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Charter Organization denying women as assistant Scoutmaster or the option to campout with troop

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I have been an active BSA member. I am currently a Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner for my district. I moved my son to a troop that was highly recommended and closer to our home. When I said I would be camping at the next campout I was told that I could not come because I was a woman. When I explained that I had extensive training (Woodbadge training & beads, Scoutmaster indoor & outdoor training, Doctorate of Commissioner Science Knot Award, District Award of Merit and many more.) they told me that it did not matter what training I received. The Charter Organization (First Baptist Church in South Carolina) has a policy that states no women allowed at Troop campsites after dark or if the scouts travel and stay in a hotel that female parents must stay in a different hotel.


I said to the Committee Chair that BSA policy states that parent are allowed to go on Troop campouts no matter what gender. I allow stated the change in policy women can be Scoutmasters or Assistant Scoutmaster. They also told me the Charter Organization prefers that Boy Scouts be led by Men only and this is stated in the Troop By Laws that I have not seen as of yet.


They were even begging infront of me for a man to be Assist. Scoutmaster.


I called the Council and they told me that the Charter Organization can deny women. I thought that the CO has to follow the of BSA By Laws.


Why have BSA National By Laws if they can be rewritten by the Charter Organization? If the BSA National By Laws can be used as more less "Guide Lines" than actual rules, then why have them.




What would you do in my case? Should I look for another Troop, which means my son will be removed from his newly found friends.


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While BSA does allow women in all leadership roles, Charter organizations can be more restrictive in who they want as a leader for any reason. If you weren't a Scout as youth, not a member of the congregation, not male, not female (one all female venturing crew I met), whatever reason they want give, they can refuse a volunteer.


Also a CO can restrict who they want as youth members. they can say only members of their congregation, or specify a single gender in the case of Venturing units.


Me personally I would have a chat with my son, discuss the situation, and let him decide. Who knows he may not want you involved, or he may get ticked off enough to say find another troop.


If he does decide to stick with this troop, with your experience I say look for a district role. Who knows, you may be training that new ASM they were looking for ;)

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Simple fix.


Take your son and join a different troop.


Either the church has had a problem in the past or they are very Traditional in every sense of the word. I am going to bet they will not change the policy. I would find out the history.


Another thing to consider, This is your son's scouting experience, Back off let him go camping with the troop, MOM does not to need to be with him all the time. This is not about you.


A troop can have more than one ASM, Right??????? So why are you upset about them getting an additional ASM, many hands make a light load.


Recommended or not there are a million other troops out there. Find another one.(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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I would go to a different troop. There antiquated policies will flare time and time again. Although scouting is for your son, do you really want him to learn that women are inferior by this group being his role model?


I am sure your training takes you out of the mother hen role, of following your scout around, and into the role of enjoying the scouting experience, and enjoying being a part of molding these young men just as much as any male scout leader. You are in your right to not cheat yourself out of this expierence.


My family moved to 3 troops before we were happy. By the third troop, we learned to not just jump. Go to 3 or 4 troops in the area, watch the troop in action, maybe visit a committee meeting if one is in the immediate future. Ask what activities they have been on in the past few year, make sure you are welcome to join as an Adult leader at the level you wish (some troops, may not give you ASM immediately, but let you camp until a position opens up and they feel you are the best to fill the role.) But even if not ASM if you can go on trips, and possible find an committee role that interacts with the scouts (advancement, outdoor coordinator etc.).. Then you can find happiness in the troop.


Your feelings for the troop will influence your sons feelings for the troop. If you do not feel welcomed or comfortable, it will influence your son. Best to find a good fit for the both of you. The troop we ended up in was a 30 minute drive, and they were at the bottom corner of the district, so most centralized district events are 1 hour or more away. Still the change was worth it to us.

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My Son is 12 years old.


I have always been in nontraditional positions in my life. I went into engineering and was the only female student in my engineering program in college and I felt excepted. I was hired in an all male office and no one objected.


This is the first time I was told I could not do something based strictly on my gender.


It really annoys me that people still have the archaic beliefs.


I will let it go. But I will miss the camping.



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"Can I inquire, for information's sake, how old your son is, and why you want to go camping with his troop?"


"Another thing to consider, This is your son's scouting experience, Back off let him go camping with the troop, MOM does not to need to be with him all the time. This is not about you."


Just curious gentlemen, if it was a Dad with the same scouting resume, would you ask him these questions?



