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John-in-KC

OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE: Girls as Youth Members, All Programs

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That 1988 decision made me first aware of some of National's oddities and I would be reminded of them several times over the years.

 

1. National believes they can have it both ways in all things. The nod and wink. They will open the door a crack and say that's okay, that's an exception. Sure enough, a few years later that exception is argued away because the door was opened in the first place. Female scoutmasters is okay so why not female scouts. This can be seen in membership, advancement, safety, and disability issues. Is this good, bad, contradictory, wasteful, odd, foolish, all, or something else?

 

2. National or Council will fight a protracted and expensive legal battle, win in the court, and then cave on their winning decision in the light of bad publicity.

 

3. National has no clue about publicity, advertising, scouting opinion, public opinion.

 

I will stop there.

 

Speaking of female membership in the BSA when did National first open the door a crack? IMHO, it was when Den Chiefs were replaced by Den Mothers in Cub Scouts.

 

In 1930 when Cubbing began, the original concept was to have a Boy Scout in charge of the Den.  His title was Den Chief.

 

By 1932, it was recognized that the Den Chief needed the assistance of an adult and the Den Mother became an official part of the program as a co-leader with the Den Chief.  By the mid-1930's, it was evident that dens with a Den Mother functioned much better than those with only a Den Chief.  In 1936, BSA approved the optional registration of Den Mothers.

 

https://www.sageventure.com/history/cub/DM.html

 

My $0.01

 

I thought some of the comments on the video like the one "what can I do this year to integrate girls to my troop" was exactly what some folks were concerned about. Those folks will be lauded by National for rolling things out ahead of time and if some girls get credits for camping outside of BSA they will look the other way if it produces a feel good story. 

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I thought some of the comments on the video like the one "what can I do this year to integrate girls to my troop" was exactly what some folks were concerned about. Those folks will be lauded by National for rolling things out ahead of time and if some girls get credits for camping outside of BSA they will look the other way if it produces a feel good story. 

 

Agree. I was taken aback by the answer to the last question, "22. The change is happening. How can we encourage other Scouters to embrace it?"

 

If I can paraphrase the answer 'Talk about it and you will come around.'  

 

I was expecting an answer such as, Good scouts and scouters may disagree on this issue as they may on any other issue but  all of us will follow the Scout Oath and Law.

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In my limited Scouter career this has been mentioned to me at least four times by single mothers of boys as a primary reason they put their son in scouts.

 

I've heard that reason mentioned multiple times too.  

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I know when my father walked out, my mom was very glad I had postive male role models in the form of my SM and ASMs. Over the years, I lost track of the number of single moms looking for male role models. Most  of the Troops I've been in had all male direct contact Scouters, females have been on the committee.

 

I've seen one outstanding unit with a female SM. Troop growing up had a female ASM once I became a Scouter, and she was fine. Grant you, she served on committee for a long number of years before becoming ASM.

 

However I've seen female ASMs, and male ASMs too, that baby the Scouts, treating them as Cubs still.

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I’ve worked with and trained several female SMs. Only one understood how to use Patrol Method the way it was intended and that was because her ASM husband is an Eagle Scout. All fine scouters, but their programs (except the one) verged on Webelos III. And yes, male SMs with the same youth experience as the female SMs performed the same.

 

I’m on record here stating how adding females dramatically changed the troop program. The Woodbadge program in 2000 was a direct result.

 

Human nature drives youth to naturally learn from dominating role models (SM) of the same gender until puberty. I can’t imagine that mixed gender roles has near the impact on growth.

 

Barry

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1. National believes they can have it both ways in all things. The nod and wink. They will open the door a crack and say that's okay, that's an exception. Sure enough, a few years later that exception is argued away because the door was opened in the first place. Female scoutmasters is okay so why not female scouts

 

Hmm.  I think the examples you give show that Change #2 does not necessarily follow Change #1 by "a few years."  "Den Mothers" were first introduced in 1932, and 56 years later there were female Scoutmasters.  That's an awfully long time for someone to walk through a crack in the door.  (And I realize there were some interim steps along the way like women becoming troop committee members, but 56 years is still a long time.)  Then, from the "crack in the door" in 1988, it will be 30 years (2018) before non-Venturing female youth members walk through the door.  Also a long time.

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Through out my life when I have been in all boy groups or all men groups, there was a feeling of teamwork, a relaxed state were you knew the guys had your back, there was a high level of trust and focus on the task at hand.

