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OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE: Girls as Youth Members, All Programs

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Just got this in an email.

 

This is an exciting and important time for the BSA. Our recent historic decision to serve families by inviting girls to Cub Scouts and delivering a program that will enable them to earn the rank of Eagle Scout sustains our mission of preparing more young people to live the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

We have expanded our scope, but our mission and Scouting’s time-tested, proven programs remain unchanged.

We believe this nation needs and deserves more youth focused on the foundations that still serve as bedrock of our movement —
duty to God and country with a desire to help other people at all times.

We know this decision has sparked conversation and debate, but we want to be very clear that we remain committed to serving boys and young men as we invite girls and young women to benefit from our iconic programs by experiencing the same opportunities to develop leadership, face the same character-building challenges, and have the same fun adventures.

The Boy Scouts of America, in name and as an organization, has stood for character development and values-based leadership training for more than 107 years. It is, unequivocally, one of the most recognized, respected and valuable brands on the planet. Therefore, while we have expanded the reach of our programs among today’s youth and their families,
our name remains the same, and our brand will continue to be a source of pride that we will protect and foster as we look to extend the reach of our promise to more families.

While our curriculum is relevant both to boys and girls, our commitment to single-gender offerings remains the same. Our decision does not make our programs co-ed. We acknowledge and celebrate that boys and girls develop differently, and there are times that single-gender learning is most appropriate. We will maintain the experience boys have had in our organization while at the same time expanding our time-tested programs to girls and young women. In fact, we have outlined a structure that would enable us to continue providing single-gender environments — dens within Cub Scout packs and a single-gender Scouting program for older girls within a broader structure that will allow us to serve the whole family.

By expanding the program to more youth, we ensure that families of the present and the future will have an even stronger connection to the values we hold dear.

As we move forward implementing these programs, we keep foremost in our minds that this decision was driven by the many members of our Scouting family, people who live the Scout Oath and Scout Law every day. Together, we understand and believe in the BSA’s mission, and we want what is best for all young people — to experience everything that Scouting has to offer, and to be Prepared. For Life.

Thank you for joining us in sharing this message throughout our communities and this great country.

Sincerely,

 

Randall Stephenson
National President

Charles Dahlquist
National Commissioner

Mike Surbaugh
Chief Scout Executive

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He also said in that video that this was just a discussion on whether they should persue discussing the topic. And that they were under no pressure at all to make a decision. And that they should not make a decision until they had everything ironed out on how Girls should earn eagle, how they should integrate into troops, how they should handle OA. Yup he said all those things, then rushed to a decision without the answers to any of the questions that said they definitely needed to answer before making a decision. It's hard to be a member of a ship when you have no faith or confidence in the person piloting the ship. 

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The shirts have been pressed and hanging in the cupboard for a while.

He also said in that video that this was just a discussion on whether they should persue discussing the topic. And that they were under no pressure at all to make a decision. And that they should not make a decision until they had everything ironed out on how Girls should earn eagle, how they should integrate into troops, how they should handle OA. Yup he said all those things, then rushed to a decision without the answers to any of the questions that said they definitely needed to answer before making a decision. It's hard to be a member of a ship when you have no faith or confidence in the person piloting the ship. 

How girls should earn Eagle:

  • do the requirements as written. :mellow:

How they should integrate into troops:

  • Charter as a unit of girls. (In a year IT business logic should support that.)
  • Collaborate with the CO's other BSA units, sharing resources/opportunities with their permission.

How they should handle OA

  • Follow the lead of national chiefs (for once).
  • Membership requirements as written should suffice if the chiefs recommend inviting those all-female units.
  • If the chiefs do not recommend it, the committee must rewrite regulations to stipulate "troop for boys." It should be a familiar exercise, having done it once to gerrymander explorers out of the equation.

That's ironed out enough for any scouter willing to give it a go.

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I just want to give a few thoughts.  I am not a current scouter, but have been an ASM and a UC.  

 

When I heard the announcement, I'll admit that I was excited.  I have a daughter in kindergarten, and would love for her to have the opportunity for the experience I had in scouts.  I looked into  GSUSA in our area.  None of the girl scout troops I talked to have any interest in focusing on the outdoors ("that is what camp is for").  They all seem really focused on business skills (cookies) and crafts. None were interested in dad involvement and most told me that they didn't allow fathers to participate. The one AHG group in the area told me that they felt it would be inappropriate for a male to come along on trips, but I could come if my wife was there. 

