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Jameson76

Concerns with coed rules, leadership, liability

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11 minutes ago, cocomax said:

My other question is why do the boys feel this way?  I honestly do not know.  Are most boys fine with girls joining and the boys in our troop just strange, I don't know.

My assumption is that it is cultural.

My son indicated he would be fine with his sister in scouts and there are two other fathers of daughters who also have sons in my son's patrol and both of them indicated they were strongly on-board with the change - yet my female cousin, who was Scoutmaster for a troop in another state, along with my other female cousin (same state as the Scoutmaster), strongly objected to the change. I used to live in their state so I can understand why culturally it would be less acceptable to change gender norms in this manner. I probably would feel that way too if I still lived there.

Don't discount peer pressure to feel one way or another too.

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1 minute ago, Jameson76 said:

We have had some accelerated rank movements recently also.

We did have a question come up (Greenbar or troop meeting, cannot 100% recall) that was basically will we have to have girls in the troop?  Our response to the scouts was that Scout troops would not be coed, that there would be Female troops and Male troops, that based on information we had, girls could not in fact join our troop.  There was a follow-up question as to whether the CO was going to start a girls troop.  Our feedback on that was we did not know.  Our plan was to continue program as we had for the last 30+ years.  If a BSA4G started it would be like the Girl Scout troop at the church, they would do their thing and we would do ours.

Luckily no one asked about the two summer camps we go to each summer and what would be the impact there in 2019.  Guess that planing horizon is too far out.  I have talked with folks from both camps (not the SE or pros but volunteers and summer staff that do the actual work) and literally there are zero plans in place on what to do;  waterfront changing rooms, shower houses, campsite assignments, troops sharing sites etc etc etc.  Just from an infrastructure point not sure how some councils will pull it off

I think most camps have already had female adults and staff attend, so they should not be entirely unprepared. 

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21 minutes ago, cocomax said:

The real question is when the girls join the troops and we go co-ed, will the boys stick around?  Will the boys still find it fun?  As leaders we can do everything right, but if the boys are not having fun they will leave.   I don't talk to the boys in our troop about the girls joining, but they know from the news and guys at school teasing them about it and I have overheard them talking about it and they all have decided to walk away if it happens.  My other question is why do the boys feel this way?  I honestly do not know.  Are most boys fine with girls joining and the boys in our troop just strange, I don't know.

This is what I don't get. Maybe, if they give it a go, and everyone approaches it in a positive manner, then it could easily still be fun, and they don't need to give up something they enjoy at all. "Leaving" is the same as "giving up", surely there's something in the scout law about that. After all, Venture Crews have fun right? My Explorer Scouts have fun too. The girls will probably surprise them, I'd imagine the first intake are going to be super keen, what's not to like about that? To leave without giving it a go seems, well, what would you say if a kid didn't want to try rock climbing in case they were scared of heights, but didn't know if they were? You'd encourage, cajole, enthuse, be positive. Why is it different with girls?

Of course, the kids will see through a leader that doesn't believe in what he's selling in about two seconds flat.

And they're only working off rumours and supposition, why not wait and see what really happens? 

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2 minutes ago, WisconsinMomma said:

I think most camps have already had female adults and staff attend, so they should not be entirely unprepared. 

Yes they in fact do have some facilities.  However in a camp of say 500 (youth, staff, and leaders) maybe 5% were female and all were adults or staff who typically utilize leader/adult facilities.  Same with female leaders in camping sites, again a smaller number and all adults.

Now you will have youth.  Most BSA type shower houses have a group area, restrooms and showers for the youth.  Yes there are stalls for showers and toilets, but still a "group" shower house.  Some camps for the shower house only have adult and youth sides.  The female bathhouse may be in another area.  

In campsites many camps have troops share a site to better use facilities and balance space.  Now you will have Girl Troops and Boy troops, that is likely manageable from an admin.  Challenge may be Coed / Boy / Girl, could be an interesting game of campsite puzzle filling

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3 minutes ago, ianwilkins said:

 "Leaving" is the same as "giving up", surely there's something in the scout law about that.

