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

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6 minutes ago, Liz said:

I'm not seeing at all what you're seeing here, Barry. 

We've known for well over a year that a program was going to be released that would include girls in the full Scouting experience. They told us that long before the details had been worked out. We've known since I-don't-know-how-long what that program was going to look like... I don't remember when they finalized it but it's been at least since last Fall, or last Summer. That's been plenty of time to figure out what's happening and plan for it. And nothing is getting rammed down anybody's throat; no Troop is being required to form a troop for the girls to come alongside. Maybe there's something going on in your Council or District that isn't happening here, but certainly in my experience I'm seeing the vast majority of the existing Troops remain as stand-alone boy troops with only a handful of existing COs starting girl troops. 

There weren't as many details given as you imply and many of the details were conflicting by the different ways they were presented. National rammed it down the throat of the units as a whole because it came fast with little information preceding the changes. There certainly was no consensus from the unit level members because they weren't asked. At least not until after it was obvious the planned change was coming. 

It's not the first time National has made major changes in the program without much input from the membership, it's really kind of normal. But the impact of this change is so big and controversial that it highlights National's typical way of doing business.

Barry

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39 minutes ago, AltadenaCraig said:

I wonder if any Districts are holding separate boys' and girls' Camporees?  Some Districts won't yet have critical mass of girl patrols, I get that, but for those Districts that do have ample girl patrols has anyone heard of separate Camporees?

Venturing has been coed for years (and btw if shenanigans are the worry such would occur in Venturing, not in Scouts BSA, so that's not the issue), but I gather in Scouts BSA the thinking is the boys need their scouting experience and the girls need theirs.  Consequently Scouts BSA isn't organized like Little League - with girls & boys intermingled - but rather like recreational soccer, where identical games are run on side-by-side fields with only boys v boys or girls v girls games.  So should the goal eventually be separate Camporees?  Such would not only eliminate the Camporee bias, but would help ensure the boys get their scouting experience and the girls get theirs.

I saw one announcement on Bryan about a chess club hosting an event for Scouts BSA girls in a council. My council is clearly not interested in making separate events for girls. They aren't seeing the demand.

In terms of shenanigans ... the bitter truth around here is that middle school youth are a very high risk group. I learned very quickly as a crew advisor that that was the least of my worries with high school youth. Skills imbalance and uneven risk assessment were more palpable concerns.

Actual physiological differences that may motivate camporees for specific sexes? I'm having a hard time putting my finger on enough that would justify that kind of segregation. Scouts in general are a mix of athletic abilities in the first place. Scouting is more like volleyball or tennis clubs than soccer pitches. Even in youth soccer leagues, I found there were points where the girls and boys were asking to play in the same match -- either opposing one another or in mixed teams.

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24 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

The problem is the culture. ... The culture would build and reinforce the concepts through District activities like Camporee, Weboree, Cub Camps and so forth. 

I think we can start with some guidance & standards.

1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

...My blame starts with National.

I don't disagree and several previous posts in this thread underscore your point.  Some Camporees (such as our District's) are 100% adult-run.  Appears @cocomax is as well:

19 hours ago, cocomax said:

The camporee was set up so that the adults running the events ...

While @qwazse recalls 100% scout-lead:

18 hours ago, qwazse said:

My favorite camporees were run by JASMs. Adults might help set up etc ... but the youth allocated points, etc ...

Not to mention @Jameson76 point that points for subjective criteria such as "scout spirit" or enthusiasm and such are inviting trouble.

Bottom Line:  Has anyone seen "Best Practices" for Camporees published by any Area, or National?  Seems like all of us on this thread, including me, are winging it. 

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33 minutes ago, Liz said:

My daughter is already sad about not being able to do the same thing when she eventually crosses over - she doesn’t want to do separate Troops. But reality is that due to parent temperament I don’t think either of our boys is going to join Scouts BSA anyway - I’ll be surprised if they stick around for Webelos. The kids all love it but the parents are busy with other things so we’ll see. The girls are the ones whose parents make sure they show up pretty consistently to activities. 

