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Sentinel947

Co-ed scouting overseas

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Feel free to keep firing away with questions on or off line.

 

I was speaking to one of my ASLs last night about this. He joined up as an 8 year old cub, is now 73, and other than 3 years off when he first had children has been around ever since. He said that when girls were first admitted to all sections he was sceptical but had to admit that it had been a success. Other than higher pitched voices they really weren't any different to the boys. In previous conversations he's said that while some of the tents might look different and the uniform has changed scouting doesn't really look all that different to when he was 12 years old.

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Some questions:

 

What percentage of your scout leaders were scouts? Reading posts here, my impression you have a higher percentage than we.

 

Do you have "Family Camping" in your program?

 

Modest Proposal: Maybe we should relocate BSA HQ to Britain for this transition.

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Some questions:

 

What percentage of your scout leaders were scouts? Reading posts here, my impression you have a higher percentage than we.

 

Do you have "Family Camping" in your program?

 

Modest Proposal: Maybe we should relocate BSA HQ to Britain for this transition.

 

In my group, one male was a Scout, two were Cubs and one assistant leader was a Queen's Guide (so equivalent of Eagle Scout for the Girl Guides).  The other three, all female, came into it as parents, but stayed.

 

My group doesn't do family camping. Perhaps we should, to bring more adults in. It's hard enough to find weekends when all the leaders are free, let alone getting parents involved too. This year we didn't even have a whole-group camp, because we couldn't get enough leaders together all at the same time.

 

A sensible person might imagine that the BSA had consulted with other international groups before making these plans. I'll leave it to you to indicate how realistic that is.

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I would like to thank y'all foreigners for discussing the mechanics of making these mixed gender potentialities work. It will benefit those who have to deal with the program changes--probably better than what BSA will come up with.

Not a problem. Again, I apologise if I have come over a little opinionated. Its just that I am passionate about what we do (aren't we all) and wish the best for the BSA and its members. Things can seem a little black and white sometimes!

 

As @@Cambridgeskip says, keep the questions flowing. I am really enjoying this, as I feel I am learning a lot too (from my colleagues here in the UK as well as you guys overseas).

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Some questions:

 

What percentage of your scout leaders were scouts? Reading posts here, my impression you have a higher percentage than we.

 

Do you have "Family Camping" in your program?

 

Modest Proposal: Maybe we should relocate BSA HQ to Britain for this transition.

At full strength we can muster 13 adults with the scout troop. Bear in mind that's well above average! Of those their back ground is

 

6 x went all the way through scouts and ended up as an adult at the end.

1 x went all the way through girl guides and came to us as an adult leader

2 x went all through the scouts and came back as an adult a later in life

1 x mum who was never a scout or guide

3 x volunteered completely externally

 

For many groups an occasional "family camp" does exist but is not the standard camp. It may be an annual fixture or maybe just every 2 or 3 years. The main point of them is to get parents along for a fun weekend and encourage them to volunteer and often includes the group AGM as part of it. It certainly doesn't dominate the program as such.

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Some questions:

 

What percentage of your scout leaders were scouts? Reading posts here, my impression you have a higher percentage than we.

 

Do you have "Family Camping" in your program?

 

Modest Proposal: Maybe we should relocate BSA HQ to Britain for this transition.

 

In our group, we have 1 Beaver scout Leader, 1 Assistant Beaver Scout Leader (me!), 1 Cub Scout Leader, 1 Assistant Cub Scout Leader, 2 Cub Scout Section Assistants, 1 Scout Leader, 1 Scout Section Assistant and 1 Group Section Assistant.

 

Out of these, about half have been in Scouting as youth members. One was in Girlguiding and was a leader there but left because she felt it was a bit wishy-washy (her exact words wont be repeated here, but thats the general reason). All but 2 are (or have been) parents of kids in the group. Ages range from 23 to 48 I think.

 

"Family Camps" are not too common here. They used to be quite popular in Beavers when they were not allowed to camp in tents without their parents. That changed several years ago, and they are not very common now as far as I know. It is more common for an interested parent to help with a camp as an additional adult. In any case, adults attending overnight have needed to have the appropriate safeguarding checks done first.

 

Family camps could, I believe, be a bit problematic as many adults were there as 'parents' rather than 'leaders'. This led to issues with parents undermining leaders, picking and choosing which elements of the camp they wished to get get involved in and several other notable problems. In any case, it was felt that the young people got less from the camp if their parents were there (as opposed to leaders who just happened to be parents).

 

Having said that, we welcome parents along to our camps (provided we can get them DBS checked in time - it takes a while) and other events. Its just that they are expected to be part of the leadership team rather than 'parents'.

 

I dont have first hand experience of this though. Perhaps @@Cambridgeskip or someone could provide more info.

