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MomIsBoyScout

Daughter's want to be Boy Scouts hate Girl Scouts

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Our son "sorta" wanted to join scouts. I made one phone call, talked to at least 4 people, and he went to his first meeting that same day. They meet every other week, have a schedule through the end of the summer and he is loving it.

 

In contrast, our twin daughters DESPERATELY wanted to join Brownies/Girl Scouts. I made at least 12 phone calls and 4 e-mails (to the ENTIRE regional office), it took 5 weeks and a threat to take the story to the local paper to get a call back. That was 4 months ago--they have had three events (one was the Cookie Kickoff) and marched in two parades. There are no achievements and there is no structure, beyond the parades I've never had more than 3 days notice of one of their events. The last event they attended was dancercise--something they already had a pretty good grasp of by the age of 5. They loathe Brownies.

 

I'm not alone. My friends throughout the US have the same complaints. Even those who had a good experience in Girl Scouts are frustrated. My most significant memory of being in Girl Scouts, besides selling cookies, was being taught to make hospital corners. Seriously, I don't remember a single other meeting that I attended over the course of a year and a half. I quit and basically joined my little brother's Den, because my friend's mom was his Den Mother (so, did several of our friends).

 

My husband is a Boy Scout. I'm a member of Alpha Phi Omega. For the uniformed, it is a National Service Fraternity, essentially Boy Scouts for college kids (they went co-ed in 1974). I have served as regional staff for that organization and a was a former Den Leader. In other words I AM a Boy Scout and, yes I am, and always have been female.

 

The girls are aware that I am a member of APO and BSA, they know my friends, they've met the members of my old Den. They've also seen other Moms who are Den Leaders. My daughters are now begging to join Cub Scouts.

 

When my son goes to his meetings--we spend our evenings dealing with frustration and rage. All three of the children are mildly Autistic--highly functioning, but Autistic nontheless. Frustration and rage in Autistic children is rather like a nuclear bomb. It is impossible to explain to them that women can be Den Leaders, but little girls cannot be members

 

As I see it, I three choices for next year: become a Brownie Leader and create a program from scratch, become a Den Mother, so that my daughters can "attend as spectators" or give up on Scouts all together and find another organization where all of our children are welcome.

 

Am I wrong? What other options do I have?

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi MomisBoyScout and welcome to the forum.

 

I have heard your lament from many parents of sons and daughters who had their sons in Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts, but could not find a satisfactory Girl Scout experience for their daughters. I don't know much about how the Girl Scout organization is structured, but if your daughters have friends and parents interested in a Troop, then by all means start one up. Since you have experience in Scouting you could use that experience to ensure your Troop provides more for the girls than just selling cookies or participating in parades. Not knowing your community it's hard to post an opinion on your other options, but many areas have opportunities for both boys and girls: 4H, sports of course, and church youth organizations.

 

I do have a question about how APO works in your area. My older son is in the fraternity at college and, yes, it is sometimes nicknamed the "Eagle Scout" fraternity because being a service fraternity it just seems to naturally attract service oriented young men. But, I was not aware that it is a co-ed fraternity. My son's is not. They did entertain the idea of chartering the fraternity as a Venture Crew, but they discarded that idea simply because they did not want it to be merely Boy Scout related. Perhaps the APO chapter you speak of was chartered as a Venturing Crew, thus allowing girls?

 

Just curious. Good luck to you. Lots of helpful and knowledgable folks on this forum.

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Welcome Mom! I would echo GWD's comments about starting a unit that is more to the desires of your girls. You may create something big and needed in your area. Good luck and let us know how things go for all of you.

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I have always been surprised at GS organization (or lack of it).

 

Some years ago, the Scouts at our school decided to have a "join Scouting " day. We arrnged with our neighboring Troops and Cub Packs and went to the GS leaders and invited them to join us. They told us (!true!)that they had enough girls and didn't want anymore to join! Can you imagine a Cub Pack reacting like that?

 

I second the words of GWD. It would appear that the BS program depends on the program, and the GS program depends on the Leaders. If you can become the GS leader that breaks the pattern and helps to create the GS Troop that your girls want, I believe you will be doing a very good thing.

I have a good friend that is a Scout Camp Director summers. Until his son is old enough (he's 3) he is his daughters Daisy Troop leader. A happier bunch of 6 year olds , (and mothers) you'd have to go far to see. They do more than make cookies and draw Valentines (tho they do those too), if you see, but study nature, go hiking and visit every firehouse and museum in the area.

 

I can also recommend 4H.My son is both Scout and 4H club member. He revels at both.

Then too, there's rumored to be a group, calls themselves "Campfire". I know little of them, but then...

 

Nothing venture, nothing gained, eh? And as Bob the Tomato says, "It's for the kids".

 

YiS

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"As I see it, I three choices for next year: become a Brownie Leader and create a program from scratch"

 

If you are planning on creating the "MomIsBoyScout Youth Program" then I would recommend that you do it on your own & do not involve GSUSA. I would say the same thing if you were planning on creating a program "from scratch" for your son & calling it BSA.

 

BSA and GSUSA are DIFFERENT programs. You can NOT judge one based on your knowledge of the other. It does not work and is not fair. Both BSA and GSUSA have programs in place that have worked for them for 95+ years. For both BSA and GSUSA, their programs are only as good as the leaders that deliver them.

