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Jameson76

Concerns with coed rules, leadership, liability

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I keeping hearing people say "Girl Scouts is boring",   why is Girl Scouts so boring?

When I was a scout in the 1970's I do not recall anyone calling the Girl Scouts boring, the Girl Scout camp near our Boy Scout camp was considered a forbidden place of mystery and wonder, the boys back then in my troop and summer camp held the Girl Scouts in a place of very high regard, girls that could be wonderful future wives.  Now in the current year, the boys in our troop think the Girl Scouts are cool, we cut and sell Christmas trees with the Girl Scouts we share a scout building with the Girl Scouts. 

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14 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

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.

The shower times are the easy part. But with our local camps having showers and laterines in the same area (literally sharing the same common area), what happens with the opposite sex needs to go urgently? The easiest way to handle that is having male facilities and female facilities, that way you only need to separate adults from youth and not add in separating by sex too.

So using my example above, there are four facilities in camp. Council would need to make two male and two female (or devise some ratio based on registration by week). My point being that in either case it will be much more time consuming that simply going to the facility closest to you. At least 50% of participants will have to trek to their nearest male or female facility. Like it or not, that adds time for these things which will now need to baked in to your program and logistics time.

Edited by Col. Flagg

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11 minutes ago, ianwilkins said:

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. 

According to the YPT rules being discussed here, the girl would not be able to do that in the US unless there was at least another female leader along on that trip.

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1 hour 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.

I don't think the boys in your troop are strange.  In this area, I would not be surprised to see boys opt out of the program when the girls are added.  Boy Scouts isn't exactly seen as the "cool" thing to do by today's youth.  Adding females to the program does not help combat the image that Boy Scouts has in this area of being made up of "weak" and "nerdy" kids.

My son earned Eagle and has aged out of the program, but he is not happy with where it is going.  I doubt his troop will become co-ed...  females were allowed to serve committee positions only, and were not allowed on camp outs.  He moved from a troop that allowed females to be Scout leaders and he preferred the all male leadership.

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1 hour ago, Col. Flagg said:

 

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.

@Col. Flagg, if somebody told me to take charge of a unit of 70+ youth, I'd tell them to go pound sand. The max I think I'd put up with is 40! That's all the more I've ever known. The more likely scenario is 5 girls knocking at my door. I know about 3 other women who I can trust to help start this BSA4G program without watering anything down. (I know more, but I'd have to convince them to find a job and relocate here.) While other CO's may let us use their facilities, my current CO would want those girls coming through their door, and my existing troop would want me to have both units coordinate with each other.

Well, let's say we actually have fun and actually attract 10 girls a year, the number of boys in the troop remain steady, and the PLC's decide they like working in lock-step -- a highly unlikely scenario, I think. Well in four years we have that unit of 70 that I had been dreading, and the frog's been boiled slowly.

If you're already at 70, you're probably getting 8-10 crossovers per year, and you may not have room to share with 8 BSA4G, let alone double your CO's capacity. Or, you might simply be a bigger frog!

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Regarding camp,  I wonder if a solution might be for camps to have all-girls' weeks set aside for female troops or patrols. So perhaps 5 weeks of summer are for males and one week is for females.  Might be an option -- I saw a camp that had one week set aside for LDS scouts only.   It will be interesting to see how camps plan and organize.  Of course there may also be opportunities for strategic campsite placement, etc.

As for supplies, I'll share a story from our youth hockey team.  One player's dad's truck was stolen with all the kids' hockey gear in it. The team and hockey club rallied to help and when we gathered an extra half hour early to help the kid, we had multiple pairs of skates, pads, sticks.. everything.  The stuff just showed up and was gladly volunteered when there was an urgent need to help a kid out.  I'd like to think that there are plenty of people who would help scouts in need of gear. 

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11 minutes ago, qwazse said:

@Col. Flagg, if somebody told me to take charge of a unit of 70+ youth, I'd tell them to go pound sand. The max I think I'd put up with is 40! That's all the more I've ever known.

In my area 70 Scouts is considered a "medium-sized" troop. When we go to summer camp with 40-45 Scouts people think we are large, then I tell them that's 60% of our unit and they gasp. We've been as high as 80. Our biggest "problem" is retention...we just seem to keep guys in an active status until they age out. Nice problem to have.

 

11 minutes ago, qwazse said:

The more likely scenario is 5 girls knocking at my door. I know about 3 other women who I can trust to help start this BSA4G program without watering anything down. (I know more, but I'd have to convince them to find a job and relocate here.) While other CO's may let us use their facilities, my current CO would want those girls coming through their door, and my existing troop would want me to have both units coordinate with each other.

Personally I would want the girls too, BUT I would want them for the Venturing Crew. Our meetings are activities unless we are planning a Tier II or III activity. It's more like a high adventure club, so we really don't need an active meeting location. We have 20 kids (12 girls, 8 guys). Getting gear is not a problem for a group that small.

 

11 minutes ago, qwazse said:

If you're already at 70, you're probably getting 8-10 crossovers per year, and you may not have room to share with 8 BSA4G, let alone double your CO's capacity. Or, you might simply be a bigger frog!

We average around 10-14 give or take. Been as high as 26. We manage incoming Scout against attrition from aging out. We'd never turn a boy away who is interested in joining.

I could not imagine our CO taking on a girl's unit. They have a troop, pack and crew and that's enough. I could not imagine our Boy Scout leaders doubling down and leading a girls unit as well. Even if it were just 20-30 girls, that's still a whole lot of time needed to spin things up, train folks and help identify leaders, etc. 

