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mrkstvns

Girls in Boy Scouts in the News (and in recruiting numbers)...

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8 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

Perhaps the people who seem gloom and doom in girls saying "Scout Me In" will end up seeing that all their hype was much ado about nothing.

 

And perhaps it was ado about something.

I'm sure there are girls who genuinely want to do boy scout oriented activities but they are more the exception than the norm. I'm sure there are also a lot of other girls joining right now because of the hype and hoopla of girls in the boy scouts, and perhaps because they or their parents want to virtue signal in some way...after their first real camping trip, those girls in the latter, and their moms, though may decide that boy scouts really isn't quite their cup of tea...

I don't think the numbers will be there in the long term to make Scout Me In viable...just my prediction

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51 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

 

That isn't sexist. It's the truth. I roll my eyes when folks suggest "fixing the girl Scouts." A majority of the girls involved in Girl Scouts, and their professional leadership are happy with how things are. Therefore, there's nothing to "fix". If making the Girl Scout program more outdoors-centric would halt the GSUSA's membership declines, they'd have already done it. 

That doesn't mean there aren't any girls out there that want to hike and camp like Boy Scouts do, and that's why we now have Scouts BSA as an option for them. 

Both of my daughters are girl scouts.  Their programs seem to max out around the end of elementary school.  What I generally see in Girl Scouts is either:
1) a multi-level troop for all ages.  1st graders through high school.  High schoolers are non-existent.

2) a single age troop where the leaders are consistent from the beginning.  Some make the elementary to high school transition fine, but others seem to die off.  I suspect it's because some leaders who were great in 4th grade are not great with sophmores in high school.

I tihnk this is the genius of the BSA system.  You hit Scouts BSA and everything is new again.  SImilarly, many of the leaders are different.  Those leaders who were great at the Bear level may or may not decide that being a Scoutmaster is for them.  Similarly we have great Scoutmasters who would be awful wolf den leaders.

So I'm not so sure that the GSUSA pros are right so much as they are beholden to their system and making the best of it.

BTW - my daughter's GSUSA troos is like my #1 above.  So much so that I'm considering planting the idea of also joining a Scouts BSA troop soon.

 

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1 minute ago, SSF said:

And perhaps it was ado about something.

I'm sure there are girls who genuinely want to do boy scout oriented activities but they are more the exception than the norm. I'm sure there are also a lot of other girls joining right now because of the hype and hoopla of girls in the boy scouts, and perhaps because they or their parents want to virtue signal in some way...after their first real camping trip, those girls in the latter, and their moms, though may decide that boy scouts really isn't quite their cup of tea...

I don't think the numbers will be there in the long term to make Scout Me In viable...just my prediction

Respectfully, I think this changed with Title IX (requiring equal access to sports for both genders).  My daugher and her friends are much more liekly to be outdoor oriented than girls of my generation.  I tihnk a lot of that comes from the fact that for their whole lives we've been exposing girls to the same sets of activities as boys.  

Beyond that, the advancement system in Scouts BSA seems to be a great fit with modern girls.  My high school daughter's favorite class is engineering.  She gets bored that her GSUSA troop doesn't work on badges anymore.  

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2 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

Grade school activities have changed dramatically over the last 15-20 years.  In my Tiger den, half the youth are signed up for weekly ski lessons (in Wisconsin); most have at least 1 organized travel sport... some have two.  Add in a martial art and a musical instrument for a few.  Parents are already starting to cut activities by 2nd and 3rd grade.... they are not looking to add.  It would be interesting if there are successful packs who only started recruiting in 2nd or 3rd grade.

True.  It would be interesting to learn.  Another view is that kids can try baseball and other soccer and other things when they are younger.  But then when they want something fresh, they can start with knives and fire and archery and bbguns in second grade. 

I'm not sure the right answer.  But I do strongly question the idea of cub scouts in kindergarten just to avoid losing the second grade recruiting.   

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10 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Respectfully, I think this changed with Title IX (requiring equal access to sports for both genders).  My daugher and her friends are much more liekly to be outdoor oriented than girls of my generation.  I tihnk a lot of that comes from the fact that for their whole lives we've been exposing girls to the same sets of activities as boys.  

I was sitting with my 5 month old grandson and his beautiful mother last week just chit chatting about her new life experiences. In the discussion, she told me, "you are right dad, boy are different from girls, even at 5 months."

Girls do have more freedom than ever to make their own choices, but our culture has overstepped it's bounds and force equality against nature. Nature always wins in the long run. 