I fear the same for my oldest who will cross over next year.  I don't know what girl troops exist, and I believe we are going to keep fight to allow our pack's partner troop to become co-ed.(seperate patrols perhaps, or what have you).  I think a lot of the camporee issues will be mitigated by having co-ed units.  As for shenanigans, I was a scout and participated in plenty of shenanigans growing up.  I'm not sure who didn't.  I think following YPT and such would mitigate that, though no one can really control what scouts do on their free time, and lets be honest, a girl troop and a boy troop wouldn't mitigate that much at a large jamboree, but there are tons of adults around, so I think those fears would be overblown.

It's a tricky thing, and there are bound to be growing pains.  At least it seems that camporees aren't too often.  I can count on one hand the number I went to as a scout, but maybe some go to way more.  I went to philmont, I went to camp, it was fun and we had a blast.  Certainly didn't care much about scoring when I was a scout.  Liz, I think we should work to find other packs like ours because I know there is strength in numbers.  I'm hoping to attend the national meeting (or at least a rep from our pack) armed with literature and our experiences so that we can perhaps reach some people who can affect change.  

I agree that separating camporees would be a logistical nightmare.  I'm likely on next years committee for our cub games, and I'll do my darnedest to advocate for fairness, though much of the scoring was arbitrary and controlled by the Scouts running the event, with the adults providing logistical support.  Hopefully we can instill in them the need for equal treatment.

Look, this doesn't need to be hard. 95% of my packs activities go off without a hitch with our On-paper separate dens.  The only time it comes up is at these multi-pack events where the district is there to force the rules. There would have been zero drama at our cubgames if our girls had of been left to be scored with the rest of the cubs at their level.  Heck, if we didn't check a box on a form indicating their gender, you wouldn't be able to tell if they were even girls when they're in uniform.  And that's the point.  They don't notice, they don't care and the boys in their dens view them the same.  If we separated them, it would foster division instead of unity. It would create way more animosity, and it's clear that's happening on a more national level.  Co ed dens are the easiest solution.  It might not work for all, but it sure as hell needs to be the official stance.

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3 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

There weren't as many details given as you imply and many of the details were conflicting by the different ways they were presented.

Barry

I guess we're just perceiving things very differently. I feel like we had PLENTY of information, and I don't know what else they were supposed to convey that they didn't. 

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5 minutes ago, dfg890 said:

I fear the same for my oldest who will cross over next year.  I don't know what girl troops exist, and I believe we are going to keep fight to allow our pack's partner troop to become co-ed.(seperate patrols perhaps, or what have you).  I think a lot of the camporee issues will be mitigated by having co-ed units.  As for shenanigans, I was a scout and participated in plenty of shenanigans growing up.  I'm not sure who didn't.  I think following YPT and such would mitigate that, though no one can really control what scouts do on their free time, and lets be honest, a girl troop and a boy troop wouldn't mitigate that much at a large jamboree, but there are tons of adults around, so I think those fears would be overblown.

It's a tricky thing, and there are bound to be growing pains.  At least it seems that camporees aren't too often.  I can count on one hand the number I went to as a scout, but maybe some go to way more.  I went to philmont, I went to camp, it was fun and we had a blast.  Certainly didn't care much about scoring when I was a scout.  Liz, I think we should work to find other packs like ours because I know there is strength in numbers.  I'm hoping to attend the national meeting (or at least a rep from our pack) armed with literature and our experiences so that we can perhaps reach some people who can affect change.  

I agree that separating camporees would be a logistical nightmare.  I'm likely on next years committee for our cub games, and I'll do my darnedest to advocate for fairness, though much of the scoring was arbitrary and controlled by the Scouts running the event, with the adults providing logistical support.  Hopefully we can instill in them the need for equal treatment.