 

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.  Now, I am hopeful.  I just hope that there are packs in the area willing to go "co-ed."  I think there was a hole in what was being offered to girls as far as scouting type programs go.  I can't imagine there will be any need to change the cub program at all, and I really can't find anything in the Boy Scout requirements that will need to change. I imagine that the OA will be the real sticking point. My guess is that we will see a co-ed OA with a drastic change in the way ceremonies are handled. 

 

I wonder if the announcement was made with less of a plan because National no longer felt they could continue the discussion without it being obvious what they had decided. They could have waited, but that would have given less time between the announcement and the program year start for people to both get ready for the change and to get over/through the idea the change was happening.  

Now, I just have to convince my wife that this is a good idea...

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As I said all indications was that this decision was made at least a year ago, if not longer Heck I would say it was made before Wayne Brock retired as CSE. I stated previously I believed Surbaugh was selected to be CSE because of his experience in Exploring and Learning for Life. And after reviewing his wikipage and thinking about it, I bet Surbaugh had a major role in coming up with this.

 

I bet the the research focused on those outside of Scouting and was left as generic as possible to avoid any hint of this coming out. That's why they have so much info on what non-Scouting families want. And I bet a plan was created, and we are seeing the general overview of it. Problem is that national didn't talk to us in the field about it in order to keep it from leaking out. Unfortunately the higher up you go with national, the less you know what the volunteers on the ground are thinking and doing. Heck when I was working for national I saw that with my Scout Shop manager. Manager had no clue about  events, pack meetings COHs, sumemr camp, etc, only about selling merchandise, their field of expertise. And the manager interacted with volunteers on a weekly basis because "I'm in the field." Just think about the professionals in their offices at Irving who only come out at jamborees.

 

We all know that the plan as presented will not work. Full integration is the only way.

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Be reminded, this is NOT about serving girls, or other altruistic pursuits.  This is purely about numbers and fee paying participants and ultimately money.  BSA is down in numbers and thus money to National. 

 

Each scout paid in 2017 $24 in annual membership fees, that is jumping to $33 for 2018.  Much of that is driven by liability insurance, but also the BSA endowment fund drying up.  10 years ago that fund was at $350MM.  Now it is at $160MM.  Much of that is result of lawsuits and legal issues. 

 

Untold in all of this is the money that BSA National has poured into the Summit operation in West Virginia, literally hundreds of millions of dollars, and that Nationally owned site continues to be a money pit.  Also the vast money put into outreach programs for under served youth that are led by para professionals as no leaders can be found.  Not saying this is a bad thing or a bad pursuit, but the cost of delivering that program is much higher than in traditional units. 

 

Lastly no doubt are pension liabilities and insurance.  From the 2016 National Report - these two items (insurance and pensions) were up $21MM Year over Year.  Additionally there are notes in the 2016 Annual report on credit lines of $55MM, and extending those.  Also some forward looking optimistic statement by management believing that many factors (significant donations, program fees, etc) will help deal with the bonds coming due on Summit.  

 

Obviously the situation is more dire than is being portrayed, so the Hail Mary is adding girls.  Where all the leaders etc will come from to staff these new troops is unclear.  The ultimate end game for this round will of course be a fully co-ed program.  Those that choose to leave will of course be "conditional scouters" who obviously were not fully dedicated to the Oath and the Law or the ideals of the Boy Scouts.

 

Remember what they said in All the Presidents Man...Follow the money 

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Those that choose to leave will of course be "conditional scouters" who obviously were not fully dedicated to the Oath and the Law or the ideals of the Boy Scouts.

 

Are you referring to the current Scouters who will leave because of the inclusion of girls?  If so, I don't think it is fair to say they "were not fully dedicated to the Oath and the Law or the ideals of the Boy Scouts."  I have no intention of leaving myself.  I am concerned about impact of coed Cub Scouts and am more concerned if the next step turns out to be coed Boy Scout troops. But if there should someday be girls/young women in the troop I serve as Advancement Chair, I will welcome the opportunity to encourage their advancement and review their progress, and to be their merit badge counselor, just as I will continue to do with the boys/young men.  As a Committee Member, I will encourage their mothers to get trained, become ASM's and go on camping trips.

 

On the other hand, if someone else chooses to leave, I can understand that.  A few people in this forum have said they have already decided to leave.  Personally I think they should wait until the whole thing is in place before making a decision, but that's their choice.  People leave Scouting for all kinds of reasons.  It does not mean they "were not fully dedicated to the Oath and the Law or the ideals of the Boy Scouts."  This is a major change, and inevitably it will be too much of a change for some people.