Barry

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, fred8033 said:

I'm not sure the right answer.  But I do strongly question the idea of cub scouts in kindergarten just to avoid losing the second grade recruiting.   

We have had numerous current Scouts that basically stopped Cubs during 3rd or 4th grade and then they joined the troop when we crossed over Webelos to Scouts in the spring.  The feedback was the boys were just tired of the Cub program, seemed to be the same things over and over.  The Boys were ready for the freedom of Boy Scouts, being able to chart their course.  In many cases the parents were weary of it also.

Much bigger difference between kindergarten and 5th graders and what they can do as compared to the spread of activities for 6th graders to juniors in High School. 

BSA has, I guess, determined short term gain (more numbers for the councils) is better than long term members.

Edited by Jameson76

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22 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I was sitting with my 5 month old grandson and his beautiful mother last week just chit chatting about her new life experiences. In the discussion, she told me, "you are right dad, boy are different from girls, even at 5 months."

Girls do have more freedom than ever to make their own choices, but our culture has overstepped it's bounds and force equality against nature. Nature always wins in the long run. 

Barry

I fully agree that boys & girls are different.  I have two daughters and a son - I've seen that myself.

Somehow we think that the kinds of activities we do in Scouts BSA are particularly suited to boys.  I just don't see that in my experience.  Take for example the eight methods - which of those do you think a girl wouldn't enjoy as much as a boy?  What I would suggest is that when many of us were kids, girls were not exposed to many of those same activities.  As such, by the time they hit middle school they felt uncomfortable in them and so didn't want to participate.  

From what I've seen the distinction today is often more "how" than "what".  Girls like many of the same kinds of things as boys - but they may approach it differently.  That's what I expect we'll see in our girl troops as they grow in our district.  They'll do many (and perhaps all) of the same things, but they will take a fresh look at how they do some of them.  By fresh look I don't mean changing requirements - but approaches on things like organziation, problem solving, or how they interact wiht each other to accomplish them,

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11 hours ago, SSF said:

I'm sure there are girls who genuinely want to do boy scout oriented activities but they are more the exception than the norm...

These days, I wouldn't be so sure about that. I've been watching a lot of hiking videos/documentaries lately and did some research into demographics of hikers, in particular thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail, and the demographics are something around 1/3 of those who complete the 2,000+ mile trek are women. That's up significantly since the early 2000s when that number was closer to 20%.

Backpacking seems like a pretty scout-oriented activity, and 1/3 certainly isn't a small group. Recent reports from the Outdoor Industry Association suggest that 47% of Americans who went camping in recent years were female.

I wonder if the idea that girls/women don't want to do scout-like things is at all related to simply the visibility of females in these sorts of activities in past decades. Today's demographics would certainly seem to suggest that woman have a significant interest in doing outdoorsy things like camping and backpacking. So where else could this notion of females being "the exception" be coming from if the data just doesn't support that?

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https://members.scouts.org.uk/supportresources/4618/gender?cat=377,786&moduleID=10

 

Quote

The Scout Association is committed to supporting all young people reach their full potential and become confident, responsible citizens. Girls have been members of The Scout Association for over 40 years, with all Sections becoming co-educational in 2007. Today, girls and women account for over 25% of the total membership and Scouting is the largest mixed youth organisation in the UK. 

That's from the UK scouting association. Roughly a 3:1 ratio of boys to girls. I don't know that those of us strongly in favor of these changes expect to reach 1:1, generally I expect it to end up at something like 2:1 for a variety of reasons. 

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17 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Somehow we think that the kinds of activities we do in Scouts BSA are particularly suited to boys.  I just don't see that in my experience.  Take for example the eight methods - which of those do you think a girl wouldn't enjoy as much as a boy?  What I would suggest is that when many of us were kids, girls were not exposed to many of those same activities.  As such, by the time they hit middle school they felt uncomfortable in them and so didn't want to participate. 

I didn't say that and sadly that is the argument folks want to use to force their way. While the activities are the same, growth from the activities is different depending on age and maturity. To even suggest separating genders to get the most growth out the same activities is viewed as sexist. So, the result of the program mediocrity. 

Barry

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11 hours ago, ParkMan said:

... My daughter and her friends are much more likely to be outdoor oriented than girls of my generation.  I think a lot of that comes from the fact that for their whole lives we've been exposing girls to the same sets of activities as boys.  ...

Go back a generation or two further, and you will find girls were more outdoor oriented. (It was GS grandmas who encouraged me to get my Crew rolling.) Go to other cultures, and we may find girls are very outdoor oriented ... sometimes more than boys. That doesn't mean there is no role differentiation. For example, girls in rural Africa carry the wood and build the fires -- while boys learn to throw rocks at poisonous snakes.