I keep thinking how much time we spend each year just getting 10-15 new families up and running each year. With a new girls unit that would continue for at least a two year period if not longer. Like I said, I have started units before and that's a TON of time to invest which, after the years I have put in, just won't happen.

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10 minutes ago, WisconsinMomma said:

Regarding camp,  I wonder if a solution might be for camps to have all-girls' weeks set aside for female troops or patrols. So perhaps 5 weeks of summer are for males and one week is for females.  Might be an option -- I saw a camp that had one week set aside for LDS scouts only.   It will be interesting to see how camps plan and organize.  Of course there may also be opportunities for strategic campsite placement, etc.

It is a nice idea but I can hear I can hear the complaining now. Why do girls only get one week? Why can't we get x week instead of y week? Not just from the girls but I imagine the boys as well. We hear it already when camps have partition weeks. This also assumes units are all one sex.

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8 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

It is a nice idea but I can hear I can hear the complaining now. Why do girls only get one week? Why can't we get x week instead of y week? Not just from the girls but I imagine the boys as well. We hear it already when camps have partition weeks. This also assumes units are all one sex.

Oh, there's always something to complain about, that's not new.

As for girls and troop size, it can go both ways -- oh, we're so small, we can't take girls!  and  oh,  we're so big, we can't take girls!   Whichever variation applies, I'm sure it will be used.

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2 hours 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.

I'd say a couple of things.....

I remember when the first girl came to my current group. Now fare enough this was with cubs rather than scouts but it went like this.... Comments had been made, mostly by adults, that it would be a disaster, that the boys wouldn't stick around, they wouldn't like it. 

On the night she came along I treated her exactly the same as any other new cub. I asked one of the sixers* to adopt her and take her into her six. I introduced her at flag break. Her name was Martha. And then we got on with the usual cub night. Nobody quit. She fitted in. And a couple of months later she was joined by further girls and no one batted an eyelid.

Nearly everyone I've heard of that has seen an all boy pack or troop or unit go coed has had exactly the same experience.

Then there is this photo. I like this photo. Taken on our 2016 summer camp. We'd had a day trip to seaworld in Brighton. This was taken as some had finished and were waiting for the stragglers to join them. A mixed groups of boys and girls just bonding together. It's on our website and used as the banner photo on our twitter feed.

Quite simply it works.

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1 hour ago, WisconsinMomma said:

Regarding camp,  I wonder if a solution might be for camps to have all-girls' weeks set aside for female troops or patrols. So perhaps 5 weeks of summer are for males and one week is for females.

This is the only summer camp option that I can see working. There will be a host of problems mixing genders during a week at summer camp (restrooms is the easiest one to solve). I am repelled by the idea of taking my troop to a co-ed summer camp. Even if I forced the issue, our Scouts would likely refuse to go. Frankly, these boys view summer camp as a week to get away from their sisters - not compete with them during a song-fest.

I have attended summer camp (multiple times) with my daughters, and I've even led some of their group hikes. I have also attended Boy Scout camp many times. The two experiences are vastly different (as anyone would expect from young teenage boys and young teenage girls). My son would hate the favorite camp activities of my daughters (and vice-versa). I can't believe this is not self-evident to everyone.

 

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If this is handled similar to how our council is handling Cub Scout camps (both day and overnight) there is no separate weeks for boys vs girls.  The council simply states that if you meet the age requirements and are registered them you can attend.  They’ll handle the added requirements due to multiple genders.

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4 minutes ago, gblotter said:

 

I have attended summer camp (multiple times) with my daughters, and I've even led some of their group hikes. I have also attended Boy Scout camp many times. The two experiences are vastly different (as anyone would expect from young teenage boys and young teenage girls). My son would hate the favorite camp activities of my daughters (and vice-versa). I can't believe this is not self-evident to everyone.

 

Several of us have been saying the same thing for several years, especially in the last year. But my opinion is that BSA is only focused on the new program. They are basically scrapping the idea of the traditional "Boy" Scouts and going full speed ahead of a Family Scouts program. It's a work as they go along type of development, but there is no doubt in my mind that they are driving toward that program. Someone said it earlier in this thread, but I have been saying it for a long time, the BSA only needs to look at the Canadian Scouts to see their future.

Barry 

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3 hours ago, cyphertext said:

I don't think the boys in your troop are strange.  In this area, I would not be surprised to see boys opt out of the program when the girls are added.

This is an entirely expected result. With politically-correct shaming, adult Scouters may be brow-beaten to ignore the obvious developmental differences between boys and girls. But that kind of coercion will not keep boys from just opting-out of Scouting altogether (as they are already doing in other parts of society). I predict Scouting will lose two boys for every new girl that enrolls. In the end, BSA will be a ghost of its former self - following in the disastrous path of co-ed Scouting in Canada. BSA National is rolling the dice, and the results on membership will be devastating - similar to the catastrophe of BSA's social experimentation during the 1970s when millions of boys walked away from Scouting in protest. Has it been so long that we can't remember and learn from these past mistakes?

Edited by gblotter
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Canada has 36,300,000 people, the USA has 323,100,000 people.  (Canada's population is 11% of the size of the USA population.)

BSA has 2,740,866 young people in the program, Canada has 63,000 young people in their scouting program.

0.8 % of people in the USA are youth members of the BSA

0.17% of  people in Canada are youth members of Canada scouts.

If BSA were as "successful" as Canada Scouts it would have 549,000 total youth members.  

Maybe BSA has been doing a lot of things correctly over the past years to have so much higher membership numbers than Canada. 

 

  

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