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If all levels of Scouting went coed

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Not If, but rather When and Where...

 

My prediction - National allows CO's to decide, so some units will become coed but most will not. The public hears that Boy Scouting is going coed, hurrah, and runs down to the local unit to sign their daughters up. Unfortunately that unit is NOT integrated, er I mean does not accept girls, and the confusion, bad publicity and discrimination lawsuits begin.

 

Another prediction, going coed adds another core incompetency to Scouting along with drug education, bullying, internet safety, special needs, religion,... sex education. This may mean another version of the Scout handbook - coed with sex ed material only for those coed units. Adult training? Maybe at Scouting university.

 

It will be a storm, but other countries have weathered it.

 

A good storm clears the air.

 

My $0.02

 

 

 

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As I've said many other times in this forum (and I say it again below), my experience implementing two co-ed Scout camping trips has turned me strongly against making either the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts co-ed. I firmly believe they should stay single sex.

 

It seems to me that many of those advocating co-ed-ness do not speak from experience, but from a sincere desire to do something that looks reasonable from their vantage point as an adult. I too would likely have been an advocate had I not experienced the hormonal chaos of putting girls and boys together.

 

I've been a Scoutmaster for Boy Scouts for ten years and a Camping Adviser for Girl Scouts for four years. I've been on a significant number of camping trips with both groups, and I can tell you that while girls and boys are very different, they both can learn to be very good campers and really enjoy being in the outdoors.

 

Since there are a number of leaders that have sons in Boys Scouts and daughters in Girls Scouts we have tried a couple mixed camping trips. And while they weren't outright disasters, it wasn't a good situation. Both the boys and girls became very different - the boys showing off & acting like idiots and the girls ignoring each other and flirting with the boys. And I don't think either group meant to do it, as they have know each other outside of Scouts for years, but it just happened. Afterward, all of us - adults and Scouts - said never again.

 

Separated, girls and boys do very well on camping trips. But together, there were just too many hormones. Based on my experience, I have come to believe that sometimes boys just need to be with boys and girls need to be with girls.

 

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Our wise scouting foreparents (Lord Baden Powell / William Boyce and Elizabeth Anne Seton) made the correct choice in making two separate programs for boys and girls and not one combined one. The fact is that girls and boys have different needs and interests, and combining the two together would be doomed to failure. This is especially apparent as the kids get older and mature and have to make their own decisions. I am glad the programs are separate, as it gives each group a chance to capitalize on their strong points and to build up the weak ones. That being said, I think a closer union between BSA and GSA would be great, with some shared activities and events. Unfortunately, BSA is the one with most of the money, so they guard their program very closely.

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I agree with Frank on all except one of his points, "the result would be doomed to failure". Coed scouting is working in other parts of the world, what kind of program they have may be another question. The fact is that the GSA along with Campfire organizations are dying on the vine and struggling to hold on. The BSA is also losing membership and needs to figure out how to reach out to non scout boys, which is what National is in the process of doing. The objections of changing the entire program to accomodate girls however is false, as Venturing has already shown. In my crew the girls can take on any high adventure activities as well as the boys, YPT is not a problem either. On a cub and boy scout level it might be a different story, time would tell,but it could work.

 

I too would prefer to see Boy Scouts stay as it is now but eventually I think it would come down to having to change with the times or face the demise of scouting altogether. It is already too late for Campfire and probably the GSA who could disappear in the next decade, OH NO no more Thin Mints. If a coed program is truly the best way to keep scouting alive, relevant, and growing in our country then I think it would foolish to cast the idea aside as unworkable because it is working in many other countries in the world. As I said in a prior post National is going to be making that decision soon, if they haven't already, and we unit leaders will have to be the ones to make the new program work, not National.

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Mention has been made that the GSA and BSA are on the decline. Yes, that's true. Would going co-ed or merging the two save them. Maybe, but at what cost?

The principles are no longer the same. Look at the changes GSA made to their oath. This was done to try and be more acceptable, but membership has not increased. They have only lowered themselves to what is politically correct.