 

When you threw in a girl or woman the dynamic changed instantly, everyone's guard went up and we had to be careful what we did, what we said, what might be inferred, everyone was walking on egg shells at that point. Focus shifted from the the job or goal at hand to doing the job while walking on egg shells and not upsetting the girl. Sure we got the job done, but at a high stress level.  If a women overhears you talking to another person at work and mishears what you are saying, it could cost you your job. If you sit with your legs a little too far apart ("manspreading") you could be facing jail time. If you are explaining something to a woman you could get in big trouble if she does not like your tone, you might be fired for "mansplaining". 

 

When you add two girls and they don't like each other, then everything is all about the girls, the feels and the drama and the guys are just pawns in the dance of feels. Many good guys run for the hills and things go downhill fast. 

 

I have been on the inside and watched this happen over and over again. 

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Huh?

 

If a single mom is intent on having a male role model for her son, she has many places to seek out and find a role model.  Or maybe, her son will find his own role models, hopefully positive ones.  A troop with a female SM may have male ASMs or other dads around.   Or she may find another troop or a male role model through sports, school or other activities and relationships. 

 

I haven't seen anything in Scouting about providing male role models as a major purpose of the organization.

 

In Boy Scouts one of the major pillars of the program is adult association. Since it was BOY scouts prior to this summer it’s implied that it was men designed to be the role models and mentors. No offense but I don’t look to women in my troop to be my mentors. None have the outdoor skills or Boy Scout experience. Frankly the questions I have are more male oriented. I wouldn’t go to a lady for these answers any more than I would go to a man for advice that is not male oriented.

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Hmm.  I think the examples you give show that Change #2 does not necessarily follow Change #1 by "a few years."  "Den Mothers" were first introduced in 1932, and 56 years later there were female Scoutmasters.  That's an awfully long time for someone to walk through a crack in the door.  (And I realize there were some interim steps along the way like women becoming troop committee members, but 56 years is still a long time.)  Then, from the "crack in the door" in 1988, it will be 30 years (2018) before non-Venturing female youth members walk through the door.  Also a long time.

 

My point was the crack naturally opens wider because there is a crack. Time is relative.

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Huh?

 

If a single mom is intent on having a male role model for her son, she has many places to seek out and find a role model.  Or maybe, her son will find his own role models, hopefully positive ones.  A troop with a female SM may have male ASMs or other dads around.   Or she may find another troop or a male role model through sports, school or other activities and relationships. 

 

I haven't seen anything in Scouting about providing male role models as a major purpose of the organization. 

 

 Yep, not anymore.  It might be an interesting read to peruse some of the old Boy Scout Handbooks.  It might give one a better understanding of what's been lost over the years.

Edited by Stosh
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 Yep, not anymore.  It might be an interesting read to peruse some of the old Boy Scout Handbooks.  It might give one a better understanding of what's been lost over the years.

 

Don't go there. So much has been lost, it is incredible. Last time I taught ITOLS, I had to go through my collection and make copies to provide the info they need. Today's handbook and field book are shadows of what they were when William 'Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt wrote them.

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Nothing stops us from teaching additional material. First aid was dropped from the most recent IOLS, but we still teach it, along with a few other topics.

 

We should teach Scouts/Scouters what they need to know.

 

Unfortunately, too much is being taught online, which in my opinion, robs participants from some of the greatest benefits - learning from and Fellowship with others, exchange of ideas and the ability to ask questions.

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In Boy Scouts one of the major pillars of the program is adult association. Since it was BOY scouts prior to this summer it’s implied that it was men designed to be the role models and mentors. No offense but I don’t look to women in my troop to be my mentors. None have the outdoor skills or Boy Scout experience. Frankly the questions I have are more male oriented. I wouldn’t go to a lady for these answers any more than I would go to a man for advice that is not male oriented.

 

Hi BackPack,  OK, I am very curious about the questions you have that are so male oriented and where an answer from a woman would be less useful.  Care to share any examples?

 

I once did some research with alumni of a boys' high school and one of the most interesting comments was from a man who said that after he graduated, he didn't believe women were as intelligent as men, and it took him a while to overcome that bias.  Interesting, huh? 

 

 

Here is the mission of the BSA, and I think it's so interesting that it has no reference to males:

 

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

 

I saw this at Wood Badge first weekend, and I realized right then -- there will be girls.  At our second weekend when we had a workshop on change, someone asked, what will change about the BSA and I said, "girls", and then I scanned the room to see if anyone looked angry (hard to tell).  But you can see from the mission, it is not exclusive.  It says nothing about male bonding or a safe haven from women and girls or anything of the sort. 

