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#1 qwazse

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 08:44 AM

While canoeing a couple of junior Girl Scouts through flooded savannah, between sawgrass, and toward a white crane, letting them dip their hands in the water (because that's what crazy great uncles heedless of snakes and gators do), I once again heard the refrain "Boy Scouts are more fun than Girl Scouts."
These two have slightly older brothers so they've been to pack events and have seen the oldest come back from troop events.

Of course that was while canoeing downwind. After having to work and slog upwind, they may have given me a different opinion if they weren't so tired! ;)

I don't propose to understand the nuances in GSUSA culture, but either there is something about the young female mind that is wired to say the grass is greener, or the field they are in needs to be reseeded!
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#2 sst3rd

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 11:21 AM

Qwazse,

 

    ".........the field they are in needs to be reseeded!"

 

 

 

I realize that everybody else is co-ed on all levels. Enjoy. Leave BSA alone. It will be destroyed if girls are allowed in the troops specifically. We've lost so much already.

 

 

sst3rd


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#3 CalicoPenn

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 11:22 AM

I've seen old film of Girl Scout encampments from the 30's, 40's and 50's - into the 70's - they were as robust and rugged as Boy Scout encampments.  The Girl Scouts I knew from school and the neighborhood when I was growing up could compare camping and hiking trips point for point with the Boy Scouts. 

 

We know that the Girl Scouts have changed - they've changed in response to what their market wants - and unfortunately, that leaves girls with crazy great uncles who like what the Boy Scouts do out of the loop.

 

The Boy Scouts of America has been trying to figure out a way to re-invent themselves to make them more attractive to more people, while trying not to lose the outdoors experiences that the volunteers want, but has never been successful at it - I fear that the new STEM initiative is doomed for failure as well - the BSA is trying to please too many constituencies and is failing at it (and I'm NOT talking about the political stuff - let's NOT go there - I'm talking about the programmatical stuff).

 

I have a modest proposal (modest likely to defined as radical by a lot of people):  It's time to merge the two programs together - we're beyond needing Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA - it's time for Scouting USA.  Within this now combined organization, we can create divisions (in much the way the BSA has already done with the BSA and Learning for Life).  The Boy Scout program can be the basis of a division that concentrates on outdoor programming - the camping and hiking and adventure trips that people love about the BSA - this division would absorb the BSA rank advancement program - The Eagle Scout can still be earned - but now it can be earned by girls as well because the entire program will be co-ed.  The Girl Scout program would get split a bit more.  Most of the program can be merged further into an enhanced Learning for Life career exploration program - the Girl Scout awards can be tweaked to meet the needs of such a program.  A good portion of the Girl Scout program is already touching on STEM so we use that part of the program to create a STEM division - and create a new set of awards for that.

 

In all three programs, Merit Badges would still be part of the program - and I suggest merging the badges of the BSA and the GS-USA into one program that all three divisions tap in to.  Eagle Scout rank could still  have their required badges.  Gold Award would have theirs.  The top STEM would have theirs - but anyone, from any of the three divisions, could earn any of the other merit badges as electives.  In this way, we give the STEM Scout who really wants to concentrate on STEM activities but may also want to add some outdoor experiences, and opportunity to do so - as an example.

 

Of course, this is made with the assumption that these divisions are open to youth 11 and above.  For youth 14 and above, resurrect the old Exploring program that had already allowed for a diverse range of interests, with their own advancement programs and merge in the Senior level of the GS-USA and Venturing.  I see Learning for Life as a continuum from 11 to 20 so I wouldn't merge the older youth into Exploring.  For Cub Scouts, Daisy Scouts and Brownie Scouts, I would suggest 3 departments within their own division - One department would be an all-male Cub Scouts, one an all-female Brownie Scouts (with the Daisy's name being folded into Brownies) and a third co-ed "Starfish" Scouts (or whatever else you want to name it) to give sponsors and parents a choice of where to go.


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#4 blw2

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 12:17 PM

One thing about GSUSA that I personally don't like as a dad, but I have to admit it's a good thing.

They, well at least in my daughter's troop, don't involve parents much in meetings and outings.  To the point that I don't feel welcomed and parents are specifically excluded from most camps.

 

My daughter was a daisey and now in the 2nd grade is a brownie. 