 

Having the Boy Scout program co-ed for the Troops would create problems. I have also helped in both organizations and teens being teens, there will be situations, if not problems.

On this note, my wife told me that if the Troops went co-ed, that would be the day I would no longer be a leader. The potential problems and liabilities would be too great. So how many leaders would be lost? Would there be a greater gain?

 

Just my thoughts.

 

 

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My thoughts:

 

I agree with others that co-ed Packs and Troops are not the best idea. Keep them gender-specific.

 

That does not mean that the existing Cub and Boy Scouting programs are unsuitable for use by either gender. They are.

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From Pack212Scouter: 'I would be against it. Why does everything have to be co-Ed? Males and females are different. Neither is better, just different. Most everything else is co-ed these days. Boys need a place to hang with "the guys" and girls need the same. My daughter loves doing outdoors stuff too, but my son loves the times when it's "just the men"'

 

Amen brother. We as a society will regret the day the last institution that values men is destroyed under the boot of political correctness. Watch TV tonight and count the positive male role models you see. Lone-wolf hero cops don't count, thug athletes don't count, bumbling stupid sitcom dads don't count.

 

My experience is with a Cub Scout family camp where the troop provided the cook staff. The cub scout leader's daughter showed up. She's the same age as several boys in the troop. Everything change the instant she walked on the stage. It's not her fault, it's nature.

 

As for the name of the organization when this happens, how about these:

 

Weighed down under the weight of political correctness scouts or

membership numbers are more important than boys scouts

 

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SMT

 

I understand your feelings but I really don't see the problem, as a Venturing Advisor for over seven years now all of my coed crews camping trips have gone without a hitch. My teens know what I expect of them behavior and responsibility wise and have never let me down, they know if they wanted to be treated like adults they have to act like adults. When minor things have flared up they have handled them maturely and fairly without any of us adults having to get involved. I think sometimes we adults doubt how responsible teens can be when put to the task, if you talk and treat them like children and try to control everything yourself what you get is a bunch of childish acting teens and problems.

 

 

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Everyone keeps mentioning the membership stats being down. Could part of that be the fact that membership stats have been inflated by some council, i.e. Greater AL Council et al? Could it be that the the disasterous introduction of "urban Scouting" left bad taste in folks' mouths that lasts until today? Could it be that the Total Available Youth (TAY) is not as high as BSA's heyday in the 1960s, when all the baby boomers were members?

 

In reference to my first question, I beleive that today's numbers are more accurate than earlier ones, esp. since BSA has implemented a new accountability program, and I bet our number do grow, albeit modestly.

 

In reference to my sceond question, urban scouting DID leave a bad taste, and it will take some time to get over it. Yes we are still facing that moneky on our backs.

 

In reference to my thrid question, if I remember correctly US census data did show more available youth than in 2000 census, sorry don't have the tiem to look for the exact stats. So more TAY= More Members.

 

A more accdurate look would be %TAY involved in Scouting.

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Well Eagle I will say this that the urban scouting thing was over 30 years ago and I don't believe can be used any longer as a legitimate factor in explaining why the BSA membership today is at such a low. IMHO any stats coming out of National these days need to be closely scrutinized because I know the paper unit scouting professionals are still out there twisting things to their favor to prevent a council closure.

 

In my own council cubs are doing great, at least up to Webelos II, boy scout troops are folding up entirely or shrinking into very small units, venturing/sea scouts are doing well and growing every year. The disconnect is fairly obvious and probably a motivating factor for National in considering coed scouting.

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It seems as though this topic comes up year after year on this great site. So I have an idea. Why don't you poll the Boys in your Boy Scout troop and ask them if they would like to have girls in THEIR program. That should end this co-ed nonsense once and for ever.

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Yes OGE, I think Frank17 got Juliette Gordon Low mixed up with Ernest Thompson Seton and ended up with Elizabeth Ann Seton as the founder of GSUSA. While Elizabeth Ann Seton did many good works during her lifetime (resulting in her becoming the first American-born saint of the Roman Catholic Church, being canonized in the 1970's), that lifetime ended in 1821, so it would appear that Scouting was not among her projects.

