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Article from Backpacker Magazine "The Trouble With Girls in Boy Scouts"

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An interesting perspective.  Assume there is more behind the article than just a puff piece

Seems Backpacker Magazine is not in on the whole "this is the best thing ever" party train

  • But six months later, as the organization draws flak from Girl Scouts, the future of young women in the BSA is still murky.
  • Cub Scout packs still don’t have to let girls join
  • Even in co-ed packs, all dens (the sub-units of the group that do most of their activities together) will remain single-gender.

 

A number for quotes from the  Family Engagement Officer for Girl Scouts of the USA, also apparently not a fan

  • BSA isn’t really doing much to appeal to the interests and needs of girls, and has not demonstrated any interest in serving their specific needs
  • They will be keeping the organizational name, Boy Scouts of America, and therein asking girls who join to give up part of their identity
  • BSA has made no public statement that indicates that they intend to alter their programming in any way to serve girls.

https://www.backpacker.com/stories/the-trouble-with-girls-in-boy-scouts?utm_source=basecampnewsletter&utm_medium=email

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I have a number of issues with that article, lol.  It pretty much sounds like Girl Scouts being bitter, more than the magazine not being in on the whole idea.  Although, on reflection, maybe they're not, since they published this.

This part is funny to me.  "Even with Cub Scout dens remaining single-gender, Girl Scouts leaders are not confident the Boy Scouts will be able to offer adequate programming for girls. According to Archibald, BSA has made no public statement that indicates that they intend to alter their programming in any way to serve girls."

The whole reason my daughter didn't want to be involved with Girl Scouts was because she didn't like the program.  She just joined a Venturing Crew, and is looking forward to following the outdoor-based program offered - something we couldn't find through our local Girl Scouts.  Interestingly, there are two crews near us; one co-ed and one all-girl and when she found out there was an all-girl option, she didn't want to even visit the co-ed group.

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3 minutes ago, swilliams said:

It pretty much sounds like Girl Scouts being bitter, more than the magazine not being in on the whole idea.

I agree.  In particular the GSUSA national organization being bitter.

It will be interested to see what happens to both organizations when the girls vote with their feet.

 

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Our pack still hasn't had more than one, or maybe two, inquiries from girls.  This whole issue is, for now, a moot point for us. I'm following the issue through this forum, though, so that if/when it does come up I'll have seen what has been working for others.

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The article doesn't have a new viewpoint or any deep perspective.  It's just re-hashing a summary of very high level issues.  In some ways, it reminds me of political coverage when newspapers follow who's in the lead instead of following issues.  

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All organizations have a choice in how they respond to competitive threats.  If you are confident in your program and see yourself as a market leader you rarely have to try and trash the competition and can simply emphasize your own brand.  GSUSA is clearly not confident in their brand/product and must resort to attacking the BSA program.  I certainly hope they are planning on focusing inward to see how they can retain and attract more girls to their program vs attempting to scare them away from the BSA.  

I’m not stating BSA is without flaws and I wish the organizations could work together but this continued line of attack from GSUSA won’t play well as soon as you see more and more girls in BSA.  I think BSA should stay consistent... we have a great program that works for all youth.  There is no need to modify the program for girls.  

In my small sample size, 7 girls joined my Pack who are also members of GSUSA and 5 are planning on dropping their GSUSA membership.  So far my daughter is one of about 2 who plan to return to GSUSA and that is not firm. The Pack/Den model is really tough to compete with.... too much is put on the shoulders of each GSUSA Troop Leader.

 

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3 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

All organizations have a choice in how they respond to competitive threats.  If you are confident in your program and see yourself as a market leader you rarely have to try and trash the competition and can simply emphasize your own brand.  GSUSA is clearly not confident in their brand/product and must resort to attacking the BSA program.  I certainly hope they are planning on focusing inward to see how they can retain and attract more girls to their program vs attempting to scare them away from the BSA.  

I’m not stating BSA is without flaws and I wish the organizations could work together but this continued line of attack from GSUSA won’t play well as soon as you see more and more girls in BSA.  I think BSA should stay consistent... we have a great program that works for all youth.  There is no need to modify the program for girls.  

I don’t know Eagle93, National has admitted they brought in girls to save the program from a declining membership. Switch the BSA and GSUSA titles around and your post would be just as believable. The BSA membership numbers have been dropping for many years. Once the influx of girls is stable, National has done nothing I can see that prevents the return of a continued membership decline. 