 

And, as for women's eligibility to be leaders, it's a done deal!   I hope that in your life you will respect and also be open to input from women that you meet and work with.  Be open to learning from females, they can be insightful, too. 

 

Here's the thing about women leaders -- it's not like women leaders have taken over the program since 1988.  Likewise, I find it unlikely that girls will dominate Scouting in the US any time soon. 

 

I am concerned that a requirement for believing in God will be the next to go.  It is very likely to happen.  I have mixed feelings personally.  I think that people need to respect that there is something in life bigger than themselves, so they don't become self-centered.  At the same time, if the BSA wants to be inclusive, it's the obvious next step. 

Edited by WisconsinMomma

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And here are the Aims and Methods -- while they refer to boys, it's not particularly male-centric, and God is only mentioned once:

 

Aims of Scouting -- character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness

 

Methods of Scouting

The methods by which the aims are achieved are listed below in random order to emphasize the equal importance of each.


Ideals

The ideals of Boy Scouting are spelled out in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan. The Boy Scout measures himself against these ideals and continually tries to improve. The goals are high, and, as he reaches for them, he has some control over what and who he becomes.


Patrols

The patrol method gives Boy Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship. It places responsibility on young shoulders and teaches boys how to accept it. The patrol method allows Scouts to interact in small groups where they can easily relate to each other. These small groups determine troop activities through their elected representatives.


Outdoor Programs

Boy Scouting is designed to take place outdoors. It is in the outdoor setting that Scouts share responsibilities and learn to live with one another. It is here that the skills and activities practiced at troop meetings come alive with purpose. Being close to nature helps Boy Scouts gain an appreciation for God's handiwork and humankind's place in it. The outdoors is the laboratory for Boy Scouts to learn ecology and practice conservation of nature's resources.


Advancement

Boy Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. The Boy Scout plans his advancement and progresses at his own pace as he meets each challenge. The Boy Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps him gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a Boy Scout grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others.


Association with Adults

Boys learn a great deal by watching how adults conduct themselves. Scout leaders can be positive role models for the members of their troops. In many cases a Scoutmaster who is willing to listen to boys, encourage them, and take a sincere interest in them can make a profound difference in their lives.


Personal Growth

As Boy Scouts plan their activities and progress toward their goals, they experience personal growth. The Good Turn concept is a major part of the personal growth method of Boy Scouting. Boys grow as they participate in community service projects and do Good Turns for others. Probably no device is so successful in developing a basis for personal growth as the daily Good Turn. The religious emblems program also is a large part of the personal growth method. Frequent personal conferences with his Scoutmaster help each Boy Scout to determine his growth toward Scouting's aims.


Leadership Development

The Boy Scout program encourages boys to learn and practice leadership skills. Every Boy Scout has the opportunity to participate in both shared and total leadership situations. Understanding the concepts of leadership helps a boy accept the leadership role of others and guides him toward the citizenship aim of Scouting.


Uniform

The uniform makes the Boy Scout troop visible as a force for good and creates a positive youth image in the community. Boy Scouting is an action program, and wearing the uniform is an action that shows each Boy Scout's commitment to the aims and purposes of Scouting. The uniform gives the Boy Scout identity in a world brotherhood of youth who believe in the same ideals. The uniform is practical attire for Boy Scout activities and provides a way for Boy Scouts to wear the badges that show what they have accomplished.

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WisconsinMomma, you amare saying all the right things in defense of women in scouts. But your words don’t hold in any weight because there isn’t a defense for boys needing male role models as bad as girls need female role models. We know that girls are coming and more moms will follow as leaders . So that doesn’t add to the discussion either.

 

As some of us more experienced scouters see it, adding girls to the troop program takes away from the boys and offers more to the girls. To us, we are only questioning if adding girls is worth sacrificing the best possible growth for the boys? That’s our struggle. If you want to contribute something meaningful to that discussion, great. But, as you form your thoughts, have respect for the many on this list with dozens of years building character in young men. We have a lot of experience observing the advantages of the patrol method program and know what is gained and lost by adding girls.

 

Instead of defending the membership changes with patronizing doublespeak pointed at good-oh-boy old timers too stubborn to move with the times, respect the words and visions from experts in the field who have the experience you don’t have.

 

Is moving the program toward mediocrity worth the loss of possibilities for our sons? Seems the world says yes. And maybe so. But don’t discount the losses and don’t disrespect those who morn the losses.

 

Barry

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