Edited by lakes_stu
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Maybe my unit is a fluke, but he have more parents (dads) who were scouts than our registered leaders. In their view, there is less hassle and cost in just informally helping than formally registering as a leader.

 

I like your smart use of "family camping" to demonstrate scouting and recruit adults say once a year or two years.

 

How often are your adult leaders required to take youth protection training?

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Maybe my unit is a fluke, but he have more parents (dads) who were scouts than our registered leaders. In their view, there is less hassle and cost in just informally helping than formally registering as a leader.

 

I like your smart use of "family camping" to demonstrate scouting and recruit adults say once a year or two years.

 

How often are your adult leaders required to take youth protection training?

 

Im sure Family Camps can be a very effective way to recruit more Leaders. Maybe its something we should try. One thing that is common here is operating a 'parent rota' where parents take it in turns to help with a meeting a couple of times a year. Some groups are very strict about this while others are much more informal, with everything in between.

 

DBS checks are renewed every 5 years, although I am sure any issues flagged up in the interim would result in immediate action. We also need to take safeguarding and safety training every 5 years, although it should be and generally is an ongoing thing. First aid training is renewed every 3 years.

Edited by lakes_stu
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... A sensible person might imagine that the BSA had consulted with other international groups before making these plans. I'll leave it to you to indicate how realistic that is.

In one sense, that happens thanks to returnees from World Jamboree and other WOSM events. Our nation's culture is also very strongly influenced by its recent immigrants (has noted quite loudly by dissenting earlier immigrants), many of whom take what BSA and GS/USA (and others) offer and cobble together co-ed scouting because that is what they grew up with. In another sense both BSA and GS/USA (and others) face litigation in a way that folks in other countries simply cannot comprehend, to declare openly that they are following anyone else's model but their own would draw derision from multiple sides.

 

I do believe that BSA National is looking at what I've described as a post-modern nomadic generation. They sincerely believe that welcoming sisters will open a market of brothers in families who are feeling the grind of shuffling kids everywhere. They are willing to bet that boys who can't stand the company of sisters will turn out to be few. But they are arrogant enough to believe that the extra paperwork to certify "separate programs" will placate disgruntled scouters and parents.

 

Those of us "boots on the ground" have no such scruples. We'd prefer to call spades spades and either work with co-eds or work with unisex with as little meddling as possible from anyone besides our charter sponsors. That's why we want to hear from scouters around the world who've "been there done that."

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Im sure Family Camps can be a very effective way to recruit more Leaders. Maybe its something we should try. One thing that is common here is operating a 'parent rota' where parents take it in turns to help with a meeting a couple of times a year. Some groups are very strict about this while others are much more informal, with everything in between.

 

DBS checks are renewed every 5 years, although I am sure any issues flagged up in the interim would result in immediate action. We also need to take safeguarding and safety training every 5 years, although it should be and generally is an ongoing thing. First aid training is renewed every 3 years.

 

Here Youth Protection training must be taken every TWO years.  Five years sounds more sensible but then we likely have more child abuse litigation. Once and done works for me.

 

In our general program, there is NO first aid training requirement for adult leaders. Some camps and activities, e.g. Philmont, may require leaders have CPR and Wilderness First Aid training.  Doesn't make sense to me either.

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A sensible person might imagine that the BSA had consulted with other international groups before making these plans. I'll leave it to you to indicate how realistic that is.

 

Snort! <spewing coffee across the room>

 

Plans? We don't need no stinkin' plans! Case in point. Last night we were informed that we needed to use the new software system for uploading advancement info to the council. But the new system does not work while the old system does. Q: Why should we use the new system if it doesn't work? A: Because we need to get everyone onto the new system. Q: But it doesn't work. A: It does so much more than the old system.

 

Slap head repeatedly because it feels so good when it stops. Back to our regularly scheduled program...

 

let's talk about differences between how boys and girls do things. I've heard several UK scouters say boys and girls solve problems differently. The boys are more adept at making it up at the last moment and the girls tend to think, or likely talk, things through. If the girls are better at planning and organization, do they also tend to take leadership positions more often than the boys? One of scouting's greatest strengths is giving kids an opportunity to lead. I'd hate to see the boys get less opportunity for that. Granted, there are plenty of other issues preventing this in the BSA (mainly related to the lack of a plan from national).

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Snort! <spewing coffee across the room>

 

Plans? We don't need no stinkin' plans! Case in point. Last night we were informed that we needed to use the new software system for uploading advancement info to the council. But the new system does not work while the old system does. Q: Why should we use the new system if it doesn't work? A: Because we need to get everyone onto the new system. Q: But it doesn't work. A: It does so much more than the old system.

