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John-in-KC

OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE: Girls as Youth Members, All Programs

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Should you be mad that this forum scooped BSA?

... They were not surprised in the least by the decision because Surbaugh hinted around at "making changes" when at the meet and greet. Also commented how Surbaugh never used the term "Boys," and "men," but always "youth" and "children." That commented was mentioned previously, and I noticed that since Surbaugh became CSE, he never uses the terms above.
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So yes, I believe I have been lied to. and I am ticked.

I think one or more of us had dredged up quotes of Mike referencing "accessible to families" since last year.

The "youth"/"children" rhetoric has been in CSEs' talking points for some time. Partly on account of venturing. But also with ideal that if BSA takes care of the boys, a similar synergy will happen with girls. It didn't. AHG came close, but they were counting on years of constancy, regarding BSA's membership bans. So, they dropped us. No girls program stepped up to fill the void.

Meanwhile, we have a silent insurrection of scouters who insist on making their efforts count for girls as much as they do with boys. Whatever you think of their means, you gotta respect them as men of action ... supporting co-ed experiences any way they can.

 

So, BSA had passed up some key junctions over the years where they could have said, "Listen guys, if girls aren't being served a program of methods and ideals desirable to them and their parents; we're all gonna suck it up and make it happen for them ... for the nation."

They could have said this 40 years ago. I'm sure some execs were thinking about it, but concluded the demand was insufficient. Then they could have evaluate the need to change tracks every few years and put an executive summary of that to the Report to the Nation.

They didn't.

 

Instead they wallowed in self-denial that this constituency should be their "first G".

Then, they probably hired some consultant to figure out how they could market this without enraging their base. And that genius told them to bury the headline. Frankly, I'd have fired the guy on the spot. Scouters are, and have been a plain-spoken lot. So, a very expensive summer was wasted in unnecessary obfuscation.

 

So, now, instead of rolling into fertile ground, it feels like the train is jumping tracks.

 

From a boots-on-the-ground level here are our options, as far as I can tell:

  1. Stay mad about the summer's double-speak.
  2. Do our best to preserve our outstanding boys' program.
  3. Help address the desires of girls and their parents who would like what we (as local scouters running some pretty good units) have to offer.

I'm fine with 2 or 3, although some doing one while some do the other will make for more mess at camporees and such. I don't think #1 will do much good unless you are on a council board and can knock on a lot of doors until the air is cleared. In other words, staying hot is not getting the train back on the previous track. But, it may help the guys in the field roll along.

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Agreed, staying mad will not do anything. And as much as I would love to send no more money to national,  I gotta stay registered.

 

But as you mentioned national totally and completely botched it. And yes they wasted a heck of a lot of money this summer to promote this only to tick off the base in the  manner they released the membership change.

 

But here is the deal. You had some Scouters like myself with experience with coed Scouting both here and abroad.  While my Sea Scouting experience with girls was negative,  the overseas female Scouts was much more positive. Heck the female international Scouts even stated that the female Sea Scouts were "a bunch of wimps."  As for Venturing, definitely had to keep an eye open. Know of 2 married couples as a result of Exploring/Venturing.

 

What's interesting is the comment that one longtime Scouter opposed to this said, "They are rewarding those who broke the rules."

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What's interesting is the comment that one longtime Scouter opposed to this said, "They are rewarding those who broke the rules."

I understand the sentiment. The program is in a sense being handed over to mavericks. But why?

 

GS/USA broke unwritten rules by dropping the concept of First Class Scout. Any attempt to have a program that truly would parallel Cubs and Boy Scouts requires tremendous nonconformity on the part of the leaders of a community's GS troops. Their outdoor program gets lawyer-ed to death. I don't think they feel rewarded at this point.

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As I am know in my neighborhood, school, and work as a Scouter man of man have I been getting questions and comments. Now that National has started sending out FAQ's and clarifications (I got mine yesterday) I am able to 'try' to explain the official line. (t helps that I have worked in government and have much practice presenting policy I may disagree with while sounding impartially.)

 

I probably talked to over a dozen scouters face to face in the three Troops I am social with over the issue and I estimate 2 out of 3 were opposed to the move. Reactions ranged from 'I am ready to quit' to 'discouraged'. I would estimate that most of the guys have 5 years+ of leader experience. But none of them have any illusions of complaining doing anything. There was discussion about how to pursue a formal designation as a "Boys only" unit (I am not sure what good that is short of the C.O. demanding it...you get new parents in all the time. Eventually the co-ed feeder pack parents will change the culture which I think is the plan anyway IMHO) 

 

I showed some mom's at work they BSA FAQ chart that showed the Boy Troops and Girl Troops side by side. They have scout age boys and girls. They were outraged and said on the news it said nothing about 'Separate but Equal'. I remember one comment well: "So Girls can now earn Eagle as long as the stay in their Girl Ghetto". I then said there may be an option for Girl patrols and Boy Patrols in some Troops and who knows what in the future. They were of the opinion that anything short of mixed sex Boy Scout patrols next year was NOT what Boy Scouts was talking about. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned all that. 

