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Oak Tree

If all levels of Scouting went coed

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You can call me old-fashioned every day of the year, and I will always consider it a compliment. To me, it is plainly obvious that one of the biggest problems we have in society today is the absence of strong dads in families. 40% of our children are being born out of wedlock. We have a large number of single-parent families, with mom as the head of household. Many of our boys do not have a good strong adult male role model in their lives, which is something I think Scouting can provide. IMO, if you add girls to the mix, you are going to greatly diminish this benefit of the program.

 

I'm reading a good book, "Better Dads, Stronger Sons - How Fathers Can Guide Boys to Become Men of Character" by Rick Johnson. I think some of the message ties in pretty well with Scouting.

 

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One thing I can mention is that boys will, by the time they are 11, have experienced interactions and relations with adult women.

 

Adult women run the show in grade school, if not also high school.

 

I remember how different it was when I had my first male schoolteacher, in 6th grade.

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I'm w/ BrentAllen on this one.

 

The need for young boys and adolescents to be taught by and see positive male role models is a very important part of thei development. The elementary education system and predominantly the middle school and most of the high school system is weighted heavily towards female leadership and influence as a matter of history and at one time practicality.

 

I don't care if scouting wants to go co-ed in the US. We have co-ed units that show up from Mexico at our scout fair and other events every year. The YPG issues can be handled via the Venturing standards.

 

The one thing (and I expect the flames to come from this one), I would like to see BSA national and councils emphasize is adult leadership by MALES. I hate to say it, call gender biased if you want, but as more females have served in positions of leadership in BSA, the less "tough" the organization has become. The more "feelings" have played into what is and is not acceptable behavoir. Some of this is good and some not so good, but IMHO - the largest issue is that boys need to learn from men how to be a man. This is not a "woman hater" stance, just an observation from my world view. I think parents of both genders play an important role in development, but the need for fathers to spend time raising their sons has never been so important and has likely never had so much societal pressure stacked against it.

 

With that being said - their are plenty in my own gender that need to be willing to step-up and take on that responsibility. I have a lot of mom's in my unit (some single parent and others married) who have told me on several occasions how thy wish their husbands would take a more active role in their child's development. That's one of the saddest things I ever hear.

 

I see it as the natural thing to do. WHY? Because I had a father that saw it as the natural thing to do and therefore this to me is how a "normal" dad interacts with their son. Those that only saw a father figure as someone who works to keep a roof over their head and food on the table are more likely to be the same way when they have kids of their own. Those that see an absent father are more likely to abandon their own offspring to be raised by single mom's in the future. BSA offers an opportunity for boys in such situations to be influenced by positive male role models (even if it isn't the child's own father).

 

I think co-ed would be fine. But, I think BSA needs to emphasize the MALE ROLE MODEL as much as possible as well.

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Fellow scouters, I understand your concerns...too few positive male role models in the world. Too true. I see the results every day, as do you...young men who are unprepared for adult life. They aren't bad people, they've never had the influence of an adult male to help them get started in adulthood on the right foot.

 

To be blunt, if the BSA is supposed to be a glimmer of hope and provide that positive male role model cadre for our young men, its failure is bigger than we think.

 

There are great men in the BSA, and just as many not-so-great men. I'll refrain for now of citing examples.

 

Girls need that male role model as well, hence my position that scouting should be coed.

 

To keep BSA all male might provide a scout here or there that golden opportunity to be influenced by a male role model. But that's far and few between. Just like PTA, soccer, home, school, church, you name it, the ladies by and large are raising the kids of America. And have been for about 20 years.

 

The status quo is all the more reason for coed scouting. Are our men irresponsible and self indulgent? Are our ladies raising mama's boys and perpetuating the irresponsible/absent male role model? Are both genders expecting something of the other that isn't coming true? Perhaps if they learned at an early age to interact with the opposite sex, this might help things when they become adults, and both genders will have a more balanced view of the other.

 

I think the BSA has a great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of both boys and girls. And from an organizational viewpoint, this might be the cause that jump starts the BSA again.

 

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A number of posts here have been of the form "We had a co-ed camp once, and the interactions between the boys and girls were quite a problem". However, if co-ed becomes the norm, it's no longer a novelty for the kids and the problems no longer exist.

 

I'm disappointed that so many problems are predicted while ignoring the fact that it seems to work successfully in so many places elsewhere in the world. I'd like to see a few more of those opposing the move discuss that aspect.

