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ianwilkins

What do you mean by "men" and "manly"?

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So this is a little confusing in your argument.  If the BSA portrays manliness (whether policy or program), and it "let many people think scouting was primarily about building up manly men," then isn't that what it is?  Since perception drives reality, what "many people" think scouting is about is pretty much what it's about.  This change, whether you agree or disagree, changes that perception for the many.

 

 

There is a huge difference between the (former) policy of the BSA and what the program actually is. Part of the perception of manliness comes from images of ranks of boys and men lined up on parade fields. It looks almost militaristic. In reality, those kids are often clearing off those parade fields after the flag ceremony to go do some basket weaving or knot tying. The program isn't quite as manly as the policy-driven all-male image would suggest. 

 

I agree the policy change alters some perceptions of the BSA. But that doesn't make those perceptions accurate. Should we really make policy decisions based on some peoples' inaccurate ideas of what the BSA really is? 

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Thanks all. Interesting stuff. Turns out it was much as I thought from my cultural framework. Mostly Scout Law + Clint Eastwood, but it depends. :)

 

Probably almost as vague a question as "what is scouting?"* :)

 

* No, don't answer that. :)

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Would somebody please reference the BSA source material for "manly" or "turning boys into men"?  I've read and re-read the "Aims and Methods of Scouting" and the word "man" doesn't appear and the only derivative that does is "humankind". 

 

Just as the Guide to Advancement delineates the requirement as written - no more and no less - as the standard by which a Scout's merit badge or an advancement is attained, I believe Scouters are bound to the Aims and Methods - no more and no less - as our purpose.

 

We get ourselves into trouble when we invent our own aims & methods.  We're much better off when we stick to the book.

 

You're looking for the section "What Scouting Means" in Chapter 1 of the Scout Handbook, first edition. It's also the home of my favorite statement on Scouting: "To be a scout means to be prepared to do the right thing at the right moment, no matter what the consequences may be."

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You're looking for the section "What Scouting Means" in Chapter 1 of the Scout Handbook, first edition. It's also the home of my favorite statement on Scouting: "To be a scout means to be prepared to do the right thing at the right moment, no matter what the consequences may be."

One of my favorites as well because all too often "be prepared" is interpreted as simply "having gear" instead of a mindset regarding action.

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To protect the weak, stand for your beliefs, respect women, seek adventure, be self-sufficient, and take charge when needed. Respect and civility toward the other. Showing leadership when it is needed. Doing the right thing even if it is the tough thing. Knowing enough self-sufficient skills so you can help your self and others in an emergency. Being adaptable. Learning to work in a band of brothers. 

 

I think this one aligns best with my personal standing on the topic.   

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If BSA is oriented to helping boys become men through character building and leadership development, does that mean we are to turn girls into men too?  Or are we going to need to change the whole program from start to finish? 

 

A tweak here and there to accommodate the girls isn't going to cut it.

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If BSA is oriented to helping boys become men through character building and leadership development, does that mean we are to turn girls into men too?  Or are we going to need to change the whole program from start to finish? 

 

A tweak here and there to accommodate the girls isn't going to cut it.

 

It appears that the mission has become to help children become adults through character building and leadership development (and fitness and service to others.)  I cannot think of a single part of the official Cub Scout or Boy Scout program that would not apply to girls.  Can you?

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I take it one has not had much experience working with co-ed groups.  They are an entirely different animal than a single-sex group. As an adult, one approaches the situation differently.  I have worked with both co-ed and single-sex groups all my life.  I know the differences and there are differences.

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If BSA is oriented to helping boys become men through character building and leadership development, does that mean we are to turn girls into men too?  Or are we going to need to change the whole program from start to finish? 

 

A tweak here and there to accommodate the girls isn't going to cut it.

 

In my limited time with Cub and Boy Scouts, I've yet to encounter anything that is inherently manly or masculine. I don't see why we would need to create anything that is inherently womanly or feminine simply because we include girls that want to be Boy Scouts.

 

As I suggested, I don't have decades of experience as many here do so if you or others are aware of something within BSA that is inherently manly or masculine, I welcome being educated on such. I can't think of a single thing that my son has done so far that would not be just as natural for my daughter to do - and at 9 years old, she has logged well over 100 miles hiked in the Smokies and the White Mountains (NH).

