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Female - Male wired behaviors in Scouting

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After the hot topic of female leadership in the Boy Scout level (Troops rather than Packs), I think its important to share perspectives on behaviors difference between the genders as from my own experiences I was not even aware until it was pointed out to me when I went camping with my son.


One noteworthy behavior was the style of decision making in my household being a single mom and having one child, my son. We had gone white water rafting and the issue of male female sleeping together was brought up even though it was a family outing and only my son was sleeping in our new tent. The adults made the decision without the young scouts and I'm reminded of my son's reaction. He was VERY upset at the final decision as he wanted to sleep in the new tent that he was very much a part of in buying with me. It was then that I realized my son was treated as an adult in my household and his voice is heard before any decision is made which was not the case on this campout. (Luckily the whole thing was dropped and my son and I experienced our new tent and wise selections purchases together with happiness including listening well to having ground pads... *laughing)


Another is setting up tents on regular future outings. Scouters encouraged (more like pushed/demanded) my son to sleep with another scout in creating that Scouter - youth leader boundary thus forcing my son to interact instead of with me but with boys his age.


Another is telling me not to do for my son when I went to help my son set up the inside of his tent when he was sleepingn with another scout.


Its important to teach scouts to do for themselves but realize that some parents it so easy for them to just do that they don't even realizing they are doing until one 'pauses' their actions.


What kinds of behaviors do you see that you which the other gender realized they did that might be unintentional and disadvantage to the youth leader?

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The issue to me is not gender specific but parent specific. Parents are often very used to caring for their children and doing many things for them that the youths could be doing for themselves.


I taught our children to sort laundry by color as soon as they could, maybe age 5? Then they progressed to carrying the baskets to the laundry room. They were taught how to pour in the soap, turn on the machine, move the washed to the dryer, etc. By age 10, they were doing the family laundry.


Parents on campouts forget that it is BOY scouting. Whenever we get new parents into the troop, we explain that they cannot correct or parent they own son. If they have a concern about their son's activities, they are to request a different adult to intervene. Often we ask the SPL to intervene. It takes a while for the parents to adapt.


Our troop policy is that adults are basically there for safety. The scouts should be doing absoultely everything. Adults set up their own tents away from the troop. The adults cook, prepare and eat their food seperate from the scouts. We may send an adult around during meal times just to look over the lads shoulders and ask leading questions.


Webelos and Cub scouts are a different animal from Boy Scouts. Cubs are cartered to. Webelos should be very involved and doing much or most of the work with adult input. Webelos are transitioning from catered Cub Scouts to basically all Boy involvement with little or no adult involvment.


Females tend to be more picky about cleaniness and the idea of unsafe activities. Climbing trees, use of knifes, etc. Males tend to expect the scouts to push the boundaries and try out new activities. We expect the SPL and PLs to monitor activities. If they do not take adequate steps, the adults will step in to ensure safety.

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Okay, I am not completel;y sure I understand your question, so I will give two different ideas that could be along the lines of what you ask:



1) I have seen Male parents walk up to a female DL and a male committee member..and even though the female was in charge - they turn to the male and ask about the activity, rules, etc....



2) A for difference in mentality, I also do know this: When mom take the boys to resident camp, parent son weekend, or pack camping - they bring the usual stuff, but also a bag with shower soap, toiwels, shampoo, fingernail clippers, and such.


Dad's won't! We know ...wait..we expect our boys to get wet, muddy, nasty and end up with dirt inplaces that even surgeons would be amazed by. We even question their malehood if they do not get dirty enough! Showers while camping? Are you crazy. Wash your hand before preparing or eating food is one thing, but baths?




Cub Scouts are little Supermen, and showers are their Kryptonite! :)

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I've known dads who did exactly what you did well into their son's first year.


Mark my word, at some point you'll have a parent who you will have to wean from their son. Hopefully you'll be more tactful given the experience you and your son had.

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Its funny but I must be more laid back now that my son is not doing this with me. At a recent campout we did clean up work. Its was drizzling and cool. There was a creek running through the area and one scout was daring to clean the other side. Warned him about getting his shoes wet but wanted to do it. I shrugged my shoulders when he fell in and got his shoes wet. Nothing harmful but might make him cold quicker with wet feet. I was really taken back with the Dad's reaction as he was livid. I wasn't the only one. I realize this makes more work for stay at home dad but kids are having FUN and that is more the point. Plus he has done this for years so should have prepared his son's feet by suggesting boots, in my opinion.


Showers, who cares on a couple days missing. I have a bigger problem with the smelly breaking wind that happens even in troop meetings. There is where courteous better be practiced by sparing us of horror smells.. *grins


Scoutfish.. that male asking another male doesn't happen just in Scouting... *laughing

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Most parents I've dealt with in the program understand that boys (and men) are wired differently, and were content to let us have our weekends (and occasional weeks) of male bonding, and all of it's associated nuances. Living near Smithfield, VA, I once had the opportunity to visit the most famous pork processing plant in the world for my job with the health department. My advice, after that experience is the same. If you like and enjoy the product that ends up at your dinner table, it's probably best that you don't witness the process that brought it to that point. ;)

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There's a good argument for keeping parents at a distance in Boy Scouts and making parents part of the camping experience when they are Cub Scouts, in my opinion.


