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John-in-KC

OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE: Girls as Youth Members, All Programs

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So if this all goes the way the BSA says it is supposed to, my troop technically has nothing that they need to do. There will be girl only troops. Correct? So does that mean we need an influx of new leaders and committee members to start up girl only troops. Or is it going to be expected that a scout master and committee will now start supporting two troops? It's more than enough work to support one troop and fine one charter org. Can a charter org charter more than one troop? I'm just curious how it will go with many new startup troops at one time. I'd also expect that since it's supposed to be girl only troops, chartering software should be modified to not charter scouts of the opposite gender from their gender designated troop. Same as it won't let you charter a scout turning 18 unless he changes to another scouting position besides scout.

I think trying to keep existing troops stable is BSA's aim. They clearly want units who hold to a traditional membership model to continue doing so without disruption.

Units who have unofficially been incorporating girls in their programs must decide if they want to adjust to BSA's proposed model. I suspect most of those will shell out the extra $40 for the chartering fee, pay the registration fee for each girl, and multiple register each leader.

The hard work will be for COs who want to incorporate a unit for girls, but their traditional unit does not want to contribute any leadership to making it happen.

Regarding software, there's plenty of room for pessimism.

Edited by qwazse

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To me, the above two quotes demonstrate the absolute value of single-gender programs for boys.  While I acknowledge that 15 year-old boys can be undisciplined and they don't know how to handle the hormones running through their systems, they are anything but fools or foolish.  They are just boys growing up.  When our leadership starts insulting our core constituency I find it disheartening.

 

Thanks.

Apparently this decision has wiped the sense of humor from some of the adults in the room...

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(sorry if this is a ramble)

I did my duty last night at the Troop Meeting and did a simple announcement of the policy change during the slot for the Scoutmaster's message.  I did not add on, editorialize, or embellish. I was told not to take questions and the only disruption was a parent who yelled out a slightly off color remark. 

 

The boys as usual were not focused on me until I said the words "The decision has been made to integrate girls into the cub scout and boy scout programs at a future date". Then some jaws dropped a few seemed...well wounded. I would say 25% has NO idea about it and another 25% had heard confusing rumors on social media and did not believe it was really true (apparently Boy Scouts get mocked a lot online). What was amazing was the back of the room where the parents were...there was a sudden complete silence. I later heard over half of them had not seen or heard the news. 

 

A few Star Scouts (on verge of Life), very sweet chaps by the way, came up to me afterwards and said they had nothing against girls but that they felt the most important thing about Boy Scouts was learning from other men about how to grow up from boys to men without being afraid of looking stupid because they knew the leaders had all been boys once too. They felt betrayed that BSA did not value the one place they felt safe and that in the end it was all about money because money is what ruins all the good things. One referred to "the Boy Scout Corporation" made this decision. Nevertheless  I think they will stay in work toward Eagle. The Life Scouts being older seemed to have a mix of reactions from being appalled, confused, apathetic, and approving. Only one of eight was interested in staying on with Scouting after getting their Eagle or when girls arrive whichever comes first. 

 

BTW all the conversations I had after the meetings with the boys (which honestly I wanted to avoid) was calm, thought out, and deliberate. They all agreed that the (rumored) local troop that had disbanded on hearing the news was acting too sudden and irrational. I did get a nice feeling from one of the boys who prefaced his remark with "Mr Turtle we know you get it about Scouts". 

 

I only talked to a few parents (they do pitch in) and those were loud objectors who said it was the destruction of a great organization, etc etc. They did say they would start withholding FOS, Popcorn Support, and Council Fundraisers (we have a wealthy set of parents) and redirect any contributions directly to the Troop until their boys are out. But people often talk a good game and stay with the status quo. Only time will tell.

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I wonder if they will come up with a companion magazine called Girls Life?

 

if their "committed to the single-gender concept" like they say they are, then they would... I have my doubts. 

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@@Tampa Turtle .... was it clear to them that Girls would not be members of Boy Scout Troops but a different parallel program? Are they aware of the Venturing program that has girl members? Is their concern Summer camps where girls can now earn merit badges? I know it's early but I'm wondering why they object to girls joining independent Troops. Their comments about learning from men... is perfectly fine but there are other Troops that have female leaders. Does the fact that other Troops having female leaders diminish their own experience in scouting? I'm just curious as this change definitely impacts existing Cub Scout packs as they can go coed but no one has talked about coed Troops (at least so far). To be clear... I'm not trying to argue, I'm just curious to understand their concerns.

