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John-in-KC

OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE: Girls as Youth Members, All Programs

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The aims and methods of Boy Scouts were developed with male relationships in mind. So they have embedded in them the relationship between a boy and a man, the latter being the role model. I don’t want to discuss my body with a woman. I don’t want to discuss how I feel about certain things with a woman. I want to talk about it with another guy just like girls don’t want to discuss some things with men. Also I find the female scout leaders to be more uptight and by the book generally. The men tend to be easier going. I don’t mind female leaders but generally they don’t have the background as a youth in scouting or outdoorsmanship that the men I know have. I’ve seen a few female Bear Gryls types and they are good but most are just book smart on the subject. I’m in scouting to hang with the guys and not my sister or mom. The last thing me and my friends want is too many girls around.

Edited by Back Pack

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Having a different perspective is not disrespectful.  I am a mother of three boys who will be in the program over next 10 years and I care about them very much.   I disagree with the assumption that adding females makes the program mediocre.

 

 I am making the case for girls in Scouting (I have neutral feelings toward it and will go with the changes as they happen). You are entitled to sharing your point of view, but not entitled to shutting down mine. 

 

As for working with youth, I have some experience too!  We all have different things to bring to the table.

Edited by WisconsinMomma

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Having a different perspective is not disrespectful.  I am a mother of three boys who will be in the program over next 10 years and I care about them very much.   I disagree with the assumption that adding females makes the program mediocre.

 

 I am making the case for girls in Scouting, and you are entitled to your point of view, but not entitled to shutting down mine.

 

I’m not shutting down a point of view, I’m pointing out your condescending tone towards the opinions of scouters who have many many more years experience than you. You choose how you want contribute to a meaningful discussion, but If you can’t respect our concerns from where we stand, how are we to respect your hopes for the girls.

 

And if you don’t agree with my opinion of your posts, consider that you haven’t said much (if anything) of concern for what your sons will get out of the program. Who here has their back?

 

Barry

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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.

 

I have worked with women the majority of my life and I can't say that I share any of your experiences. Even when I moved from an all-male active duty infantry unit to a co-ed reserve Civil Affairs unit, nothing like you stated happened.

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BackPack, I don't remember where you are in your Scouting experience, are you over 18 and done, or still in the BSA youth program? 

 

Did you have any female merit badge counselors?  Just curious about how it worked out for you.

 

Of course there are some things that are very personal and private and there are some topics that I would share with only a select few, and I may prefer a same-gender person to talk with.  That's normal.

 

But, say the Personal Fitness merit badge -- or any merit badge -- could be counseled by a male or female.  For example, at the fitness center where I work, there are female personal trainers that instruct mixed-gender classes, and they get male and female customers.  An Eagle coach could be male or female as well.  There is not a lot of content that requires a male role model. 

Edited by WisconsinMomma

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there isn’t a defense for boys needing male role models as bad as girls need female role models.

 

Barry

 

I get that there are probably quite a few single mothers that find benefit in this feature, but I don't see any specific reference to that being a state goal of BSA. There is one section that I can find that states, "Scout leaders can be positive role models..." but it doesn't state male role models, and I imagine that text was written after the inclusion of female leaders in scouts (an admitted guess on my part).

 

That being stated, I fail to see how the inclusion of girls in any way limits a boy for access to male leaders in scouts.

 

Can you illustrate why the inclusion of girls means that boys no longer have access to male role models in scouts?

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I have my sons' backs, of course.  Right now there are no girls in their program.  We will see how it goes, but if girls join the program we'll take it one day at a time.  FWIW, my oldest loves girls and his friends are girls more than boys.  He's preferred the company of girls since kindergarten.  I wonder -- for his First Class requirement -- could he invite a girl to a meeting?  But no, it's not the right thing to do yet. 

 

Both my boys have worked with female merit badge counselors and they were both great.  Their camping experiences are right now, all with guys, so I'm not going to cross the bridge about worrying about girls until they start showing up.   

 

What my boys will get out of the program is not about gender. 

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I think sometimes what gets lost in the discussion is tangibles vs. intangibles.

 

So lived experience, I was a child of the 70s.  My Jr. year in HS our PhysEd classes went co-ed.  Everybody said, nothing is going to change, girls can do whatever boys do, it'll be fine.  But guess what, things changed.  Our flag football experience when from a semi-contact sport to a completely non-contact sport.  In fact, contact with girls was a special penalty.  We quit playing things like gym hockey and dodgeball and any other activity where strength was a factor.  We were forced to endure square dancing.  So, the "program" didn't change (we still went to PE everyday and did the same-ish activities) but the intangibles surely did change.  Everything was toned down.

 

Second-hand experience, I was in the Navy.  I got out before the Navy took surface combatants co-ed.  I'm told by some friends who made the Navy a career that many things have been modified as a result of going co-ed.  All the members of a work center no longer share berthing areas so the social aspect of downtime was impacted.  Certainly the crossing the line ceremony changed.  So, the Navy still goes to sea, flies jets, blows stuff up, that didn't change, but the intangibles surely did change.

 

Many folks argued in both situations that the changes were for the better, maybe they were, maybe not.  But nobody argues that things didn't change because they certainly did in both cases.  This, I believe, will be the case with the BSA.  The program might be exactly the same (it won't) and the intangibles will certainly change.  BackPack hit on a a selection of the issues.  Some will argue the changes are for the better, some will disagree.  In the end boys will have the shorter end of the stick.

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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

 

 

Having a different perspective is not disrespectful.  I am a mother of three boys who will be in the program over next 10 years and I care about them very much.   I disagree with the assumption that adding females makes the program mediocre.