A good marketing slogan for the BSA in this moment could be: “Join the BSA, the lesser of two evils”.

Barry

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@Eagledad

I don’t see the BSA ever negatively commenting directly about any other program.  In fact, I’ve seen them in interviews stating positive things about 4H, GSUSA, etc.  I agree they are adding girls to deal with declining membership but I don’t see them attacking other programs (at least publicly).  

I’m not arguing against your other points, and there are definite concerns that membership will still decline.  

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19 hours ago, Jameson76 said:
  • BSA isn’t really doing much to appeal to the interests and needs of girls, and has not demonstrated any interest in serving their specific needs
  •  
  • BSA has made no public statement that indicates that they intend to alter their programming in any way to serve girls.

 

I have been told repeatedly by scouters in favor of this new change, both online and in person, that boys and girls are the same and the program doesn't need to change to meet the needs of girls or boys, because those needs are the same. 

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18 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

All organizations have a choice in how they respond to competitive threats.  If you are confident in your program and see yourself as a market leader you rarely have to try and trash the competition and can simply emphasize your own brand.  GSUSA is clearly not confident in their brand/product and must resort to attacking the BSA program.  I certainly hope they are planning on focusing inward to see how they can retain and attract more girls to their program vs attempting to scare them away from the BSA.  

I’m not stating BSA is without flaws and I wish the organizations could work together but this continued line of attack from GSUSA won’t play well as soon as you see more and more girls in BSA.  I think BSA should stay consistent... we have a great program that works for all youth.  There is no need to modify the program for girls.  

In my small sample size, 7 girls joined my Pack who are also members of GSUSA and 5 are planning on dropping their GSUSA membership.  So far my daughter is one of about 2 who plan to return to GSUSA and that is not firm. The Pack/Den model is really tough to compete with.... too much is put on the shoulders of each GSUSA Troop Leader.

 

Quite a few of the GSUSA leaders I know (and most of them say 'leave our girls alone') admit that the GSUSA National PR push against BS4G makes them uncomfortable and looks bad. 

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17 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

@Eagledad

I don’t see the BSA ever negatively commenting directly about any other program.  In fact, I’ve seen them in interviews stating positive things about 4H, GSUSA, etc.  I agree they are adding girls to deal with declining membership but I don’t see them attacking other programs (at least publicly).  

I’m not arguing against your other points, and there are definite concerns that membership will still decline.  

I think this is a wise policy to act confident and magnanimous towards other youth scouting programs. Getting nasty will only hurt the BSA brand name.

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21 minutes ago, Gwaihir said:

I have been told repeatedly by scouters in favor of this new change, both online and in person, that boys and girls are the same and the program doesn't need to change to meet the needs of girls or boys, because those needs are the same. 

I think any pressure to change the program for girls, how ill advised, may come from local units. The only question will be if the District-Council-National structure will reinforce the stated rules or cave to pressure. Too early to worry about that for me.

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48 minutes ago, Gwaihir said:

I have been told repeatedly by scouters in favor of this new change, both online and in person, that boys and girls are the same and the program doesn't need to change to meet the needs of girls or boys, because those needs are the same. 

As a parent who has raised both genders,  I beg to differ.  

They both need equal amounts of love, care, and discipline.  But epual and identical are two different things.

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26 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

I think any pressure to change the program for girls, how ill advised, may come from local units. The only question will be if the District-Council-National structure will reinforce the stated rules or cave to pressure. Too early to worry about that for me.

So far I have had to make minimal changes.  One is to modify gender language on the fly.  So in some cases an adventure would have me read something about “boys” and I would insert “girls” or “scouts”.  The other is to be prepared with more adventure content.  That could be due to the smaller den size or that the girls are a bit more focused at this age.  

The other area I have watched for is interactions between boys and girls.  That will be a new dynamic but again shouldn’t require a change to the program.

For the life of me I have no idea what else would have to change.  I would be interested in specifics on what modification would be sought for girls.

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2 minutes ago, Oldscout448 said:

As a parent who has raised both genders,  I beg to differ.  

They both need equal amounts of love, care, and discipline.  But epual and identical are two different things.

What specific changes do you think would be necessary for girls?  

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