 

They don't camp much and when they do it seems to be more of cabin sleepovers, but what they do breeds independance a bit I guess.

 

I used to think it was because I'm dad and not mom, reverse sexism and all.... but I'm not so sure.  For her camp coming up it's specifically stated parents are not welcome.... she's the same age as our WOLF Cubs!  

Can you imagine us getting away with that?

they do have some family events, but most seem to be girls and leaders only, more or less.

 

I was going to sit in on part of a meeting once when i dropped her off at the church.  I sort of hung in the back of the room with my younger daughter to observe a few minutes.  They were doing some sort of gathering activity craft thing.... the leaders looked like I had three eyes, and they nice told me what time I could pick her up!

 

I see it as good because it helps the girls have independance, although I think it starts a bit too young..

& it's also good because it keeps out the adult drama that is plaguing the BSA!

 

Another good point about their structure, that I didn't quite understand until recently, is they really are using the patrol method better, I think, than many BSA troops.  For the girls, it seems that every troop is really a stand-alone patrol.  They seem to be small groups that stick together through the program.

 

Downsides include

the topic brought up by the OP

and lack of consistency between one troop and the next, with what seems like no coherency in the program.


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#5 qwazse

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 02:55 PM

I'm not trying to make a case for merging, or for co-Ed scouting. I'm not even thinking daisies or juniors camp more.

But, whatever vision of the program gets passed down to the girls, many are not proud of it!

Simple example: almost everywhere, every cub every year builds a pinewood derby car. The whole process is full of pomp and circumstance. It's just a dumb car ... but over five years, those five cars show a trajectory of improvement and innovation that no patch can replace. What do Brownies and Daisies do that they can be proud of and improve upon year after year?

Like @blw2 said, they work the patrol method pretty well, but ...
With the cadets and seniors ... It seems like there are adult filters that go up and many GS moms talk the girls out of outdoor adventure. (Those of you who don't, bless you. But how many of your fellow leaders balk when you even suggest they make your program as outdoor oriented as yours?) The younger girls -- especially those with older siblings -- see what's in store and don't look forward to it.
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#6 SSScout

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 02:04 PM

I had an adult female leader (In GSUSA and BSA) tell me this story:

 

She was a Cub leader, took BALOO, organized Pack overnights and GSTroop overnights.  She said it was not at all unusual for other moms to come to her and congratulate her for taking the boys/girls out, "braving the elements", "putting up with the primitive",  "dealing with the creepy crawlies/animals/bugs/dirt/lack of plumbing/poor food/ etc."   She told me she could not convince these ladies that she ENJOYED all that, being away from the usual, making do with out "stuff",  being independent of electricity.... 

She'll be taking IOLS and Woodbadge in due course...


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#7 SeattlePioneer

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 03:00 PM

<<I was going to sit in on part of a meeting once when i dropped her off at the church.  I sort of hung in the back of the room with my younger daughter to observe a few minutes.  They were doing some sort of gathering activity craft thing.... the leaders looked like I had three eyes, and they nice told me what time I could pick her up!>> 

 

 

 

Off the cuff,  I think I'd look any such adult in the face and ask them what they are trying to HIDE from parents and adults.  If that didn't get the point across,  I'd tell them that due to the hazards of adults molesting children in youth programs,  you want to be in a position to observe the program.

 

 

I'd be interested to see how that went over.


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#8 Stosh

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 10:57 AM

Not all boys enjoy camping.  A lot of girls do.

 

Boy Scouts aren't for everyone, that also means not all boys.

 

Girl Scouts aren't for everyone, that also means not all girls.

 

It all depends on what the market bears for these organizations.

 

I happen to love the outdoors.  My first wife tolerated it, my second wife used to be a team supervisor for the National Forestry Service in Alaska, her children all put themselves through college doing commercial salmon fishing while in Alaska.   At times it's kinda hard keeping up with her.......  Her last two Christmas gifts from her children was a new kayak last year and a new tent this year.  My wife was a Daisy for one year.


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There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#9 Ankylus

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 10:04 AM

I've seen old film of Girl Scout encampments from the 30's, 40's and 50's - into the 70's - they were as robust and rugged as Boy Scout encampments.  The Girl Scouts I knew from school and the neighborhood when I was growing up could compare camping and hiking trips point for point with the Boy Scouts. 

