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Sentinel947

Co-ed scouting overseas

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I'd like to create a thread for the purpose of American Scouters asking questions to our foreign friends here. @@Cambridgeskip and others? 

 

Please keep in mind that the current changes do not make the BSA exactly like the the UK. These changes in theory require separate gender dens at the cub level and troops at the troop level. This thread is to talk about program concerns, not political ones. Please use http://scouter.com/index.php/topic/29428-official-news-release-girls-as-youth-members-all-programs/page-7 the megathread to discuss the merits of the policy change. 

 

Thanks

Edited by Sentinel947
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UK Beaver Scout (our equivalent of your Tiger Cubs I think) Leader here. More than happy to help with any concerns or questions where I can.

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@@lakes_stu thanks for joining in. With the addition of girls, what new did you ask/require of parents in protecting scouts and supporting your program?

Edited by RememberSchiff
Clumsy editting on my part. Need coffee.

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I am sure one of the first questions that comes up, what changed when you added girls? Did any of the standards get eased? Are there now more girl-focused (or girl stereotyped) merit badges or activities?

 

What challenged did you face on recruit more moms to participate?

 

What impact did this have on Girl Scouts?

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I am sure one of the first questions that comes up, what changed when you added girls? Did any of the standards get eased? Are there now more girl-focused (or girl stereotyped) merit badges or activities?

 

What challenged did you face on recruit more moms to participate?

 

What impact did this have on Girl Scouts?

 

First question is not a straight forward one to answer given he timeline.

 

All age groups went coed on a local option basis in 1991. And at that time there were no changes at all.

 

In 2002-2003 there was a root and branch change to the age ranges and program to the point where it simply wasn't comparable. Progression awards in cubs and scouts were replaced with challenge badges. Queens Scout was made tougher o get but given longer to do it. Simply no comparison. Have a look at badge requirements for scouts (10-14) Challenge, Activity and staged activity. Note that staged activity badges can be earned anytime between age 6 and 18! So bottom end are aimed at Beavers and top end at Explorers. I couldn't tell you all the badges from when I was a scout but I don't think it looks that much different.

 

Then in 2007 all groups went coed.

 

There was a program refresh a couple of years ago which kept the existing structure but made the challenge badges tougher.

 

Recruiting mums... not really a problem to be honest! When I ran cubs and we needed a pair of hands we typically got mums stepping forward. But to be honest we don't really need parents that much. Most of our leaders come all the way through and age out to become adult leaders. I have one mum with the troop at the moment, none of the other adults are parents, at least not of any of our scouts.

 

Virtually no impact on Girl Guides at all. In fact Girl Guiding UK is still bigger than TSA! Fact is the girls that join scouts typically don't want to be girl guides. In a single sex world hey simply wouldn't have done either. I have had plenty of girls join us by coming over form guides or brownies. I haven't lost a single one the other way.

Edited by Cambridgeskip

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@@lakes_stu thanks for joining in. With the addition of girls, what new did you ask/require of parents in protecting scouts and supporting your program?

 

 

Protecting Scouts from what?  Are you suggesting that male Scouts need protecting from female Scouts?

 

Paul, UK

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@@RememberSchiff, I am not 100% certain how to answer on the basis of mixing boys and girls, but we require that our Beavers (who are max 8 years old, and some of whom have not yet turned 6) are brought into our meeting place by a parent and collected directly from us at the end.

 

For a regular Beaver meeting, there will be at least 2 adults present at all times. At least one of these will normally have completed basic training, although can still be working towards their Wood Badge. If we have an extra event or meet away from our usual place, the required ratio is 1 adult to every 6 Beavers, plus an extra adult in overall charge. These ratios change as you progress to Cubs, Scouts and Explorers - and I think the requirement for the extra adult is dropped for Scouts and older.

 

Notice I say adults. There is no requirement to have a mixed sex leadership team (and this includes on camp), although it is recommended as good practice. It is down to common sense, acting responsibly and carrying out good risk assessments.

 

When required, all Scouts and adults should have the ability to change, wash and toilet etc with privacy. This is absolutely required when girls and boys are attending a camp or sleepover, and is generally fairly straightforward to arrange (even if you have to get a little creative sometimes). As for the actual 'lying down and falling asleep', accommodation can be mixed if required, but this is obviously not the preferred option. It tends to be where there is only one girl attending a camp with other boys, and is sometimes seen as a safer option than them sleeping on their own. Everybody concerned must be happy with the arrangements in this case (including parents).

 

As for how the boys and girls act around each other, this has never been an issue. We expect all our Beavers to treat each other, and themselves (and us) with respect. The general approach at Beaver age is that if they remember their promise, they wont go far wrong. That goes for us adults too!

 

We do encourage parents to help us out on an ad-hoc basis. If a parent is never unsupervised with children, does not attend an overnight event and does not attend more than one week in four (I need to double check that one), they do not need a formal background check (in fact doing so would be illegal). Vigilance and more common sense are the watchwords here.

 

However, if any of the above conditions could potentially be satisfied or they wish to take on a more formalised leadership role, they must be properly vetted. This involves a 'Confidentail Enquiry' check at HQ, as well as checking for any relevant information that may be held about them. In England and Wales, we have a system knows as the Disclosure and Barring Service. This is a centralised department that allows a criminal record check to be carried out, search for the presence of a person on any 'barred' lists and check local police records. It is renewed every 5 years. There are similar but separate organisations in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

 

Hope this helps! Anyone care to expand on this???

Edited by lakes_stu
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Protecting Scouts from what?  Are you suggesting that male Scouts need protecting from female Scouts?