 

If you want to improve your daughters experience I would recommend that you first REGISTER as an adult GSUSA volunteer. Then GET TRAINED!! Then, armed with the info you need, you can put together a GS Troop of girls who are interested in the outdoors (all of them aren't you know & the Troop should be GIRL driven). Follow the GSUSA program for their level & watch the girls blossom.

 

**NOTE** In the next few years GSUSA will be implementing many changes. Currently, they are in the process of realigning and combining councils. Next will come changes in program and levels. GSUSA is hoping to update & improve their program into the "world's best" leadership development program for girls.

 

 

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The only way to have a good GS experience is to get lucky in finding a leader or to be the leader yourself. My older daughter was a Brownie in 2 different Troops, 2 different states. Both were very underwhelming to say the least. My wife took over as the leader to 'save' the Troop and now they actually do things, they are becoming girl-run and membership is growing.

 

It appears that a GS Troop functions much like an autonomous Cub Scout Den or Boy Scout Patrol (depending on age of girls). I was shocked to be told about limited space, but now I understand (not that I like it). There is no GS unit like a Pack or a BS Troop. There are certainly drawbacks in that lack of structure, but you can customize your Troop to fit the participants.

 

I would argue that the GSUSA has not has a successful program for all that many years as they are no longer what they once were.

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Hi Mom,

welcome to the gang.

Good luck with your quest. Maybe your best bet is to form your own local scouting group. Who says that you have to be BSA or GSUS to pull that off?

 

I'm leading a co-ed troop here in Germany and it works very well. The girls are cool customers and at the games they can play just as rough as the boys. Just yesterday one of the lasses surprised me with the supposedly most difficult standard knot although I hasn't taught them yet.

Have a look here if you like: www.frederickselous.blogspot.com

The patrol is new and they are not uniformed yet, but that's coming along in the next weeks as well.

 

best regards,

Volker

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Hold on there Slouchhat. A great idea but there are some issues with that.

 

Insurance and the cost of working out things like badges etc as well as a lack of training support could all cause a lot of work and expense. I dare say that the USA is not as flexible as Germany with its various Scout organisations.

 

Mom is probably better advised to piggy back on to another existing organisation (not BSA or GS I suspect) and run a co-ed outdoor program via that organisations structure.

 

Personally though Slouchhat I agree with you in principle. Girls love Scouting the way boys do it and there is no law (other than BSA ones) that prohibit co-ed Scouting. It works in many countries without a glitch.

 

USA is litigious and they do seem to love structure so I don't think Mom should rush out there on her own without finding a safety net.

 

Any further US comment on non-BSA/GS options for Mom?

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Any further US comment on non-BSA/GS options for Mom?

 

Campfire USA has a chartering relationship like BSA, with insurance coverage. Units are given a fair bit of autonomy, and access to camp properties. Also program materials, but last I checked they were pretty vague.

 

I wish there were a great girls' outdoor adventure/leadership program to point to. But GSUSA has mostly abandoned that, unless an individual troop gets it together. Then they just have to deal with da paperwork :p. Makes BSA look downright simple.

 

No surprise there are so many young ladies in Venturing, eh?

 

Beavah

 

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4H has a good program, and it's EASILY tailored to individual desires. You might also look into American Heritage Girls, if their values correspond to your own.

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Wow, my daughter and I have also felt your pain very strongly. We went through much of the same struggle. I wish scouting was co-ed. I see nothing but enhancements to the program. That said, I understand that this is not going to happen anytime soon. So I echo Aquila's mention of 4-H as a great alternative...and IT IS co-ed. Good luck.

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Girls love Scouting the way boys do it and there is no law (other than BSA ones) that prohibit co-ed Scouting.

 

Several times over the past many years and some of those times I got this from our paid scouters: BSA isn't completely coed because of some sort of agreement with GSUSA. If it weren't for that agreement, we would be ScoutsUSA (much like BSC became Scouts Canada about 15 years back). One of the explanations has been something about GSUSA having better lawyers. (shrug) I wish I had hard facts to back it, but that's what I've been told time and again.

 

Personally, it's a bunch of bs and it's time the USA followed most other countries into the new century and go completely coed. Alas, that doesn't help MomIsBoyScout with her problem at the moment.

 

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No need to be co-ed. The girls just need to have a girls division of Boy Scouts. Wait, we did that and then the ultra-feminists decided to invade the program.

 

Seriously, Mom, if you run your own GS troop, you have quite a bit of autonomy to ignore the national political aspects and have a program that teaches values. I would be careful about the GSUSA camps, though.

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Personally, it's a bunch of bs and it's time the USA followed most other countries into the new century and go completely coed.

 

Nah, there should be a place for single-gender activity, particularly among adolescents where development comes at different paces.

 

And I'm in agreement with da BSA rules requiring a same-gender adult along on a campout, which can limit da ability to do a coed program if yeh have limited female outdoor leadership.

 

Still, it would be nice to have a girls middle school outdoor adventure leadership program under BSA auspices. It would further strengthen coed Venturing.

 

Beavah

 

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I haven't had a chance to come back until now.

 

Thanks all for your comments and suggestions. They are very helpful!

 

As to the questions regarding APO being a co-ed fraternity, it is co-ed nationally. I understand that there are male only chapters at male only schools. Unless your son is at an all male college/university, the fraternity is co-ed. They just haven't invited women.

 

Thanks again everyone!

MomIsBoyScout

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