Look, this doesn't need to be hard. 95% of my packs activities go off without a hitch with our On-paper separate dens.  The only time it comes up is at these multi-pack events where the district is there to force the rules. There would have been zero drama at our cubgames if our girls had of been left to be scored with the rest of the cubs at their level.  Heck, if we didn't check a box on a form indicating their gender, you wouldn't be able to tell if they were even girls when they're in uniform.  And that's the point.  They don't notice, they don't care and the boys in their dens view them the same.  If we separated them, it would foster division instead of unity. It would create way more animosity, and it's clear that's happening on a more national level.  Co ed dens are the easiest solution.  It might not work for all, but it sure as hell needs to be the official stance.

I'm sorry your District isn't supportive of how you're running your dens. Ours knows, understands, and is fine with it. They understand the challenges of running a program with very few kids in it. It would be different if we had 16 Bear Scouts, but we have 4 as our combined girl/boy total. If we were going to attend a district event we'd make sure in advance that they'd be allowed to function as a single den because otherwise they won't function at all. 

Maybe your CO would be open to starting a linked troop for the girls. I actually like this as an option because it allows the units to pick the advantages both of single gender and two-gender groups. Some activities can be planned jointly, and some activities can be planned separately, and it gives the members of each troop to experience youth leadership and the patrol method. 

The whole concern about shenanigans kind of makes me laugh. How long have boys and girls in general been going to school together through the teen years? Going to various non-scouting summer camps together? Going on class trips and church outings and mission trips and band camp and and and and and... some kids participate in shenanigans, and some don't, and that isn't going to change. Adults need to be diligent at keeping it to a minimum, and the more determined kids will do what they're going to do regardless of what safeguards the adults put into place. Just like they do in every other aspect of their lives. Maybe it will help to look back on when we were kids, and think about what we and/or our friends were up to, and own it as part of the growing-up experience, rather than cringe with dread. I'm not saying we should not be discouraging risky behavior, but maybe we should be a little more realistic about how much risky behavior we can really prevent and have some acceptance that mentoring youth is not without risk. 

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13 minutes ago, Liz said:

... some kids participate in shenanigans, and some don't, and that isn't going to change. Adults need to be diligent at keeping it to a minimum, and the more determined kids will do what they're going to do regardless of what safeguards the adults put into place. Just like they do in every other aspect of their lives. Maybe it will help to look back on when we were kids, and think about what we and/or our friends were up to, and own it as part of the growing-up experience...

Yep. The cliche that says "kids will be kids" is true.

I tried my best to child-proof my house, but those kids still manage to get in!

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, PinkPajamas said:

I don't think its fair to say people cheated, if the rules were "give this ribbon to whoever you want for whatever reason you want". There are all kinds of conscious and unconscious biases that come in to play but that's not cheating. 

I don't know if I'm more surprised by this comment you made or the fact that others actually support your position on this. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by either.

You've said that you believe its acceptable for judges to award competitors and determine order of finish (1st, 2nd, 3rd place etc.) irregardless of a patrol's actual performance...?

If the rules for this camporee did clearly state that's how judging was going to be conducted then you are technically correct and the girls did not cheat and the adults running the event were within their right to just give out awards to whoever they wanted to for no real valid reasons at all, but if that is the case then this camporee was a complete sham. I feel sorry for the boys, leaders and units that were duped by the organizers and planners of this "competition" who probably had a rightful expectation that all competitors would be judged fairly, evenly and without bias.

But, you believe that biases whether, conscious or unconscious, are acceptable...okay, got it. I will very much keep that in mind when a girl boy scout contacts me to work on a merit badge.

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19 hours ago, cocomax said:

The camporee was set up so that the adults running the events could give the ribbons to anyone they wanted to for any reason they wanted. 

I assumed this post was an accurate reflection of the scoring rules.

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5 minutes ago, SSF said:

I don't know if I'm more surprised by this comment you made or the fact that others actually support your position on this. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by either.

You've said that you believe its acceptable for judges to award competitors and determine order of finish (1st, 2nd, 3rd place etc.) irregardless of a patrol's actual performance. 

If the rules for this camporee did clearly state that's how judging was going to be conducted then you are technically correct and the girls did not cheat and the adults running the event were within their right to just give out awards to whoever they wanted to for no real valid reasons at all, but if that is the case then this camporee was a complete sham. I feel sorry for the boys, leaders and units that were duped by the organizers and planners of this "competition" who probably had a rightful expectation that all competitors would be judged fairly, evenly and without bias.