 

Of all the comments above, the one I really have to shake my head at is the idea that the "improved Scouting program" of the 70's is somehow responsible for declining membership numbers today. Boy oh boy. As someone who was a Scout both before and after that change in the program, I can tell you that while it was a mistake in some ways, it was nowhere near the disaster that I often see portrayed in this forum, and it is not responsible for anywhere near the ill-effects for which it is blamed. If you want to know the main reason Scouting's numbers declined in the 70's, take a look at the birth statistics for the relevant time period. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005067.html Take, for example, the numbers for 1959 vs. 1969 (when 11-year-olds in 1970 vs. 1980 were born.) And while the birth rate dropped, to me the really amazing statistic is the number of births: Almost 4.3 million in 1959, dropping to 3.6 million in 1969 and finally bottoming-out around 3.1 million in the mid-70's. Quite a drop in a population that was moving steadily upwards. That's where you'll find the reason for most of the ups and downs in Scouting membership -- not because Camping MB was taken off the required list, or the Scout Handbook taught how to treat a rat bite, or because of red berets, or even because some councils fudged their numbers and then stopped after they got caught.

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I'm willing to concede the 'urban scouting," affect on the BSA. I was basing that on my own personal observations.

 

However the numbers fudging I won't. I heard from professional friends about the "numbers game" one council was playing. I read about the numbers fudging and lawsuits that otehr councils played. And I saw it first hand in another council. Heck I quit my job as a DE b/c I wouldn't play that game. A Scout is TRUSTWORTHY.

 

Upon reflection, another reason why I say this was common place was that the numbers fudging was actually brought up 2 times in my PDL-1 class. While the staff said you don't do it and need to report the problem to your SE. But when your SE or DFS tell you point blank what to do, or it's your job, some folks will do what it takes to save themselves

 

So TAY is a major factor in Scouting's membership stats, and thank you for posting a link to the info.

 

But I also state that the numbers fudging is another major cause. If it wasn't such a problem, why would national create a new membership verification process?

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Im not sure the logic of combining several programs loosing members to fix the problem of loosing members. Sure you increase the membership of ONE program for a short time, but it is still a program loosing members.

 

The problem of loosing membership is not going to be fixed by Political Correctness or combining other losers because the problem is with the programs themselves. Girls Scouts and Campfires big loses started when they changed their programs to be more inclusive of atheist and gays. The Girl Scouts have all kinds of issues, but it basically is not a values program anymore. Campfire become coed in the early 80s, but that didnt really help them increase in numbers much. It didnt hurt them like the gay and atheist thing did though. However, you can credit the BSA Tigers from the Campfire coed program.

 

If that isnt enough, look at the Canadian program. Its dying folks and the few Canadian Leaders I talked to can tell you the day of its lethal injection. I dont know that day that was, but the program made a big shift to be more exclusive. Interesting thing was they were a very good program that was in many peoples minds a better program than the BSA. That massive program is now almost a whiff in the wind.

 

My opinion is the Cub program is what is hurting the BSA. It is long complex program that looses a lot of boys and leaders before the Boy Scout age. Since 95% of Boy scouts come from the Cubs, the big looses at the Cub level really hurt. The BSA needs to simplify the Cub program back to a 3 or 4 year program.

 

I agree with the post who said most of the folks who think coed scouting is fine havent worked with coeds, at least at the 10 to 14 year age. The BSA doesnt need to save other programs out there that really have a different set of values than the BSA at the moment. National just needs to focus on itself and make scouting easier and more simple for the adults and boys.

 

I still question how coed can be as boy run as the present program. There are adults on this forum who require their boys to have a buddy while they go to the latrine. If that is the kind of mentality of future leaders, arent they going to have trouble with the buddy being the opposite sex? Certainly allowing patrols to camp without adults is out the window.

 

Barry

 

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