 

I think National has a herculean task of aligning what their proposed policies are what the perception is of the change is going to be both in and outside of scouting. Boys think one thing, scouters another, and the outside public something else.

 

Jumping the track indeed. They have or on the verge of losing control of the conversation and in the middle of the muddle is this thing called 'Family Camping' the train is heading for while everyone is looking elsewhere.

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I showed some mom's at work they BSA FAQ chart that showed the Boy Troops and Girl Troops side tby side. They have scout age boys and girls. They were outraged and said on the news it said nothing about 'Separate but Equal'. I remember one comment well: "So Girls can now earn Eagle as long as the stay in their Girl Ghetto". I then said there may be an option for Girl patrols and Boy Patrols in some Troops and who knows what in the future. They were of the opinion that anything short of mixed sex Boy Scout patrols next year was NOT what Boy Scouts was talking about. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned all that. 

 

I think National has a herculean task of aligning what their proposed policies are what the perception is of the change is going to be both in and outside of scouting. Boys think one thing, scouters another, and the outside public something else.

I don't normally find myself in the position of defending National, but I don't really think it's their fault that a lot of people (including people in this forum) jumped to all kinds of conclusions about what National was going to do, which did not match up with what was coming out of National.  The video of the CSE from the May meeting did NOT say there would be coed Boy Scout troops, in fact he specifically said there would not be.  Based on what I have read in this forum, I think that some council/district professionals gave out some incorrect and/or misleading information before the actual decision, which has not helped.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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Maybe if bsa actually had the plan in place before announcing the change they could avoid this reaction. We’re studying this in a business class right now. Successful companies don’t announce changes to products without having the detail and implementation plan done. This seems to be where bsa continues to have problems. It actually came up in class as a discussion point though few really knew or cared about bsa.

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Agreed! With a huge change such as this, questions should have been anticipated and answers prepared before an announcement was made!

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I think the media and GSUSA also spread some false information that is causing confusion. The other issue is that their policy is more "inside baseball" and is difficult to communicate in. 30 second news update. People simply hear Boy Scouts now include girls... and then react.

 

At the Cub Scout level the feedback has been mixed. In general, I have heard only one person who objected in principle of adding girls to Cub Scouts. Most of the conversations have been around answering why the BSA wants to do this and why would they keep dens single gender.

 

The single gender dens has been a major sticking point after I bring that up. I essentially have to explain ... yes Pack meetings are coed, pack outings and overnights (with appropriate leadership and separation) are coed but dens and den meetings are single gender. Then I get the comments... so, why can't boys and girls go to the fire station together or earn their whittling chip at the same location and time... more comments start coming.. then my den leaders say they don't care they'll meet together because this policy is dumb. I try and move on to discussions of recruiting more leaders...they ask why as we already have a lot of den leaders. I explain the need for separate den leaders for the girls den. Process repeats.

 

The final set of comments I get are negative comments regarding GSUSA. These go along the lines of ... I really hate impacting the GSUSA followed by a list of issues they have with the GSUSA and the fact that they believe this wil destroy the organization. Somehow it comes back to blaming the BSA. I try to state the GSUSA is a fine organization ... they stop me and complain about cookie sales and the joke of their cooking badge (apparently they are not allowed to actually cook). So in summary, they are mad that the BSA will end up destroying an organization they despise. Ok.

 

As Tobia Funke would state "Let the great experiment begin!"

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I showed some mom's at work they BSA FAQ chart that showed the Boy Troops and Girl Troops side by side. They have scout age boys and girls. They were outraged and said on the news it said nothing about 'Separate but Equal'. I remember one comment well: "So Girls can now earn Eagle as long as the stay in their Girl Ghetto". I then said there may be an option for Girl patrols and Boy Patrols in some Troops and who knows what in the future. They were of the opinion that anything short of mixed sex Boy Scout patrols next year was NOT what Boy Scouts was talking about. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned all that. 

 

I think National has a herculean task of aligning what their proposed policies are what the perception is of the change is going to be both in and outside of scouting. Boys think one thing, scouters another, and the outside public something else.

 

Jumping the track indeed. They have or on the verge of losing control of the conversation and in the middle of the muddle is this thing called 'Family Camping' the train is heading for while everyone is looking elsewhere.