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 I cannot think of a single part of the official Cub Scout or Boy Scout program that would not apply to girls.  Can you?

 

 

I take it one has not had much experience working with co-ed groups.

 

Assumptions about NJ's experience doesn't answer the question asked.

 

Based on your experience with coed groups, just what is it that you think we would have to change? If possible, please be specific.

 

Our friends across the pond have indicated that they didn't really change a thing so I am very curious what people think we would have to do different here.

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Assumptions about NJ's experience doesn't answer the question asked.

 

Based on your experience with coed groups, just what is it that you think we would have to change? If possible, please be specific.

 

Our friends across the pond have indicated that they didn't really change a thing so I am very curious what people think we would have to do different here.

 

The original question was about raising boys to be men and girls to be men (as opposed to women).  Are we disagreeing that there are fundamental differences in the sexes both biologically as well as psychologically that, in order for the best possible outcome, should be catered to.  Riding a bike and climbing a mountain are things that either sex can do (program)... how it's done, and the experience that's garnered from it varies, generally speaking, between boys and girls (mission).  I missed the part where it was bad to have girls grow to be strong independent women and boys to grow to be strong independent men was inherently bad... or that the two are the same thing.  

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Physically the stamina of a woman is far better than a man's.  Yet brute strength the men will do better.  Hiking 100 miles will take it's toll differently on a man than it will on a woman.  There's more to it than just physical strength and endurance.  There's emotional issues to consider.  There are sexual issues to consider.  There are mental issues to consider.  Goals of males are different than goals of female.  The list goes on and on. 

 

It doesn't take a whole lot of thought to see that a co-ed Bible study is different than a men's group study or a woman's group study.  Same for a book club.  Interests are different.  The movies and TV shows we watch are different.  Marketing products to the public are carefully designed differently for men than women.  How men shop is different than how women shop.  What they are looking for is different than the others.  Community based organizations vary, GS/USA has a different agenda than BSA.  YMCA was different than YWCA.  The societal attitudes are different towards groups varies depending on it's make-up.

 

Church groups are different than community groups.  They have different agendas.

 

Sports are still basically male and female because of the physical make up of the species.  Yet a female kicker might do okay on an elsewise all male football team, but she's never going to be much of a line-blocker on the team.  :)

 

So what do we have?  Over the past 50 years there has been the basic movement towards equalization of the two sexes even when they are not physically and emotionally equal to begin with, nor do they have the same general interests either.  So, we merge them as the YMCA/YWCA did and Boy & Girls Clubs did, and what BSA did with Exploring/Venturing did, as do faith-based groups did, as did Kiwanis, Lions, and other adult organizations did.  And for the most part do very well.  

 

So where's the problem?  They all went to an equalized generic agenda which speaks to the common ground of the combined groups.  They appear to be very successful at it and with just a slight variance in goals and missions are really quite generic.  So now what?  Scouts have moved into the generic croud with camping and the outdoors as it's unique flagship.  Basically there's nothing wrong with that other than it's a johnny-come-lately to the party.  There are a lot of other programs that offer that as a draw along with the expanded program of other interest areas.    Now BSA has to compete with them on equal grounds and with it's outdoors program will be at a slight disadvantage.  Sure Learning for Life and STEM will help, but they are not the flagship of the BSA and for marketing, won't draw as well as the school clubs do already.  Costs will affect that greatly.  Schools can outspend for better programs and equipment than BSA can.

 

The problem is not whether or not girls can survive in a BSA program, it's whether or not BSA can survive becoming just another rather expensive generic youth program than can be found elsewhere at far less cost.  I hear it already in today's society.  We don't go to Sea Base or Philmont because it's too expensive.  When I go to BWCA I don't go through BSA, we do it cheaper on our own. Let's see, the choices this summer are Space Camp, Computer Camp, Church Camp or BSA Camp?  That's a lot of competition to be up against.  The uniqueness of BSA being an all-boys camp is now gone.

 

I'm not against BSA going co-ed, I'm against BSA losing sight of it's uniqueness in the process.

Edited by Stosh

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