Interesting to put in something about the Scout law.  IMHO while in theory correct, the challenge is that this is not what many of the Boys and Leaders signed up for.  BSA National has substantially changed the rules of the game.  To put out that if one does not support this one is not upholding the Scout Oath and Law is not really accurate

If you agree to be involved in something (job / purchase / volunteer), are committed and then someone from outside what you are doing says you have to do that plus all this other stuff, that changes what you agreed to get involved with and by that same token, your interest.  If you agree to buy a house, then as you go to purchase you learn that the current owner is going to continue to store stuff in the back yard and access that for his business, you may walk away as that may not be what you signed up for.

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44 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

Depends on how it works for each unit.  For example our Charter Org sponsors 1 Pack, 2 Troops, and 1 Crew.  The Troops each have their own trailer and QMs,  The Crew is mostly backpack based so no trailer needed.  We also don't camp on the same weekends typically so if equipment needed to be shared, we could do it, but that might be hard to maintain long term.

How much of that coordination is up to the boys. The reason I ask is that when I was SPL I had a hard enough time getting my 70 scouts and families to get together as a troop. I cpuldnt imagine getting a whole second troop, pack and crew to coordinate. Sounds like adults are involved  to a certain extent laying out the schedule and then the boys fill in around it?

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5 minutes ago, Back Pack said:

How much of that coordination is up to the boys. The reason I ask is that when I was SPL I had a hard enough time getting my 70 scouts and families to get together as a troop. I cpuldnt imagine getting a whole second troop, pack and crew to coordinate. Sounds like adults are involved  to a certain extent laying out the schedule and then the boys fill in around it?

The initial decision about which was the standard campout weekend was equal between the boys and adults, as we had some that were dual registered between units.  For coordinating, it is possible, we have camped serveral times with another troop and it worked out well.  Get the SPLs and SMs communicating and the SPLs figure out a plan that works.  The adults help by informing the PLC about the potential opportunity and the PLC decides if they want to take advantage of it.

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20 minutes ago, cocomax said:

The real question is when the girls join the troops and we go co-ed, will the boys stick around?  Will the boys still find it fun?  As leaders we can do everything right, but if the boys are not having fun they will leave.   I don't talk to the boys in our troop about the girls joining, but they know from the news and guys at school teasing them about it and I have overheard them talking about it and they all have decided to walk away if it happens.  My other question is why do the boys feel this way?  I honestly do not know.  Are most boys fine with girls joining and the boys in our troop just strange, I don't know.

All three of my boys think this is a major mistake. Youngest commented on what happened when one boys only  group merged with the girls only group: it got boring and the combined group stopped meeting.

Wife, who was a Venturing leader, has mixed emotions. Glad girls will have the same opportunities, but also sees how this will hurt the boys in the long term. There is no place for boys to be boys anymore.

My troop will be coed no matter what national says. SM, ASM, and several MCs have daughters who have dropped out and/or are bored with GSUSA. One daughter is only in GSUSA to get Gold Award, and dad cannot wait for her to get Eagle as well. Plus as many know, my troop is "family friendly" allowing families, including Cub age sons, to attend any and all camp outs.

I don't know what my sons will do. Oldest is Life and has stated he wants to stay with the troop and try and change it from the inside. I honestly do not know if that is possible anymore. The adults have taken over, and are only giving lip service to Scout run. Best examples include the recent tent and gear purchases, and now the troop's fundraising schedule. Everything is already planned for the next 3 months, but the adults are meeting with the Scouts tonight to get ideas for fundraising. He's not happy about it. He thinks adding girls will cause the troop to become even more adult led.