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Eagle1993...they know all about girls in Venturing and Sea Scouts. They have been with (rare) girls at camps. I did explain the 'parallel structure' concept. Several boys do not believe that Girls will 'stay' in a parallel program other than a couple years; that it is clearly a short term evolutionary step that some units will just ignore anyway because they will not have enough adult leaders. (BTW we also have female leaders.) I was surprised at that one.

 

As for what they should know....look at it from their perspective...it has been over a week and there has been no official announcement specifically directed to the Boys in BSA now; just a general press release to the world. It has been a week and no one I know directly has gotten a word from our Council or District. We pass all that stuff down and some of the boys read them; in the interim we have gotten news on Merit Badge Academies, Storm cleanups, etc etc but not a major policy change.

 

As I have said before Irving should have developed the 'how' details and FAQ and followed up the announcement with information to the Troops. Their confusion is a natural reaction to how this was handled. If what they fear is not what is going to happen than it is National's fault in bungling the message and causing needless blow back. I do not blame the listener.

 

I think their concerns are pretty clear...those boys, right or wrong, want Boy Scouting to remain boys. They seemed highly offended that no one asked the Scouts themselves just parents. Don't kill the messenger.

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My Troop's CO already has a Frontier Girls. They are extremely small because they only have 2 volunteers, one of whom just aged out. Long story short, there is already talk of folding the FG, having them on paper as a separate unit, but fully integrating them into our troop.

 

I know my Life and Tenderfoot Scouts are opposed allowing girls in. Their concerns is mostly Boy Scouts turning into Cub Scouts. Oldest is also concerned about the distractions girls will cause. We have enough challenges.

 

I do not know what they will do. They do know that at lease 1 troop, possibly 2, will remain all male. I go where they go.

 

I personally think this is the worse decision ever, it will hurt our current members big time IMHO. Thinking objectively, i know why BSA did this: money, membership, external and internal pressure, and it makes some sense. But the way National is going about it is totally fouled up and making it worse. To quote some  German I learned in BAND OF BROTHERS, "It's FUBAR."

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Understand and makes sense. If they think Troops will fully integrate (which I also think is very likely) their statements and concerns make sense. Also the initial response may not be the final one once all of us get more (any) info.

 

As far as the FAQ and roll out plan I agree this was a complete miss. I was talking about this with a Cubmaster who said girls aren't allowed to camp in Cubscouts after this change. I told him I thought they were allowed if you have YPT and BALOO coverage plus keep genders separate. He said that wasn't true and that he saw something that stated coed packs can't camp.

 

I have heard almost nothing from the parents in my pack after I explained the change. The leaders were nearly 100% in support however they are concerned with the impact to GSUSA.

 

Thanks for your update ... it's good to hear our Scouts' thoughts regarding this change.

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I was talking about this with a Cubmaster who said girls aren't allowed to camp in Cubscouts after this change. I told him I thought they were allowed if you have YPT and BALOO coverage plus keep genders separate. He said that wasn't true and that he saw something that stated coed packs can't camp.

 

It seems very unlikely to me that the BSA would make this change and then say that coed packs cannot camp.  Separate sleeping arrangements, adult leadership of both genders, sure.

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I think their concerns are pretty clear...those boys, right or wrong, want Boy Scouting to remain boys. They seemed highly offended that no one asked the Scouts themselves just parents.

 

I concur with the boys. I get that this would be a great thing for National (more membership and $$$), a great thing for some parents (only one trip for scout meetings), and great for the girls (great program, a chance to earn Eagle). But thus far, I've seen nothing to indicate that this will be great for the boys. For that matter, I can't see that they were even considered in this.

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I was (yet again) humbled by how much some scouts have personally invested in the program and how some of them have pretty perceptive reads of what the adults are doing. On occasion that has included a pretty fair assessment of my personal, physical, and emotional assets and faults. 

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The one benefit I see for boys is to see peer girls in a leadership position taking on the same challenges they boys are faced with. There was a thread earlier on from a female Venturer at Jambo explaining several sexist comments she received from other Scouts in attendance. She handled it well but I'm actually more concerned about the scouts and boys who didn't stand up. Perhaps seeing more examples of girls from Lion through Eagle will make them better men. Or, this change could just end up an unmitigated disaster.

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My boys see Girls in leadership positions all the time in Marching Band and jrROTC and youth group. They have also hiked and climbed with girls.

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I was in band, church youth group and sports. I can say without a doubt that my experience in BSA provided an impact on my life that was an order of magnitude greater than any other club or sport. The leadership challenges and experiences far outweighed any single hike, game or concert I was part of. I could absolutely imagine adding girls could have challenged my internal biases. I'm just not sure if it would have taken other aspects of the program away to be a net negative

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