 

Slap head repeatedly because it feels so good when it stops. Back to our regularly scheduled program...

 

let's talk about differences between how boys and girls do things. I've heard several UK scouters say boys and girls solve problems differently. The boys are more adept at making it up at the last moment and the girls tend to think, or likely talk, things through. If the girls are better at planning and organization, do they also tend to take leadership positions more often than the boys? One of scouting's greatest strengths is giving kids an opportunity to lead. I'd hate to see the boys get less opportunity for that. Granted, there are plenty of other issues preventing this in the BSA (mainly related to the lack of a plan from national).

I think it's exactly because those differences between boys and girls are recognised that we haven't ended up with girls dominating. Boththe adult leaders and the scouts can recognise that so we end up with a healthy mix. What I have noticed is that when we have any kind of inter patrol competition it's patrols with a boy/girl. pL /APL pairing (either way round) that tend to dominate the competition.

 

Related but different difference is that for weekend camps we tend to get a disproportionate number of boys sign up and for longer week long trips a disproportionate number of girls. I've also heard of troops where it's the other way round and others where no difference noticed so might just be our neighbourhood!

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 I don't know how things work in US early schools, but here it is unusual for schools for children younger than 11 to have changing rooms. So, all our kids are used to stripping down to their underwear, in their classroom, in front of their friends, before and after PE classes. 

 

I actually knew that interesting tidbit of information. One of my college textbooks on Physical Education described the differences in attitudes and customs in PE classes around the world. That was 40 years ago, so I didn't know that this is still a current practice.

 

No, we don't do that. 

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Some questions:

 

What percentage of your scout leaders were scouts? Reading posts here, my impression you have a higher percentage than we.

 

Do you have "Family Camping" in your program?

 

Modest Proposal: Maybe we should relocate BSA HQ to Britain for this transition.

Our Group is I think somewhat unusual in that just about all of our Leaders were Scouts or Guides (Girl Scouts as you would call them). We have very few parents as Leaders, I think I can think of 1 out of about 14 Leaders. Our SL was a Guide and was a parent of a Scout when she became a Leader but her son is 23 now and is an Assistant Scout Leader elsewhere (he was an ASL in our Troop until he moved 18 months ago).

 

Many of our Leaders were Scouts in our Scout Group (including myself) and of those that weren't most were Scouts elsewhere and moved into the area. This includes female Leaders given some Scout Troops here have had girls since 1991 so the first female Scouts in the UK are now around 36 years old.

 

The Group that meets just up the road from us however has a lot of parents (or parents of former youth members) as Leaders so it does vary alot from Group to Group.

 

 

As to family camps, Groups can run family camps and some do so regularly however its certainly not something all Groups do and due to safeguarding there can be a fair amount of admin and paperwork involved in organising family camps as all adults who stay overnight on a camp need a criminal records check done on them in advance. Then you have to work out how to involve the adults on a family camp so that they all make a positive input and don't just sit around watching their kids doing things. I think if done right they could work well and would help you identify good potential Leaders amongst the parents 

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Snort! <spewing coffee across the room>

 

Plans? We don't need no stinkin' plans! Case in point. Last night we were informed that we needed to use the new software system for uploading advancement info to the council. But the new system does not work while the old system does. Q: Why should we use the new system if it doesn't work? A: Because we need to get everyone onto the new system. Q: But it doesn't work. A: It does so much more than the old system.

 

Slap head repeatedly because it feels so good when it stops. Back to our regularly scheduled program...

 

let's talk about differences between how boys and girls do things. I've heard several UK scouters say boys and girls solve problems differently. The boys are more adept at making it up at the last moment and the girls tend to think, or likely talk, things through. If the girls are better at planning and organization, do they also tend to take leadership positions more often than the boys? One of scouting's greatest strengths is giving kids an opportunity to lead. I'd hate to see the boys get less opportunity for that. Granted, there are plenty of other issues preventing this in the BSA (mainly related to the lack of a plan from national).

 

 

 

Go on to escouts and see how 'Project Compass' worked out. That was a new all-singing all-dancing software system we were supposed to use so they, sorry I meant WE, could manage our data better. One of the reasons I was happy to leave the Scout Association.

 

Regarding differences in problem-solving between boys and girls, I don't let them work in single sex groups, so (like in the real world) if they're doing team tasks, they have to use the skills of all present. It's usually harder on the girls, because the boys are louder and more likely to impose a 'solution' on the group. At this age they haven't yet learned to say, "I told you so". Bear in mind I only do Wolf Cubs, so ours tend to need more supervision/guidance than the Scouts.

 

Sixes and Seconder roles are awarded based on time served and our points system, which rewards regular attendance and being properly dressed and equipped. Two out of four Sixers are girls, all Seconders are boys.

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