Middle son had the opportunity to see how a "youth run" troop works at an Eagle COH this weekend. I use "...." because the Eagle had his friends do the various parts of the ceremony. Several were in the 18-21 year old range. He's getting frustrated with the troop after a year being in it. He's tired of the Scouts not doing what they are suppose to do, the adults taking over, as well as folks advancing who really shouldn't be. Yes, we have 2 Scouts whose parents are pushing them, and are "sea lawyering' to get requirements signed off. He knows other troops are out there. In addition to more adults being involved, his concern is that the girls will cause the troop to have even fewer adventurous camp outs. He is not happy that all of te camp outs at the moment, except summer camp and the AT, are places we have been before and within an hour of out meeting location.

 

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My concern about the reality not matching is when we parrot the BSA company line about being separate and not 'co-ed' Troops BUT what happens (because of either policy change, wink-wink on paper units, or the exhaustion of leaders) is when we get 'co-ed' Troops WE will face the significant loss of trust. 

Some of the boys sitting in a "Life to Eagle" session recently I doubt they will finish before 2019 hits. They will have to make their decisions then....

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1 hour ago, Back Pack said:

What about gear. I really think sometimes people don’t think through what this means. My troop had a hard enough time managing all our stuff and barely had space for what we had. And my unit leaders already gave a ton of time to us I cannot imagine them taking more time for a second unit. That’s a lot to ask. 

 

54 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I asked myself about gear the first time half my crew (i.e. the girls) wanted to backpack. Then all of a sudden packs and other gear got handed down, dropped off, or left on the curb for me to grab - even from the gnarliest curmudgeons. I still see some of those packs in circulation on the backs of cross-overs!

Gear and logistics is not an inconsequential issue in a 70+ Scout unit. The amount of effort to put out a call for gear for a second unit is a substantial effort. I was SM when our unit did a gear drive for a local unit that had its gear and trailer stolen, and it was a monumental effort for the boys to handle alone. Even with adults assisting it was a rough go.

Another good point is sharing leaders. I don't know about you lot, but when I was SM I was already ploughing in a good 20+ hours a week in to our troop. I have started up units before and I know what the time commitment is for that too. If I was asked to also head up another unit I'd pass. If it was "required" of me I'd step down from my post. Why? When I took this role it was to run a Boy Scout unit and not two Scout units.

For those who can do that successfully -- and keep the quality of their program up AND adhere to the patrol method, delivery exacting leadership training, etc., -- more power to you. That's a bridge too far for me.

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45 minutes ago, WisconsinMomma said:

I think most camps have already had female adults and staff attend, so they should not be entirely unprepared. 

Having a handful of women attend a summer camp and having several hundred women attend a summer camp are not the same thing. 

Any given summer our local camp has maybe 25-30 women in camp. The highest number of female staff we'd ever had was 15, so that's less than 50 women. Male Scouts and adults were around 500+. The difficulty even in this environment were the shower and toilet facilities. The camp's shower/latrine facilities contain both the latrines and the showers in the same common access area, thus making it impossible for adults to share a facility with the youth so adults were on one side (with their latrines and showers) and youth were on the other (with their latrines and showers).

Of course, adults had to share the facilities with the opposite sex. The youth didn't. Since there were so few women in camp it was easy to share those facilities.

Now imagine if there are female units and male units. That would make things a bit more difficult because this camp will now want to put female units in one area and male units in the other in order to make sharing the facilities less time-consuming. Female units would be sharing the facilities with other female units (and I imagine a few male adult leaders if they are allowed to even be around female units). Same with male units; they would share with other male units and adults would share with the opposite sex.

Now imagine there are coed units. Both youth and adults would have to share facilities. I have seen this attempted and it does not work on a large scale.

I *do* believe many camps are entirely unprepared for women depending on how such issues are addressed.

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3 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

Having a handful of women attend a summer camp and having several hundred women attend a summer camp are not the same thing. 