What we find is that the GS/USA adopted a program that had female baby boomers adapting to the conveniences of modern technology. The outdoors became optional. This was passed on to daughters. Being optional, it could no longer be a guaranteed method in every unit. When BSA did something like that in the 70s, scouters pushed back, and we avoided the abandonment of the concept of a first class scout. Meanwhile, the mall girl/arcade boy culture set in, and many youth who dared the wilderness felt a grim culture shock, but this impacted more girls than boys.

My conclusion: the sex-specific preference for the outdoors method is purely cultural. And (where I disagree with @Eagledad), sex segregation at a national level has done more harm than good. There are times when boys and girls should be camping together and times when they should be at a distance, and that can be better managed at a unit level.

17 minutes ago, malraux said:

... from the UK scouting association. Roughly a 3:1 ratio of boys to girls. I don't know that those of us strongly in favor of these changes expect to reach 1:1, generally I expect it to end up at something like 2:1 for a variety of reasons. 

Unless BSA concedes to fully coed troops, I would be surprised if we get a girl for every 5 boys.

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17 hours ago, fred8033 said:

If you did not have Lion and Tiger ranks, troops would be much more healthy.

  • You would only need 72 cub scouts for a health troop size with a 85% retention
  • You would only need 118 cub scouts for a health troop size with a 75% retention

My assumption is the BSA learned that if you don't engage them while they are in K or 1st grade, you can easily lose them to other activities and commitments.

With so many sports now starting in K and 1st grade (soccer and even wrestling come to mind), I think BSA has little choice to offer options at the ages when families are making these commitments.

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6 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I didn't say that and sadly that is the argument folks want to use to force their way. While the activities are the same, growth from the activities is different depending on age and maturity. To even suggest separating genders to get the most growth out the same activities is viewed as sexist. So, the result of the program mediocrity. 

Barry

I stand corrected.  My apologies. Didn't intend to misquote.

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46 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

My assumption is the BSA learned that if you don't engage them while they are in K or 1st grade, you can easily lose them to other activities and commitments.

With so many sports now starting in K and 1st grade (soccer and even wrestling come to mind), I think BSA has little choice to offer options at the ages when families are making these commitments.

That would be the solution, but that sadly that was not the problem.  Challenge was not engagement, the real issue BSA wanted to solve was pool of applicants.  If your program is for 3rd - 5th graders then you have an X number of potential participants.  By adding 2nd grade, then 1st grade, then Kindergarten the organization basically doubled the pool of participants. 

The issue is retaining members, their (BSA Dallas) solution is to make the pool bigger, not solve or work on retaining members.  It is fairly simple, PROGRAM, do FUN stuff.  Make it ENGAGING.  Look at the merit badges in Boy Scouts.  Literally the FIRST requirement is basically hazards and risk mitigation.  In no way am I saying we should not be cognizant of that, but there are ways to communicate in a less tedious manner.  You can give a brief safety review, then go do stuff, and as you progress work with youth on how to do it in the proper and safe way.  I was at one district event, there was literally a 30 minute safety meeting and basically we were camping and it was cold.  This type of mindset, fear of risk, hampers many units.  What they are doing is not that inherently risky, but they go down the rabbit hole of "safe" programming and it is bland.  Also for our unit, that may have been the last district event we went to, better to be out in the world on our own.

Fast forward to 2017, need more members....double the pool size and add girls.  BSA needs to spend more time understanding retention and promoting OUTDOOR PROGRAM, then if you build it they will come.

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1 hour ago, malraux said:

https://members.scouts.org.uk/supportresources/4618/gender?cat=377,786&moduleID=10

 

That's from the UK scouting association. Roughly a 3:1 ratio of boys to girls. I don't know that those of us strongly in favor of these changes expect to reach 1:1, generally I expect it to end up at something like 2:1 for a variety of reasons. 

The interesting thing for me is that as you go through the UK sections, the proportion of girls goes up

2018 census gender ratios:

Beavers (aged 6-8) it's 81:19
Cubs (aged 8-10) it's 80:20
Scouts (10-14) it's 75:25
Explorers (14-18) it's 68:32
Network (18-25) it's 63:37

I don't know what to read into that, but my gut feel is boys are sent to Beavers, and as girls find their voice, say "I want to go to Cubs/Scouts/Explorers/Network" increasingly.

Last year we had 18 girls and 24 boys on our Explorer summer camp.

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