The following discusses Cub Scout camping:


I'm just getting my pack prepared for our annual over night camp/pack meeting which will be June 2-3rd.


This will include new families recruited April 2nd, some of whom will have had no previous camping experience. In our Bobcat Den composed of those new boys and parents, we had a day hike and hot dog roast April 21st, and we will be spending our two May meetings preparing families and boys for our camping methods.


That will include our parent meeting Monday where we will be planning our meals and camp activities. Our parent meeting will begin as a reception for new parents, who will be our special guests to be introduced to other adults and to be introduced to those other adults.


New families will have an understanding of our camp activities and plans by attending the meeting.


Our Bobcat Den meeting May 7th will give boys a chance to set up self supporting tents, with two teams competing against each other to see which can set things up first. Parents will be able to give helpful advice from the sidelines and see how that's done. Parents who want to borrow a tent for the campout will be welcome to do so.


Our May 21st meeting will include a demonstration of how to make a cowboy bedroll for sleeping rather than use a sleeping bag. Families will be welcome to use a sleeping bag if they have one, but a bedroll is preferred rather than going out to buy new gear.


So our aim is to introduce boys and parents to pack camping, and let them decide what they want to do.


Last year our new Tiger Cub Den chose to sleep in bunks at the camp lodge rather than in tents. They slept together as a den, and were all asleep after about ten minutes at the end of a busy day.


Personally, I'd like to keep dens together as a group when practical, but boys and parents are free to decide what they are comfortable doing together. There are certainly clingy boys or those new to camping who may prefer sleeping in a tent with a parent, and that's fine with me.


This year, our Tiger and Wolf Den will be responsible for our Saturday afternoon snack, the Webelos Den responsible for making dinner (probably spaghetti), and the Bear Den responsible for Sunday breakfast of hotcakes and sausage.


I like to take advantage of the den structure for organizing parents as well as Cub Scouts when practical.(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

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DS - the issues you describe in your opening post are not gender specific. They are program specific, and illustrate a Boy Scout Troop that did not fully/completely/clearly explain the differences between Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting to a new parent, and a new Scout.


I did wonder about the program, and leaders, in your son's Troop when, in a post of yours on another discussion, you told how you regularly shared your son's tent, and how, on one particular trip, you shared not only your tent, but your sleeping bag with your son and another Scout who was down to only his wet unders.


That sort of thing has nothing to do with "female-male wired" behaviors, and everything to do with untrained adults.

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I think that women are much more inclined to allow boys to make their own decisions and to allow boys handle tasks without hovering and micromanaging. Men tend to have a need to constantly supervise and insist that things are done exactly how they woudl do them rather then letting the boys try and fail, succeed, try again.


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You really shared your tent with your son in BSing??????


Guess it depends on how ya raise your kids........


My son has never slept with me in cubs or BSing. He had a cub sized, marmot limelight 2, tent that he would invite another scout to share. As a wolf he and his friend set it up on their own and took it down.....I had to refold and roll it so it would fit in the bag more often than not, but what the heck they were trying......by bear year he/they could do it on their own successfully.


Nor has my daughter........she has a 2 man MSR tent that she and a friend share....same deal she can set it up and tear it down no problem.....she is 11. She is tougher and has more nights camping and backpacking than most boy scouts......


They are completely independent and self sufficient....



You know, I wouldn't have it any other way....

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The troop I serve could use a few more trained parents and our main ASMs and the SM need to be re-trained, they all sleep with their sons. They are also all male. The moms that camp all sleep in their own tents and the boys in theirs with a friend or by themselves. The boys seldom put up or take down the tents. Our troop also has almost as many dads on a trip as they do boys.


I don't camp as often as I'd like due to my daughter, she can't come to BS camp and I don't want to ditch her every month for a weekend. My son and 2 of his firends are the only boys that regularly camp with out a parent in tow. As I said nearly all the parents are male.


All the dads in camp really messes up the dynamics. I'm sure all the parents there is why we have as many problems at camp as we have.

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In cub scouting when family camping, most families share a tent. They are scraping together what they can from their own family camping, or borrowing from a neighbor who family camps.


For Cubs or BS a parent can stay with their own child, but no other child (Youth protection). But for the good of the scout being excepted by their fellow scouts, it is not a very good idea.


Sleeping with a scout that was not your son went against Youth protection, especially if you had them in your own sleeping bag undies or fully clothed.. Worse, Worse, Worse.


Now after saying that I did know a mother who tented with her son, then sons when the younger joined during BS.. The troop really disliked it, and wanted to drum him out, worked real hard to..


But, there was something different about them. Child had anxiety attacks, whole family seemed scared. Later I found out that while they were in cub scouts a cub scout leader was arrest for a pedophile charge with the cubs. I did not know if the son was one of those cubs, but I think they were spooked for a reason.. After a few years, the boys started tenting without the parent.

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Vicki!!!! Where the heck are you????? If you're channeling 'sexist claptrap'...I'm about to unleash another volley.....


The only times I've EVER heard a boy scout, even the ones older than 17, called 'honey' or 'sweetie' or some other similar endearment....has been from female leaders. It's just an observation.

They're also the only leaders I've heard make comments about guys scratching their butts or crotches during outings and stuff, or eating with dirty hands, or..or.... The term "Prissy" just doesn't quite say it....just an observation, mind you.

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