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When I first started following this thread my though was "if this happens.....I'm done!" LOL The more I read and the more I think about it (open my mind) the more I think it COULD be a good thing.

 

In my opinion, the BSA is not perfect at all but what we do very well is 1)Character Developement 2)Citizenship Training, 3)Mental and Physical Fitness AND OUTDOOR PROGRAM. From what I see, the Girl Scouts don't do any of these very well. (but they can make a ton of money off those darn cookies!)

 

I look and see some very fine young men that may have turned out that way because of scouting. What would happen if we could do this with the young ladies as well.

 

Like someone said above...."I think the BSA has a great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of both boys and girls. And from an organizational viewpoint, this might be the cause that jump starts the BSA again."

 

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>>Like someone said above...."I think the BSA has a great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of both boys and girls. And from an organizational viewpoint, this might be the cause that jump starts the BSA again."

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I'd like to see it at the cub level.

 

I'm really hesitant at the Boy Scout age range, just because of hormones.

 

Not saying I'm against it at that age, but I'm yet to be convinced it is a good idea.

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I think the main thing that would change would be the rules and chaperoning for overnight activities. Actually, when I think about it, I would want at least one female leader with me on ANY troop activity to help with first aid incidents. America has a far more litigious society than Canada or other countries.

 

We would probably have to redesign some of our training programs -- the fact of the matter is that teenage boys are easily distracted and we'd have to take that into account.

 

I would be far more inclined to extend an olive branch to GSA toward planning combined activities but allow us to keep appropriate distances when needed than to make BSA officially co-ed.

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My thought in the matter is single program per age group, single-gender units at Cub, Boy, and Varsity. Bring together at District and Council levels.

 

OA would have a problem; too bad for them.

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It's been a while. Hello everyone.

 

Can I throw an idea or two in using both my Scouting experience (6 yr co-ed SM here in Oz) and as a professional camp manager for school groups (5 yrs)?

 

Young male instructors (probably Scouters too) have clients (Scouts) experience accidents more often and more severely. Stat's are cited across the industry and supported from our own internal records. Extrapolating....girls are safer until age 25 or so. Car insurance also seems to support the notion. I have as at today 5 women and 3 men working as camp leaders to give an idea of my experience. As an SM I noticed that my PL's were cautious when on Patrol activities (no adults to rescue them). Most PL's were boys over the 6 years of my tenure. No major incidents in that time and I was confidant with most of them but generally less concerned with girls leading than boys. Not markedly but with hindsight it was noticeable.

 

Does safety correlate with adventure? Not really IMHO. If you agree with me then having girls and women in Scouting may lower the accident rate a little without impinging on the adventure benefits.

 

I thought that idea may be new to the discussion.

 

On another note my experience was that girls mature earlier and were suited to leadership roles disproportionately. In short a minority of girls could at times have a majority of leadership roles. It wasn't too obvious in our case but I could see that Troops could possibly become entirely girl led when populated by mostly boys. I don't think this would happen very often but begs a question about what such a situation could do for the boys....and the girls involved. I doubt that too many would be scarred for life and I also suspect that the situation would change within about 6-12 months as that is about the age-ing out rate.

 

So is this possibility a 'must avoid' as harmful to boys self-esteem / efficacy / actualisation or is it 'much ado about nothing'? Is it a major point in the debate? I don't see it as being too bad.

 

Everything else about having girls in the Troop and as Scouters was about as alarming as having a blind Scout join the Troop (had a couple over time). They cause some changes to procedures and planning but they bring more then they disrupt. Otherwise it is all quite unremarkable and the changes to co-ed Scouting (I have experienced the change as a Scouter) was really underwhelming. That is my experience and is no guarantee that girls in BSA would not cause global warming.

 

Ok that last sentence was inciteful and stuck in as a tease. I completely acknowledge that the discussion is primarily about culture and that BSA is anchored in the USA. How USA'ians would approach, cope with and manage a 100% change to coed Scouting is going to be unique to the USA. All other experiences are interesting comparisons but not a fully reliable prediction for what might be. In the end the proof will be in the pudding (if that saying is unfamiliar I mean that the result will be the only true indication - and by then it would be too late for changes).

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Boy, my 7th grade daughter would love it! She's tried the Girl Scouts twice at different ages, and both times abandon them. Having two older brothers in Boy Scouts, and having participated in some of their outings and meetings as a visitor with a parent, she's had a lot to compare Girl Scouts to, and she says the Girl Scouts doen't even come close.

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