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I just want to give a few thoughts.  I am not a current scouter, but have been an ASM and a UC.  

 

When I heard the announcement, I'll admit that I was excited.  I have a daughter in kindergarten, and would love for her to have the opportunity for the experience I had in scouts.  I looked into  GSUSA in our area.  None of the girl scout troops I talked to have any interest in focusing on the outdoors ("that is what camp is for").  They all seem really focused on business skills (cookies) and crafts. None were interested in dad involvement and most told me that they didn't allow fathers to participate. The one AHG group in the area told me that they felt it would be inappropriate for a male to come along on trips, but I could come if my wife was there. 

 

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.  Now, I am hopeful.  I just hope that there are packs in the area willing to go "co-ed."  I think there was a hole in what was being offered to girls as far as scouting type programs go.  I can't imagine there will be any need to change the cub program at all, and I really can't find anything in the Boy Scout requirements that will need to change. I imagine that the OA will be the real sticking point. My guess is that we will see a co-ed OA with a drastic change in the way ceremonies are handled. 

I went through the same thing with my daughter over a decade ago. The gs troops thought I was a predator and my wife didn't have the energy to do it. I did but there was no program.

 

One of my only regrets as a father was not having my daughter enjoy scouts like my son did. It was easy finding something to do with my son. Scouts was easy. It was always a struggle with my daughter. I hope it works out for you, mds3d.

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Are you referring to the current Scouters who will leave because of the inclusion of girls?  If so, I don't think it is fair to say they "were not fully dedicated to the Oath and the Law or the ideals of the Boy Scouts."  I have no intention of leaving myself.  I am concerned about impact of coed Cub Scouts and am more concerned if the next step turns out to be coed Boy Scout troops. But if there should someday be girls/young women in the troop I serve as Advancement Chair, I will welcome the opportunity to encourage their advancement and review their progress, and to be their merit badge counselor, just as I will continue to do with the boys/young men.  As a Committee Member, I will encourage their mothers to get trained, become ASM's and go on camping trips.

 

On the other hand, if someone else chooses to leave, I can understand that.  A few people in this forum have said they have already decided to leave.  Personally I think they should wait until the whole thing is in place before making a decision, but that's their choice.  People leave Scouting for all kinds of reasons.  It does not mean they "were not fully dedicated to the Oath and the Law or the ideals of the Boy Scouts."  This is a major change, and inevitably it will be too much of a change for some people.

 

That term came up as I discussed this, and my concerns, with our local SE.  He said that if people chose to leave, or not donate, perhaps they were conditional scouters.  I did not press that issue or comment.  My position is that Scouting has changed (is changing) and it will be significant.  Conditions have changed.

 

Other parts of the conversation seemed to be that this is a good thing, we just need to listen and accept.

 

Also delved into coed troops, Duty to God, changes to requirements and of course none of that is being considered, my counter to that was how can you say that with the 10/11 announcement?  National wants to add numbers any way it can, if they could scrap uniforms because the surveys say those not in scouting would join, they would.

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@@Jameson76, welcome to the forums.

 

It would be optimistic indeed if any policy change would garner 200,000+ members -- enough at $33 a pop to dramatically offset liability and credit lines. From what I've heard from (and about) Mike Surbaugh while he was our SE, he's more pragmatic than optimistic.

 

But, let's unpack your argument. Let's say that BSA believes this move is a cash cow, and over the next few years it gets them the $ you assert that they need so desperately. That would translate into 200K+ registrations they would not otherwise get. Let's assume that that would be 10% new leaders, 60% young women, and 30% brothers of those young women. That would be 60K boys entering the program. Let's also assume that BSA's bet on net losses due to this policy shift is about 10K boys. That bet could be dead wrong, but let's just suppose that's what they're thinking.

 

This "cash grab" then translates 50K+ boys served. So, even if BSA's motives were purely capitalistic, I could envision them believing this as a way to serve more boys than they do now.

 

Based on the snippets that we've been fed from the market surveys, I personally don't see any of those projections as realistic ... thus I don't find the need to replenish funds as a logical motivation of BSA's shift. But, even if it were, linking income to more boys served is about as well-oiled as a capitalist economy can get.

Edited by qwazse

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Be reminded, this is NOT about serving girls, or other altruistic pursuits.  This is purely about numbers and fee paying participants and ultimately money.  BSA is down in numbers and thus money to National. 

 

...

