This isn't what a lot of old time Scouters signed up for, and since they are the backbone of the program, they need to be heard. If they buy in, this could work, but if they vote with their feet, we will have a lot of wholes to fill. And don't count on "new" parents stepping up. It hasn't happened yet based on the past changes. (Trail Life anyone?)

 

Background. I am approaching almost 50 years in scouting as both a youth and an adult, have served in numerous councils in volunteer leadership positions around the world while on active duty with the Army, and am currently in a deep south, deep red state. I hold a Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership, which is all about managing change. So while I am not afraid of change, I understand the dynamics of those that are, and will not belittle or dismiss their concerns, and neither should anyone else. When the final product for girls comes out, will as a District Commissioner, and a Scoutmaster, do my best to make it successful. Hopefully this time, national will consult all the volunteers for positive suggestions to make this work. It's easier to buy into change if you have a voice in it.

 

Every Scout deserves a trained leader in order to succeed and thrive in Scouting, and since girls are allowed to join, this will apply to them as well.

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To be honest ... I see this as a great thing.  I've been involved in scouting since 2000 ... one year after Dale v. BSA.  I've been through too many years where the outside world viewed BSA as a pariah with discrimination and abuse.  Teachers throwing away recruitment brochures.  Schools pushing scouts out.  Plus, year after year public relation catastrophes caused by selective membership, abuse or scouts denied Eagle because of faith.  

 

IMHO, I look forward to this time.  While many will be frustrated, I think scouting will be rejuvenated in the long run. 

 

I pray scouting always has a strong faith component.  I hope charter orgs can always influence the membership of their units and how their units execute the program.  

 

I just think this generally will be a great time to be a scout.  

Edited by fred johnson
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Scouting will change. Boys and girls at summer camp together will change how boys act. No way I want to look like an idiot in front of a girl so the notion of learning through failure won’t happen. Who wants to fail in front of girls? I have three sisters and the last thing we want to do is spend more time together. I want to hang with my friends. I don’t want my sisters along on camp outs.

 

Summer camp seems to be the biggest problem that the local option crowd is either ignoring or unaware of. Regardless of your own troop's policy, you're going to be affected.

Attending a council camp used to mean a week away from girls, electronics, and other distractions, now you only get this if you hold your own camp.

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Still torn on this. Here is my red line. Leggings, yoga shorts, crop tops, 2mm inseam jean shorts, exposed brasiers under tank tops, sports bras, lettering on the butt, makeup, you know the standard female middle and high school wardrobe. That stuff affects me and certainly does teenage boys. We are visual creatures.

 

We can certainly control that stuff within our units but not so much at camporees or summer camp. The 4 summer camps I have been to have plenty of young female camp staff but dress appropriately and the boys do just fine. If the BSA offers no compromise, I think this could work with minimal problems. Not so sure it can.

 

Just think about all the KYBOs and shower houses that are going to have to be built. Guess who gets the new ones.

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Still torn on this. Here is my red line. Leggings, yoga shorts, crop tops, 2mm inseam jean shorts, exposed brasiers under tank tops, sports bras, lettering on the butt, makeup, you know the standard female middle and high school wardrobe. That stuff affects me and certainly does teenage boys. We are visual creatures.

 

We can certainly control that stuff within our units but not so much at camporees or summer camp. The 4 summer camps I have been to have plenty of young female camp staff but dress appropriately and the boys do just fine. If the BSA offers no compromise, I think this could work with minimal problems. Not so sure it can.

 

Just think about all the KYBOs and shower houses that are going to have to be built. Guess who gets the new ones.

At our camps they have been converting all the bathrooms to single stall types which are much better.  They statrt this a few years ago and they are awesome.  No gender or age issues since they are single person units.  I see at camps without these will be using porta potties as a transition and showrooms separated by times available. 

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My best friend’s Troop just lost their SM and all their ASMs. Their kids just dropped Scouting. That’s 20 Scouts and adults from one Troop. They’re moving to another program.

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So while I am not afraid of change, I understand the dynamics of those that are, and will not belittle or dismiss their concerns, and neither should anyone else.