Any given summer our local camp has maybe 25-30 women in camp. The highest number of female staff we'd ever had was 15, so that's less than 50 women. Male Scouts and adults were around 500+. The difficulty even in this environment were the shower and toilet facilities. The camp's shower/latrine facilities contain both the latrines and the showers in the same common access area, thus making it impossible for adults to share a facility with the youth so adults were on one side (with their latrines and showers) and youth were on the other (with their latrines and showers).

Of course, adults had to share the facilities with the opposite sex. The youth didn't. Since there were so few women in camp it was easy to share those facilities.

Now imagine if there are female units and male units. That would make things a bit more difficult because this camp will now want to put female units in one area and male units in the other in order to make sharing the facilities less time-consuming. Female units would be sharing the facilities with other female units (and I imagine a few male adult leaders if they are allowed to even be around female units). Same with male units; they would share with other male units and adults would share with the opposite sex.

Now imagine there are coed units. Both youth and adults would have to share facilities. I have seen this attempted and it does not work on a large scale.

I *do* believe many camps are entirely unprepared for women depending on how such issues are addressed.

This was brought up during our district meetings and the answers we were given included posting shower/changing room times (men vs women) and using port-o-johns until facilities are updated.  I tend to agree many camps are not ready, and councils will need answers as early as this summer for the girl cub scouts camps.

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We need a new term for the two separate but equal Troops with the same leadership-- are Troops that ignore the BSA guidance "Rosa Parks" Troops?

Are you going to be doing the same meeting time? Will the "ghost girl" Troop have its own SPL, etc --that will speed up that POR requirements! Or will the boys and girls just rotate in and out of the meetings? Extra Committee meetings but sharing the same equipment? What happens when Troop 50(male) wants to go with propane lanterns and Troop 50(female) wants solar powered? I can see a female Troop doing better with shared tents than a male Troop with their own. What happens when some boys forget their tent and 'borrow' a shared tent from the girls side of the Scout Hut?

What happens when both "Troops" camp at the same location and Troop 50(male) SPL and ASPL is absent because of a big game and instead of going to the senior most PL everyone defers to the Troop(female) SPL who did show up? What if one or the boys refuses to listen to her?...is he being insubordinate or following his chain of command? Anyone who had camped with a "fellow" Troop or a merged Troop at a Camp-o-ree has seen some of those issues (usually things sink to the lowest common denominator).

I am coming around the opinion shared by some on this board that (and completely aside from the issue of Girls in Boy Scouting is a good or bad idea) that National has painted themselves into a corner again...folks wanting full-gendered integration will be very unhappy with any separate but equal policy and push hard to end it quickly. Traditionalists that thought they had room to maintain a Boys Only unit will feel betrayed when National and their CO's cave or they stick to their guns and find themselves isolated and surrounded on social media? I suspect a lot will just withdraw until the dust clears and then drift away.

 

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40 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Interesting to put in something about the Scout law.  IMHO while in theory correct, the challenge is that this is not what many of the Boys and Leaders signed up for.  BSA National has substantially changed the rules of the game.  To put out that if one does not support this one is not upholding the Scout Oath and Law is not really accurate

If you agree to be involved in something (job / purchase / volunteer), are committed and then someone from outside what you are doing says you have to do that plus all this other stuff, that changes what you agreed to get involved with and by that same token, your interest.  If you agree to buy a house, then as you go to purchase you learn that the current owner is going to continue to store stuff in the back yard and access that for his business, you may walk away as that may not be what you signed up for.

 

It's not really the same though is it? Having been there at the start of Explorer Scouts in the UK when all sections went co-ed (as opposed to just Ventures previously), I've seen the type of girl that is brave enough to come along and be in a unit or troop with no other girls, they are more than happy to do everything that's expected of them, to do all the activities available to them, they want to throw themselves into it, they want to be part of it. Anyone suggesting the programme got watered down for them would have got very short shrift. So it didn't really change, if it doesn't really change, why stop doing it? And this is co-ed troops, and patrols, which you may not even have. I.e. stick around, see what happens, and then, if you're not enjoying it, leave, don't leave in case you're not going to enjoy it.

 

 

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