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This troop has the right to have such a policy, but I think they should have been much more up-front about it.


I would move my son to a different troop. People who subscribe to this sort of policy are likely to hold a variety of other social views that I would find abhorrent and wouldn't want my child to be subjected to.


(That said, I also agree that there is a lot of value in letting a young man go camping without a parent attending. For example, I rarely have camped with my son's troop, because I felt he needed the space to do his own thing. But, if that is the case for you, it should be because that's what you think is right for your son at his particular stage of development, and not because some troop imposes these gender roles upon you.)


(This message has been edited by lisabob)

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Irsap, so your question is if Dads were not permitted to camp with the boys or stay in the same motel? The training Part is completely irrelevant.


I would ask why. I don't need to camp with my son while he is camping with the troop. We have enough Father son time and a huge amount of time in the outdoors together. 11 weekends a year and a week at summer camp won't make a huge impact on our relationship or bonding.


Just as I said before it is our son's scouting experience. When he crosses over it is my intention to stay with the Pack and out of the way.


I will let the SM run the program and help when I am asked.

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Sorry to point this out but I see a lot of "I" in the originators posts and not much "we". Just something to chew on...


I do think the CO is handling this poorly. I would welcome any trained female leader into our troop.


I'm with LisaBob - I wouldn't want these people influencing my son. These folks probably send out memos on stone tablets.


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Not exactly, BD. The CO's rules are their rules. They have the right to restrict as they see fit. I may not agree, but that is how it is.


My post was more towards your question and the point you were making. If this were your troop, and a man who is your District RT Commish, all relevant BS training, WB, has a son in your troop wants to be an ASM and camp with your troop, would you then ask him why? Would you tell him to back off, it's not about him?


I totally get letting him fly on his own, and in a lot of cases that is be best. The fact that you spend personal time with your son outdoors only reinforces that. But if we go with "No parent's as direct Boy Scout Leaders", we are going to be hurting.

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For someone with so much training, I'm surprised you weren't aware that COs had this authority. I know of some churches in the Atlanta area that are very conservative, and don't allow women on campouts. This restriction is part of their religion, and we, as Scouts, are to respect their religious beliefs. This may not be the case in this Troop in South Carolina, but I would investigate the issue further before I started using terms like "archaic" and "antiquated" and making other claims about women being treated as inferior. I find the comment about using stone tablets particularly disrespectful. This policy is coming from the church, not the Troop leadership.


A Scout is reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.

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lrsap - I certainly see your point, and didn't mean for my question to come across in a negative way. However, if I were an SM or CC or COR, I would definitely ask the same question of any parent looking to become involved, whether male or female.


We're not members of the BSA - we're volunteers. Everyone should bring along some skill or personal attribute to help our children grow. Asking why someone wants to go camping with the troop is a perfectly legitimate question. "How would you help the boys?" is basically the same question that should be asked when nominating adults to the Order of the Arrow, and I think it's an excellent one.


If a troop has plenty of ASMs and no problem getting two-deep leadership on outings, what skills would New Person No. 1 bring to the job? Are they particularly good at pioneering? At cooking? Nature identification? Or do they just want to hang out with their son? If the latter, then a Boy Scout camping trip is not the way to accomplish that. I've seen too many well-meaning parents, both trained and untrained, squash or ruin their son's Scouting experience because they hovered or micromanaged.


I was lucky enough that both my parents were involved in my first troop - my dad as an ASM and my mother on the committee. But my dad also took a hands-off approach, allowing me to grow from interacting with other adults. When I switched troops at age 12, he took the opportunity to step down, and I stood on my own two feet. To tell the truth, I really enjoyed the time away from my parents!


One of my close adult mentors as a youth was a woman, a leader with a local troop. I was her elangomat in the OA, and she later became chapter adviser - I learned a heck of a lot from her. Personally, I would love to see a troop that accepted only women as leaders. I think that'd turn the tables on the old guard right quick! But I also believe that asking any prospective leader, parent or not, about what they'd bring to the unit is a perfectly legitimate question.


nwasness - to answer your original question, if I were in your shoes, I'd leave immediately and find another troop with my son. Lisabob hit the nail on the head. That type of an attitude is not one I agree with. If the troop stays in a hotel, mothers have to stay in an entirely different hotel? I mean, what kind of ridiculousness is that? What are they afraid of?

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