Sage advise there and difficult to do.

 

Ridiculous, considering nothing has actually changed yet. Best of luck to them wherever they are going.

I am sure I made comments about moving to Canada last November. Still here. Life hasn't change much if at all, yet. Edited by King Ding Dong
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At our camps they have been converting all the bathrooms to single stall types which are much better.  They statrt this a few years ago and they are awesome.  No gender or age issues since they are single person units.  I see at camps without these will be using porta potties as a transition and showrooms separated by times available. 

 

Unfortunately, "showrooms" might be the correct term here. There's a growing problem at my council camp with boys pulling open shower curtains and taking pictures. Unfortunately the perpetrators are seldom apprehended or punished.

 

Fortunately, recent membership policy changes will diminish this type of behavior, right?

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I was as surprised as everyone when I learned yesterday of BSA's decision to open enrollment to girls at the Cub level in 2018 and Troop level in (projected) 2019.

 

I am curious: I was emailed a survey from BSA this spring or early summer.  It was a short survey of about 10 questions, but the gist of the survey was to probe the relevance of the BSA program for girls.  The survey also asked whether the Eagle rank should be awarded to girls who complete the requirements.

 

I presume those who read this topic are connected in some way "electronically" with the BSA.  That is to say, the BSA has your email.

 

I can't possibly be the only one who was surveyed.  And while I far from a statistician, I have to ask whether the sample section included only BSA families, and if so, how reliable is the data which led to BSA's conclusion to open the program to girls?

 

Yesterday seemed like a decision out-of-the-blue, but I can't say I did not see it coming.  

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My best friend’s Troop just lost their SM and all their ASMs. Their kids just dropped Scouting. That’s 20 Scouts and adults from one Troop. They’re moving to another program.

 

I keep telling my SM and CC to just tell everybody nothing is changing right now and things will go on as usual until, at least, end of the year. Wait for more information, talk to the CO, let the Committee work things out etc. 

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"Girl Scouts is the best girl leadership organization in the world, created with and for girls," the organization wrote in the post. "We believe strongly in the importance of the all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides, which creates a free space for girls to learn and thrive."


It continued, "The benefit of the single-gender environment has been well-documented by educators, scholars, other girl- and youth-serving organizations, and Girl Scouts and their families. Girl Scouts offers a one-of-a-kind experience for girls with a program tailored specifically to their unique developmental needs."


----


Sexist Troglodytes. 


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Well, good bye Scouting. I doubt the LDS Church will stay in the program much longer.

 

This is the most tragic death-knell I have ever imagined possible. To say good bye to the Boy Scout of America, after more than 100 years of success, is truly, truly tragic. I can't even express how heartbroken I am. 

 

I will miss this program. I can't even express my grief.

 

I can't say I was surprised by this announcement. BSA's intentions were clearly telegraphed in advance. From the wording of their "surveys" and their messaging to families, it was obvious this outcome was preordained. In the face of staunch opposition, BSA leadership now insults us by claiming they are only responding to popular demand. Hardly trustworthy. As BSA dilutes their programs to make them gender-neutral, they will attract few girls but lose many boys. I was a Boy Scout during the 1970s when BSA last attempted a disastrous reprogramming and lost millions of registrants in the process. This is tragic beyond belief.

 

Ours is a multi-generational Scouting family. I joke that Scouting is in our DNA. My dad was my Scoutmaster, and I am now the Scoutmaster for my son's troop. I have actually served twice as Scoutmaster for a total of nine years. I also assist on the District level in conducting Eagle Scout boards or review.

 

My only son (with 50 merit badges) is currently working on his Eagle Scout Service Project. When my son attains Eagle, he will be a third generation Eagle Scout. This past summer, my son attended two BSA summer camps in addition to National Jamboree ... a total immersion Scouting experience.

 

So with that explanation of my background, you can understand my extreme disappointment in stating that I will be resigning from Scouting as a result of this decision. My financial support of BSA will also cease. My future donations and volunteer efforts will be redirected to my church.

 

BSA has lost its way, forgotten its purpose, and strayed from its mission of building boys into men. I am incredibly sad.

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