 

Interesting choice of words - "scout age boys and girls" - not boys who are Scouts and girls.  Have you ever asked them why their boys aren't Scouts?  I wonder if the whole "girl ghetto" comment could be a clue.  This is illustrative of what the BSA is seeing out there that volunteers on the ground may not be paying attention too - more and more, parents are avoiding groups like the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts because they are segregated.  If you are only paying attention to your Troop and having been humming along at 35 Scouts and not seeing big drops in your numbers, you may not be paying attention beyond your Troops "borders".  Yet there are a lot of Troops and Packs out there struggling - we see a lot of anecdotal stories in here - Troops of 4 boys, Webelos Dens with 1 boy.  My suburban Chicago city of 26,000 people once had 5 Boy Scout Troops and 7 Cub Scout Packs - it's down to two of each - and this was happening long before the "gay decision.   We've seen Councils selling off camps over the past decade or so - and while we gnash our teeth and lament the loss, we don't pay attention to details.  Sometimes the Council is just being inept (such as Chicago Council trying to sell Owassipe) but sometimes when you look at the data, it makes sense - such as a council with two summer camps that was running a 3 week session at one camp and a 1 week session at another because they no longer have enough campers to support both camps.   I've been repeating this for years - society is changing, if the BSA doesn't change, it will be severely diminished as an irrelevant organization.

 

Is it inevitable that we'll have mixed Troops?  Probably - heck, we may have that in practice long before the BSA develops a policy about it (and please understand, it is highly unlikely that the BSA will enforce their policies by removing charters - they don't do it now and this won't be any different.  They have these policies but they run on the A Scout is Trustworthy model.  The DEs are likely to know what's going on but will ahem and cough and maybe even harrumph but at the end of the day will pretend its not happening, and commissioners don't have any enforcement powers so really, a Troop is going to do what a Troop is going to do.  Lets be real frank about this - the policy (if indeed it is not to allow mixed Troops/Patrol) is designed for one thing and one thing only - to insulate the BSA from liability - if a Troop does a co-ed camping trip with Co-ed Patrols and something wildly inappropriate happens among the youth and a parent sues, the BSA is going to deflect all the blame to the Troop for violating the policy and the CO for not making sure that the Troop was following policy.

 

I've tried to stay out of some of this discussion but since "Family Camping" has been brought up again, I have to comment - we already have family camping - it's an official part of the Cub Scout program.  I've not seen anything in the discussion on going co-ed that Family Camping will be part of the Boy Scout program - I think there are people reading things in to what is being said that just isn't there.  If your Troop wanted to do a "family camp" outing right now, they could - it's not part of the program, but it isn't barred as part of a Troops program - if a Troop wants to have an end-of-summer before school weekend fling and camp as families, nothing will prevent that - just don't treat it like a Troop camping trip with patrol camping and separate activities for the Scouts and the families/siblings. 

 

Advancement?  I've not seen the BSA make any suggestions that they are going to "water down" advancement requirements - that's all coming from folks commenting.  Girls that want to join the Boy Scouts want the program that is being given - the exact same program that is being given now - wouldn't it be a bigger risk to have these enthusiastic girls decide not to join because the BSA watered down the requirements to accommodate something they never asked for?

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Maybe if bsa actually had the plan in place before announcing the change they could avoid this reaction. We’re studying this in a business class right now. Successful companies don’t announce changes to products without having the detail and implementation plan done. This seems to be where bsa continues to have problems. It actually came up in class as a discussion point though few really knew or cared about bsa.

A plan in place before an announcement is good.  Not creating policies you know will be ignored is also a bonus.

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I apologize on "scout age boys and girls"...I should have said parents of sons or daughters some of them have kids in BSA, GSUSA. My point was what the public THINKS was said. We are influenced by the public opinion of folks who have no intention of putting kids in Scouts.

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The Family Camping themed articles appeared in a recent Boys Life edition that went to the older Boys so it is natural for them to get confused. Some of our boys brought it up on their own.

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I'm not surprised there wasn't much discussion on implementation before this change was announced.  If there were studies/pilots/fact finding about how to do this, there would have been no way for the BSA to keep the announcement under wraps.  Then we'd be stuck with leaks/rumors/no information about what was happening.  This is as open as we can expect.

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I'm not surprised there wasn't much discussion on implementation before this change was announced.  If there were studies/pilots/fact finding about how to do this, there would have been no way for the BSA to keep the announcement under wraps.  Then we'd be stuck with leaks/rumors/no information about what was happening.  This is as open as we can expect.

I generally agree with that, but I think it is also true that CSE Surbaugh contradicted himself on the timing of the implementation of the changes. In the May video he says that the admission of girls into Cub Scouts would NOT take place until the program for girls 11 and up was ready to go. He also said "We are not in a rush" or words to that effect.  In the October video the change for Cub Scouts will be implemented for the "2018 program year" while the details of the 11-and-up program are still being worked out, and it did sound like they are suddenly in kind of in a rush to sign up girls for Cub Scouts.  So I guess this is kind of the other side of the coin of what I said earlier:  National is not responsible for differences between what they announce and what people thought was going to be announced, or what they think actually was announced, but they ARE responsible for differences between what they say they are going to do, and what they actually do.

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