 

We know that the Girl Scouts have changed - they've changed in response to what their market wants - and unfortunately, that leaves girls with crazy great uncles who like what the Boy Scouts do out of the loop.

 

The Boy Scouts of America has been trying to figure out a way to re-invent themselves to make them more attractive to more people, while trying not to lose the outdoors experiences that the volunteers want, but has never been successful at it - I fear that the new STEM initiative is doomed for failure as well - the BSA is trying to please too many constituencies and is failing at it (and I'm NOT talking about the political stuff - let's NOT go there - I'm talking about the programmatical stuff).

 

I have a modest proposal (modest likely to defined as radical by a lot of people):  It's time to merge the two programs together - we're beyond needing Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA - it's time for Scouting USA.  Within this now combined organization, we can create divisions (in much the way the BSA has already done with the BSA and Learning for Life).  The Boy Scout program can be the basis of a division that concentrates on outdoor programming - the camping and hiking and adventure trips that people love about the BSA - this division would absorb the BSA rank advancement program - The Eagle Scout can still be earned - but now it can be earned by girls as well because the entire program will be co-ed.  The Girl Scout program would get split a bit more.  Most of the program can be merged further into an enhanced Learning for Life career exploration program - the Girl Scout awards can be tweaked to meet the needs of such a program.  A good portion of the Girl Scout program is already touching on STEM so we use that part of the program to create a STEM division - and create a new set of awards for that.

 

In all three programs, Merit Badges would still be part of the program - and I suggest merging the badges of the BSA and the GS-USA into one program that all three divisions tap in to.  Eagle Scout rank could still  have their required badges.  Gold Award would have theirs.  The top STEM would have theirs - but anyone, from any of the three divisions, could earn any of the other merit badges as electives.  In this way, we give the STEM Scout who really wants to concentrate on STEM activities but may also want to add some outdoor experiences, and opportunity to do so - as an example.

 

Of course, this is made with the assumption that these divisions are open to youth 11 and above.  For youth 14 and above, resurrect the old Exploring program that had already allowed for a diverse range of interests, with their own advancement programs and merge in the Senior level of the GS-USA and Venturing.  I see Learning for Life as a continuum from 11 to 20 so I wouldn't merge the older youth into Exploring.  For Cub Scouts, Daisy Scouts and Brownie Scouts, I would suggest 3 departments within their own division - One department would be an all-male Cub Scouts, one an all-female Brownie Scouts (with the Daisy's name being folded into Brownies) and a third co-ed "Starfish" Scouts (or whatever else you want to name it) to give sponsors and parents a choice of where to go.

 

Count me in the camp (ah, a pun...no pun intended) that considers this "radical". However, I don't consider that to be a criticism in and of itself. Sometimes "radical" is what is needed. I just don't think this is the time or place. At least not yet.

 

For one thing, from a purely practical standpoint, I think there are too many vested interests in the BSA and the GS-USA and too many political ideologues to really let it happen in any effective way.  And these people are both inside and outside the respective programs.

 

For another, I think it would be almost impossible to create and maintain a successful program. There are significant difference between the two organizations that are largely, as you note, a function of catering to their consumers. How do you reconcile those varying interests into a single program? You already note that the BSA has a problem because of its efforts to be all things to all people while failing at it. How much more pronounced would those problems be in the merged entity?

 

And how does one design, maintain, and manage the assets of the two organizations? This is most pronounced with camps. From my limited experience through my daughters experience with Girl Scouting, almost all girl scout camps have cabins, many of them climate controlled with beds. (I think there may have been one exception.) All scout camps I have been too expect tent camping and do not have cabins for overnight camping. Again, these kinds of differences are a function of the wants/needs of their constituents. So how does one reconcile this? My guess is one or both of those constituencies will get the short end of the stick.

 

If this is a goal, it could much more easily be implemented in some kind of "Cooperation agreement" between/amongst the organizations. The agreement would permit access to each other's program and assets precisely in the manner you outline above without formally merging the organizations. Each organization would then be able to adopt the other's program in the manner and to the extent that they desire. This would permit greater flexibility in meeting their consumers' wants/needs from the program.