 

Paul, UK

In American Boy Scouts we have a set of youth protection policies mostly to prevent a repeat of institution wide sexual abuse of minors. I think Schiff is referring to the UK equivalent of that. 

 

My question is actually fairly similar. With Co-ed Scouting comes the management of teenage hormones. When I was in High School band, they would put us in hotel rooms based on gender. (All male and female rooms.) They would actually put duct tape on the outside of the doors, so they would know if you tried to leave the room to go mingle with the opposite genders at night without supervision. I feel like foreign Scouts would be just as similar as American ones. Are there rules in the TSA UK that address this?

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@@Hawkwin That is a very good question, and I suspect it is one that a great many in the BSA might be asking either right now or if there is prospect of going fully co-ed.

 

The answer is - nothing!!! Not in my experience anyway. In no way have we made the programme specifically girl focussed. We make sure that it is accessible to all (and I mean all) and those that like what we offer join us. There are other options for those who would prefer something different.

 

As for merit badges, obviously as a Beaver leader the badges that I know about are designed to be achieved by 6-8 year olds, but there is nothing specifically gender based in there. Of course, there is flexibility if the Beavers want to include something that could be classed as such in their activities. We tend to sit down and talk about what they would like to do (we call it a 'log chew') and build a programme based on that.

 

Regarding recruiting Mums, at Beaver age it tends to be Mums that come along in any case. This does not mean that they will suddenly jump into uniform, but we do find that many are quite willing to help out occasionally provided they do not feel overwhelmed.

 

But, as I mentioned above, we do not need Mums to help. We can have a team made up completely of Dads or indeed other males (some leaders are parents but by no means all), and all would be well provided we act as responsible adults. Take a look at https://members.scouts.org.uk/supportresources/3099/young-people-first-code-of-practice-yellow-card?cat=419,299,304for how we do this.

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In American Boy Scouts we have a set of youth protection policies mostly to prevent a repeat of institution wide sexual abuse of minors. I think Schiff is referring to the UK equivalent of that. 

 

My question is actually fairly similar. With Co-ed Scouting comes the management of teenage hormones. When I was in High School band, they would put us in hotel rooms based on gender. (All male and female rooms.) They would actually put duct tape on the outside of the doors, so they would know if you tried to leave the room to go mingle with the opposite genders at night without supervision. I feel like foreign Scouts would be just as similar as American ones. Are there rules in the TSA UK that address this?

 

I suggest taking a look at https://members.scouts.org.uk/supportresources/search/?cat=419,304 and exploring some of the information there and on linked pages. @@Cambridgeskip, @@PaulArthurs, @@ianwilkins do you know if there any any factsheets or parts of POR that may be worth quoting here? I'm at work right now and having to be a bit discreet!!!

Edited by lakes_stu
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My question is actually fairly similar. With Co-ed Scouting comes the management of teenage hormones. I feel like foreign Scouts would be just as similar as American ones. Are there rules in the TSA UK that address this?

 

US Venture Crews are co-ed and ages 14-21, the absolute worst age group for raging hormones, and I have not heard of issues with Crews.

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I am sure one of the first questions that comes up, what changed when you added girls? Did any of the standards get eased? Are there now more girl-focused (or girl stereotyped) merit badges or activities?

First a little background. I was a Venture Scout Leader, which in the UK was co-ed from some time in the 70s, the other younger sections were not co-ed until after I was a leader, 1991 apparently. So I've not been a leader of single gender sections, but I've been around while they changed from "boys" to "co-ed".

 

I'm pretty sure I'm not understating it, but I genuinely don't think the programme as documented changed at all, I mean, apart from changing references to "boys" to the rather more prosaic "young people".

We always had badges like "home help", and ones that involved learning to sew, alongside things like shooting and hiking and camping.

I don't think any awards were "dumbed down" or had their standards lowered when girls started joining.

 

I found an awesome site...

 

http://www.scoutcollecting.co.uk/

Which lists all the badges over time for the sections. Badges come in and out of favour, and you could probably find something to suit your argument either way in there.

 

I don't think, from what I see in the younger sections, that it's any more "girly" than it used to be. I really can't remember much about when I was in cubs, but what I do remember was being out doing stuff.

It's possible that girls might do more stereotypically girl things for badges like "hobbies". But on the other hand, the cub pack that meets right before us has some girls in, and sometimes you'll walking and they're all making bird boxes, or one astounding occasion, flat pack furniture!

 

Two weeks ago I handed out a "100 nights away" badge to one of my Explorers, it so happens they're a she.

 

What challenges did you face on recruit more moms to participate?

 

 

Well, that's more difficult for me to answer, as allowing female "cub mistresses" predates even me. It's not unfair to say adult recruitment is as ever a problem. In the youngest section Beavers (aged 6-8) it's not unfair to say it's mostly mums, as they're more traditionally at home at 5pm or so when they meet.

In Explorers I've never really tried to recruit female leaders. In some units we happen to have some, and in some it happens we don't.

Not much help I know.

 

What impact did this have on Girl Scouts?

I think it's safe to say "none". I think from what I gather, Girlguiding in the UK is generally like GSUSA...."girly". In Explorers it's not uncommon for me to get some guides crossing over because they no longer enjoy guides.

In terms of pure numbers, Girlguiding don't seem to release census numbers, but they say they have around 500,000, which is a little more than scouts.

 

Also, while hunting around, I found this training material which was introduced when we went co-ed in the lower sections...

 

https://members.scouts.org.uk/documents/girlstm.pdf

 

Lots of dead links but might be useful.

Edited by ianwilkins

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