Buy you believe that biases whether, conscious or unconscious, are acceptable...okay, got it. I will very much keep that in mind when a girl boy scout contacts me to work on a merit badge.

I think the point he was trying to make is that biases are very hard to be aware of sometimes, and can have deep cultural origins that people  just honestly don't put a lot of thought in.  I don't think that makes it right, but take for example our cub games.  The combined girl den received a presidential award at the cub games.  Did they earn it?  Well, there was one lion, one wolf, one bear and one webelos.  Each of them are scored slightly differently because lions aren't expected to know the law exactly, for example.  On uniforms, they were all 100 %, and other than one of the older scouts forgetting the outdoor code, they did very well.  But I'll never know for certain no bias was introduced, and I fear others may think there was even when there may not have been. 

We need to do better to ensure they are all on equal footing.

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3 hours ago, PinkPajamas said:

I don't think its fair to say people cheated, if the rules were "give this ribbon to whoever you want for whatever reason you want". There are all kinds of conscious and unconscious biases that come in to play but that's not cheating. Under those rules handing a ribbon to a new patrol because you're excited they're there and trying is valid even if their performance is sub-par. 

Is this a common camporee scoring system? Is this how this particular camporee has been judged in the past? because it's terrible.... and sad if it took girls winning for people to realize it.

I would definitely encourage the boys to write a letter complaining about a scoring system that lacked measurable goals and Harry Potter style "100 points for Gryffindore!"  so my pet team wins. Have them suggest a better scoring system and vote with their feet if changes aren't made by the next camporee. 

I reacted too hastily in my previous response. (Bad SSF, bad!)

I do see that you condemn the scoring used and I presume that's where the upvotes come from. I agree that scouts and units should vote with their feet and avoid this camporee if biased judging of any form is going to be taking place.

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1 hour ago, Liz said:

Maybe your CO would be open to starting a linked troop for the girls. I actually like this as an option because it allows the units to pick the advantages both of single gender and two-gender groups. Some activities can be planned jointly, and some activities can be planned separately, and it gives the members of each troop to experience youth leadership and the patrol method. 

I am really really liking the linked troop model.  Maybe because we are linked to a really great boys troop.

Separate (so far) meetings and all outings to date.   Joint  (so far) opening flag ceremonies.

Upcoming planned joint activities: the annual Court-of-Honor and family potluck,  the annual family camp-out (siblings invited), ILST. Merit badge groups will likely be open to scouts from both troops.

The girls (and boys) have their own space.  They can do things with their own style.   (What do my newbie scouts plan and cook on their first campout?  Gourmet meals -- but the conclusion afterwards was that they were really inefficient and could do better next time.)

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7 hours ago, qwazse said:

 

I think we would all like to hear about the girl's troop who's having a rough start but the boys and venturers around them are stopping by to encourage them to keep trying ... perhaps with an offer of dutch oven cobbler and a game of cards.

Not quite a cobbler and card game but definitely scouts being awesome to other scouts ☺️

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I want to cheer on those who are operating girl dens and troops.  You are very very welcome and have a valued and respected role in our organization.  I am just not seeing the events and behavior so vigorously argued and speculated upon here, and have been an early and regular participant in family scouting from the very start.  Our council has over 40 girl troops and probably 90 girl dens.  This is indeed the success for youth we wanted.  Everyone is now welcome in the BSA — join us with a helpful, scoutlike spirit.

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10 hours ago, AltadenaCraig said:

Bottom Line:  Has anyone seen "Best Practices" for Camporees published by any Area, or National?  Seems like all of us on this thread, including me, are winging it.

I can't imagine it would help. They would make it so convoluted and then we'd argue about what they meant.

Maybe I'm naive but it sounds fairly simple. Make it fun. Competition is the ultimate in SMART goals. Make sure some scout skills are involved but not too much. Sounds like these other guys failed at making the competition measurable.

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