 

One thing I find intriguing about your proposal from an intellectual standpoint is that I think it is about 15-20 years ahead of its time. I think it is only a matter of time before BSA will be forced to go coed. At that point, it will be forced to change its program to accommodate that change in membership. It already sponsors the STEM scouts program. So when it goes coed, it will become something much like the merged entity you propose. The desirability and the wisdom of this change I will leave to another thread.

 

A second interesting point is that I think a "cooperation agreement" as mentioned above would be a beneficial intermediate step and would help ease BSA into these types of changes to its program.

 

I think if you have the patience and the time to wait a bit, you will see BSA evolve into something like your merged entity. I have no idea what effect that will have on GS-USA, though.


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#10 Ankylus

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 10:13 AM

I had an adult female leader (In GSUSA and BSA) tell me this story:

 

She was a Cub leader, took BALOO, organized Pack overnights and GSTroop overnights.  She said it was not at all unusual for other moms to come to her and congratulate her for taking the boys/girls out, "braving the elements", "putting up with the primitive",  "dealing with the creepy crawlies/animals/bugs/dirt/lack of plumbing/poor food/ etc."   She told me she could not convince these ladies that she ENJOYED all that, being away from the usual, making do with out "stuff",  being independent of electricity.... 

She'll be taking IOLS and Woodbadge in due course...

 

One of the primary reasons my daughter's GS troop disbanded is because men weren't welcome and none of the mothers were willing to go on the camping trips. A single data point, but I think it's not much of an outlier. 


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#11 Ankylus

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 10:17 AM

<<I was going to sit in on part of a meeting once when i dropped her off at the church.  I sort of hung in the back of the room with my younger daughter to observe a few minutes.  They were doing some sort of gathering activity craft thing.... the leaders looked like I had three eyes, and they nice told me what time I could pick her up!>> 

 

 

 

Off the cuff,  I think I'd look any such adult in the face and ask them what they are trying to HIDE from parents and adults.  If that didn't get the point across,  I'd tell them that due to the hazards of adults molesting children in youth programs,  you want to be in a position to observe the program.

 

 

I'd be interested to see how that went over.

 

I always noticed a distinctive vibe from the GS, from the organization, the volunteers, and the parents, that men were not welcome. It's like they think the men are all just perverts or potential molesters or something. That's fine, I don't want to be any place that I am not welcomed and I have enough commitments for my time. But I did miss being that part of my daughter's childhood and I think I had something to offer in the camping aspect of the program. As noted in another reply, none of the mothers wanted to take the girls camping. Well, if they had let the fathers do it, then the girls would have gotten to go camping. And perhaps my daughter's scouting experience would have been longer and richer. And I regret that for her.


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#12 Col. Flagg

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 10:22 AM

One of the primary reasons my daughter's GS troop disbanded is because men weren't welcome and none of the mothers were willing to go on the camping trips. A single data point, but I think it's not much of an outlier.

 
Yup. Despite being a fully trained Boy Scout and Venturing leader, I got the same reception. Daughter dropped after Brownies and hung out with the Cubs and Boy Scouts. She can still tie a one-handed bowline better than any other Scout.
 

I always noticed a distinctive vibe from the GS, from the organization, the volunteers, and the parents, that men were not welcome. It's like they think the men are all just perverts or potential molesters or something. That's fine, I don't want to be any place that I am not welcomed and I have enough commitments for my time.

 

I always found them hypocritical in that regard. So accepting of others UNLESS you are a heterosexual man. Then you must be some lurid loser for wanting to spend time with young girls. Never gave them my time or money...not even for their cookies.


Edited by Col. Flagg, 06 April 2017 - 10:24 AM.

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#13 Stosh

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 12:47 PM

I love the GS/USA thin mints so much I learned how to make them on my own.  :)  That way I get them year-around.


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#14 EagleonFire

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 10:04 PM

They don't have to.
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#15 gumbymaster

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 12:09 PM

While I am sure that a suspicion of a predatory aspect - going hand in hand with being male :mellow:, is part of the unwelcoming position.  I believe that a large part of it is also that part of the point of Girl Scouts is also to teach the Girls that they can do it on their own, to empower them, to know that they do not have to have a man do things for them.

 

So on the occasions when I have been asked to teach something to my daughter's troop (usually camping or scoutcraft related), I have always tried to be mindful of this aspect.  Particularly in having the girls (or mothers) help each other whenever possible.