 

Remember what they said in All the Presidents Man...Follow the money 

 

No doubt there's truth in your argument, Jameson76, the BSA & GSUSA are each facing a Donner-Party crises (and we know what happened to them).  Nevertheless, you can't deny the media drumbeats the BSA has heard from organizations such as NOW http://nownyc.org/press-releases/national-organization-women-calls-boy-scouts-america-end-discriminatory-policies-let-girls-join/ and from compelling individuals such as Sydney Ireland http://www.npr.org/2017/04/29/526021195/meet-the-teenage-girl-who-wants-to-be-a-boy-scout.

 

MattR and mds3d, above, perfectly articulate the flaw with the GSUSA model relative to the outdoor program.  Coupled with the GSUSA's inept marketing of their Gold Award (I have a Gold Award recipient daughter as well as an Eagle Scout son and I know she put every bit as much into her achievement as he did his), I'm surprised the clamor to join the rest of the First World in providing a co-ed program hasn't been louder.

 

I would, however, like to see more media focus on the GSUSA and how they brought this on themselves.  The BSA may be playing a numbers game, but between the media drumbeats on the one hand, and the GSUSA's indolence on the other, they would have rightly been accused of looking a gift-horse in the mouth had they not taken steps to go co-ed.

Edited by AltadenaCraig
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We believe this nation needs and deserves more youth focused on the foundations that still serve as bedrock of our movement — duty to God and country with a desire to help other people at all times.

 

 

Based on this way of thinking Mike Surbaugh has a free hand to change the Boy Scouts in any way he wants as long as he can claim it is helping girls or single moms or families or any other people. 

 

My question is how have the changes helped the Girl Scouts, if it is hurting the Girl Scouts then BSA National has broken the scout oath.

 

Therefore, while we have expanded the reach of our programs among today’s youth and their families, our name remains the same, and our brand will continue to be a source of pride that we will protect and foster as we look to extend the reach of our promise to more families. 

 

 

 

I think what he really means is the BSA BRAND is the best name that can be used to produce maximum profit, so we get to keep our name.

 

Pride?  I do not remember Pride being part of the scout law.  I am not sure being prideful is a good thing.

 

 

While our curriculum is relevant both to boys and girls, our commitment to single-gender offerings remains the same. Our decision does not make our programs co-ed.

 

 

 

I see, your decision does not make our programs co-ed. . .    but Mike Surbaugh could make a new decision at any time and instantly make BSA co-ed.

If you read what he said carefully the door is wide open to switch to co-ed at any time they wish to make a new decision.

They have made no promises to not go co-ed.   

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Jameson76 wrote:  "Remember what they said in All the Presidents Man...Follow the money "

 

I absolutely believe that's true, but it's an incomplete insight.  BSA has a large structure of camps, staff and other resources.  If membership drops continue, we need to sell / divest many prized resources that make scouting scouting.  We see it all the time.  I think about my own counsel.  I'm amazed they have not been forced to sell a camp yet even though membership is way down compared to 1999, pre BSA-v-Dale.  

 

To stabilize or increase membership, BSA needs to keep relevant to the times.  An organization for boys only looks like a relic from the past.  Out of date and out of touch.  T

 

his is a chance for renewal.  Yes, it's absolutely about money.  But it's about way more than that too.

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This "cash grab" then translates 50K+ boys served. So, even if BSA's motives were purely capitalistic, I could envision them believing this as a way to serve more boys than they do now.

 

Based on the snippets that we've been fed from the market surveys, I personally don't see any of those projections as realistic ... thus I don't find the need to replenish funds as a logical motivation of BSA's shift. But, even if it were, linking income to more boys served is about as well-oiled as a capitalist economy can get.

Those 50k boys might just offset the loses from the LDS church in 2019.

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I see, your decision does not make our programs co-ed. . .    but Mike Surbaugh could make a new decision at any time and instantly make BSA co-ed.

If you read what he said carefully the door is wide open to switch to co-ed at any time they wish to make a new decision.

They have made no promises to not go co-ed.   

 

The Co-Ed question will become codified in policy in less than 3 years.  In 2018 there will be Cubs with 3 options and 2019 there will be Girl Troops and Boy Troops.  Then (put on your shocked face) there will be surveys and listening events and for the enhancement of the program ALL units will be co-ed.  Perhaps this will be the line in the sand for some, those of us considered conditional.  Also the Duty to God will be optional, can't offend anyone and the listening events showed that was not fully inclusive.

 

No doubt there will be program changes on time requirements, camping, swimming, etc. to accommodate families.  The requirements will likely become less unit focused and more "family" centered.  Also the uniform will become much much more infrequent.

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