 

 I am making the case for girls in Scouting (I have neutral feelings toward it and will go with the changes as they happen). You are entitled to sharing your point of view, but not entitled to shutting down mine. 

 

As for working with youth, I have some experience too!  We all have different things to bring to the table.

 

 

In summary, one person's opinion is justifiable and not disrespectful. A subsequent opposing opinion is construed as stifling.

 

 

With this example, do we really need to ask the question again about anxiety surrounding females having a greater composition in BSA membership?

 

I find this hilariously stereotyped exchange a prime example of one of many landmines that many Scouters and Scouts are loathe to encounter in the future.

Edited by numbersnerd

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Sec. 30901. Organization

  1. Federal Charter. - Boy Scouts of America (in this chapter, the ''corporation'') is a body corporate and politic of the District of Columbia.

Domicile. - The domicile of the corporation is the District of Columbia.

Perpetual Existence. - Except as otherwise provided, the corporation has perpetual existence.

Sec. 30902. Purposes

The purposes of the corporation are to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916.

 

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Take a look around camp someday - has the camp gone from having 30 canoes available at the waterfront to 20?  Has your summer camp made a decision in the past 10-15 years to stop supplying platform tents with cots and mattresses and are having units bring their own tents to camp?  Maybe they've even gotten rid of the platforms themselves - do you really think it's because Council wants to be "truer" to the program or is it because its a good place to cut the camp equipment budget?

 

It typically costs a council more to operate a summer camp than they get from fees collected.  As FOS donations go down, Councils start to raise fees.  They also start to sell off camps.

 

Not interested in attending those camps after 2018 as the new camping experience will be co-ed. So I really don't care what budget cuts they make. And from Surbaugh's comments, it seems the available dollars will be going to restroom improvements to welcome all the new girls. Why should I feel motivated to donate to that?

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Our council has yet to announce any membership changes.  1) they don't know about them or 2) they are intentionally not saying anything.

 

If they are supposed to be the connection between National and the membership in this area, there seems to be a disconnect somewhere.

 

My scouting is not just local, it is totally isolated.

 

One would think the FOS $$'s spent would be used at least in letting everyone know what's going on....officially.  The only way I'd know about any of this is this forum and national news, and we all know how reliable either of those two entities are.  :)

 

I suspect their silence is motivated by the FOS campaign currently underway. The local councils don't want to raise the visibility of an unpopular decision while at the same time asking for donations.

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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.

 

What I find most interesting is that you had to go outside of this forum to quote someone who said that women are less intelligent than men. You never heard that sort of thing from us.

 

Your comment about the alumni of an all-boys school makes me think you might have an agenda against all single-gender groups, and not just the Boy Scouts.

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But, say the Personal Fitness merit badge -- or any merit badge -- could be counseled by a male or female.  For example, at the fitness center where I work, there are female personal trainers that instruct mixed-gender classes, and they get male and female customers.  An Eagle coach could be male or female as well.  There is not a lot of content that requires a male role model. 

 

Can women hold Scouting roles likes MBC, SM, ASM, TC chair and do an equal or better job than men? Sure! As with anything you will have good and bad of each gender no matter the role.

 

What you appear to be strongly discounting is the need of young men to associate with older men in a single sex environment. THAT is why Scouting was created in the first place. Baden-Powell says as much (several times) in Aids to Scoutmastership. In fact the section covering the aims and methods of Scouting say nothing of "girls", but focus on boys. So Boy Scouting -- with all of its rules, policies, aims and methods -- *is* (well, now, "was" given the addition of girls) about boys and their relationship with adults (men).

 

 

The girls are the important people, because when the mothers of the nation are good citizens and women of character, they will see to it that their sons are not deficient in these points. As things are, the training is needed for both sexes, and is imparted through the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides (Girl Scouts) Movements. The principles are the same for both. It is only in the details that they vary. A.S.M. Hutchinson in one of his novels suggests that what Youth needs is Back- ground. Well, we have a Background to give them in Scouting and Guiding, and it is the Background that God has provided for everybody — the open-air, happiness and usefulness. Indeed, the Scoutmaster in introducing the boy to this, incidentally brings upon himself a share in that same happiness and usefulness. He finds himself doing a greater thing than possibly he foresaw in taking up the job, for he finds himself rendering a life-worth Service for Man and God. You will find this book a disappointing one if you hope to find in it a set of definite stepping-stones to complete knowledge.

 

The whole notion that "There's not a lot of content that requires a male role model" is, forgive the phrase, bull pucky. You cannot expect a boy to get the same experience in Scouting from a female leader that he'd get from a male leader. That is both good and bad.

 

In my years as SM, I had many, many Scouts think of me as a father figure for my involvement in their Scouting lives. Their own fathers were too busy making a living (or being self-absorbed) to spend time with their sons doing anything. I taught them how to hunt, fish, camp, apply first aid, swim, canoe and so on. It was DURING these activities that they saw how a man acts, how he treats others, how he communicates, etc. Hopefully these young men will take these examples and use them to form their own idea of manhood.

 

Sorry, but no amount of female leadership and know-how can take the place of all of that. By the same token, men cannot replace (nor should they) the role of female leaders. Note that I am not saying there is not room for female leaders in Scouting or in the lives of Boy Scouts. But (what was) the Boy Scout program is more effectively delivered by men, having interaction with young men, to act as role models for them.

Edited by Col. Flagg
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What my boys will get out of the program is not about gender. 

 

Pardon my boldness, but ... if you think gender is unrelated and irrelevant, there is a lot you don't understand about the development of boys.

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