 

This was even prevalent one time when my son was asked to demonstrate setting up a tent for them, one of the girls even said "why do we need boys to show us that", which was true, since I knew that some of the girls have camped and set up tents before.


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#16 Ankylus

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 12:59 PM

While I am sure that a suspicion of a predatory aspect - going hand in hand with being male :mellow:, is part of the unwelcoming position.  I believe that a large part of it is also that part of the point of Girl Scouts is also to teach the Girls that they can do it on their own, to empower them, to know that they do not have to have a man do things for them.

 

So on the occasions when I have been asked to teach something to my daughter's troop (usually camping or scoutcraft related), I have always tried to be mindful of this aspect.  Particularly in having the girls (or mothers) help each other whenever possible.

 

This was even prevalent one time when my son was asked to demonstrate setting up a tent for them, one of the girls even said "why do we need boys to show us that", which was true, since I knew that some of the girls have camped and set up tents before.

 

 

Then they better get busy and find some women who want to take the girls camping. I understand your point, but it ain't happening with the outdoor program.


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#17 Col. Flagg

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 01:31 PM

I believe that a large part of it is also that part of the point of Girl Scouts is also to teach the Girls that they can do it on their own, to empower them, to know that they do not have to have a man do things for them.


And having a man involved can't help them to realize that goal?

 

Gee, imagine if the BSA said the goal of making men out of boys meant not having women around to impede that advancement were our narrative. The media and liberals would have a field day. But since we're just talking about "men" it's okay? C'mon. Either it's okay or not okay. It's not situational...or at least should not be.


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#18 bsaggcmom

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 07:09 PM

Spring break is just finishing up in my neck of the woods. My GS troop spent it backpacking a section of the AT trail in North Carolina/Tennessee. The BSA troop did nothing. Couldn't even get a few boys out to help on a couple of Eagle Projects during the week. Girls trekked through rain, sleet, snow, then high temps and lots of mud. Boys didn't do much that I know of. A couple went on family vacations, rest were on their rumps. So I'd say my girls had more fun and bragging rights too.

BTW - 2 out of 3 of the adults on the AT were Dads hiking with their daughters. For one Dad this was his second doing an AT section with the same troop.

My troop has no issue with Dads helping out. EMT hubby and lifeguard son have taught first aid and water safety to the girls. Hubby of head leader (a card carrying lifetime GS member) has taught woodworking, knots and fire building among other things to the girls. IMHO, GSUSA doesn't have issues with men, but they'd rather women be the lead. My council even has a guy as one of its employees, in a position similar to a DE in the BSA system.

But it has been noted that I don't have a 'normal' GSUSA troop either.
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#19 Ankylus

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 08:59 AM

Spring break is just finishing up in my neck of the woods. My GS troop spent it backpacking a section of the AT trail in North Carolina/Tennessee. The BSA troop did nothing. Couldn't even get a few boys out to help on a couple of Eagle Projects during the week. Girls trekked through rain, sleet, snow, then high temps and lots of mud. Boys didn't do much that I know of. A couple went on family vacations, rest were on their rumps. So I'd say my girls had more fun and bragging rights too.

BTW - 2 out of 3 of the adults on the AT were Dads hiking with their daughters. For one Dad this was his second doing an AT section with the same troop.

My troop has no issue with Dads helping out. EMT hubby and lifeguard son have taught first aid and water safety to the girls. Hubby of head leader (a card carrying lifetime GS member) has taught woodworking, knots and fire building among other things to the girls. IMHO, GSUSA doesn't have issues with men, but they'd rather women be the lead. My council even has a guy as one of its employees, in a position similar to a DE in the BSA system.

But it has been noted that I don't have a 'normal' GSUSA troop either.

 

I wish my daughter could have been in your troop. Thank you.


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#20 gumbymaster

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 01:28 PM

And having a man involved can't help them to realize that goal?

 

Gee, imagine if the BSA said the goal of making men out of boys meant not having women around to impede that advancement were our narrative. The media and liberals would have a field day.

 

You and I both know from the I&P forums that there are many here, and in BOY scouting in general, that would subscribe to that philosophy if they could.

 

I prefer the concept of have an expert teach me so I can also be an expert (gender aside); the Girl scouts seem to prefer the "Proof"/example that women/girls can do it, when they teach the girls.


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