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How has the addition of girls affected Scouting in other countries?

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#21 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 09:17 AM

That's like me observing the greater numbers of western Pennsylvanian teens who hike and camp with their mates independent of BSA or GS/USA and betting BSA lifting it's ten-year-old ban on patrol overnights. Not gonna happen.

 

Unless ...

Venturing does a turnaround and becomes overwhelmingly popular, or

Major political upheaval and an opinion from POTUS, or

Market surveys show large segments of young males who will only participate in co-ed organizations, or

Boy Scouts start demanding that BSA open to girls.

 

Although I believe the last scenario the most likely after the next world jamboree, I don't see any of those scenarios making boots-on-the-ground leaders happy. We would likely follow the Brits' trajectory and loose many units until a new generation of leaders could be trained to fill their place.

I agree wit some and disagree with other points here.

 

I certainly agree that hosting the World Jamboree in 2019 will be highly influential. There will be an awful lot of both scouts and adults who will be exposed to coed scouting for the first time. Those who camp at the jamboree, the many more who will go on day trips, families who host others as part of home hospitality. And their friends. I would anticipate a greater acceptance of coed scouting following that.

 

If memory serves, and Ian may correct me if I am wrong, the admission of girls to all sections here followed a number of groups which just started unilaterally accepting girls. It was a bottom up movement among certain groups and HQ eventually went along with it. Certainly that was the impression I had, bare in mind I was only 13 so perfectly capable of getting the wrong end of the stick!

 

I think you may be over egging the pudding in terms of linking the drop in numbers in the UK with going coed. There was an element to it I would agree, a number of adult leaders who quit as they didn't like the way it was going. However, being a scout and Venture scout in that period I wasn't aware of a single youth member that quit because of it. The issue was more the program, the image and the terrible uniform for the many of my friends that quit while I kept going. That's not to say that you wouldn't have initial losses. Any organisation that goes through a fundamental change will suffer losses, either in protest at the change or before the change if it comes too late. Either way there would be fall out. Here in Cambridge a number of the university colleges saw academic staff resign in protest as one by one they were opened to women. Such is life.

 

If I were BSA HQ at the moment I would be steering clear. The impression I have is there are an awful lot wounds being licked following the settlement of the gay issue and making a fundamental change to the membership model is probably the last thing they want to get involved right now. Equally though that very issue, not wanting another fight, could result in a blind eye being turned to units having girls as unofficial members. I suspect that, one day, the change will be made. Across the world previously male only institutions of all sorts have only gone one way.


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#22 Eagledad

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 10:37 AM

My bet is before the end of 2017 we will see coed BSA pilot programs for cubs and scouts.  The number of units that are coed and being left alone by national seems to be growing.  I don't think it is a question of "if" but rather "when" 

 

  :) :(

I will take that bet. I'm reminded of the 15 or so years of posters coming and going on this forum who proclaimed that allowing gay scouts into the program would boost membership numbers significantly, even though evidence of other North American Scouting programs making the same membership changed showed otherwise.

 

After the beating the BSA took that led to the homosexual policy changes, National has no stomach at the moment to push for further major membership policy changes. They would not only be fighting an uphill battle against traditionalist (donations), the GSUSA would bring out the big guns against the BSA as well.

 

Barry


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#23 krypton_son

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 10:41 AM

I will take that bet. I'm reminded of the 15 or so years of posters coming and going on this forum who proclaimed that allowing gay scouts into the program would boost membership numbers significantly, even though evidence of other North American Scouting programs making the same membership changed showed otherwise.

 

After the beating the BSA took that led to the homosexual policy changes, National has no stomach at the moment to push for further major membership policy changes. They would not only be fighting an uphill battle against traditionalist (donations), the GSUSA would bring out the big guns against the BSA as well.

 

Barry

 

I have to agree with you, I don't see it happening.


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#24 MattR

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 01:55 PM

If it does happen, and the only reason they do it is to increase membership, then they're in for a surprise. It won't change much because that's not the issue. If it were than venture scouts would be growing. It's not about girls, or gays, or God, or STEM, or making a uniform that has a pocket for an mp3 player.

 

Boy scouts has an image problem that has become self fulfilling. That's why the numbers are going down. It's where you go to pad your resume for college. Nerds and preppies. Many scouts will say that's nonsense but that's the image. The BSA is playing to its strengths so they're naturally going to lean in that direction. STEM and FCFY? That's not appealing to many kids so why is there wonder that the numbers are going down? The kids it is appealing to is reinforcing the image.

 

I think they should take a careful look at every method and be honest about what is going right or wrong with it. Does it support fun, adventure, challenge and the aims of scouting? That will make it cool. If high adventure is so important and there are fewer adults that know the outdoors, then maybe having really expensive high adventure bases that are hard to get into is not helping. Their squirt gun rules are beyond stupid. Advancement shouldn't look like school so clean up the MBs so each one has a higher percentage of fun, adventure, or challenge and isn't geared just to 12 year olds. Simplify the uniform and make it uniform. Put more focus on patrol method, leadership, and just letting the scouts make their own decisions. There are a lot of adults that don't get it, solve that.

 

UK scouts is growing. There are waiting lists to get in. That sounds like a high class problem to me. How does the BSA get there? It seems to have started with a leader, that had a vision, that could stir things up and get things done. The change shouldn't be about third rail issues, it should be about making scouts cool again.


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#25 Rick_in_CA

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 02:11 PM

If I were BSA HQ at the moment I would be steering clear. The impression I have is there are an awful lot wounds being licked following the settlement of the gay issue and making a fundamental change to the membership model is probably the last thing they want to get involved right now. Equally though that very issue, not wanting another fight, could result in a blind eye being turned to units having girls as unofficial members. I suspect that, one day, the change will be made. Across the world previously male only institutions of all sorts have only gone one way.

I agree. Going coed will be a big change. One of the issues that will need to be addressed that you may not see in other countries is the "sexual predator" paranoia here in the US. Basically, every male is assumed to be a potential sexual predator by many. Especially a man without kids. Look at the resistance encountered by many men trying to help their daughter's GSUSA units. Or how many day care facilities effectively have a "no men allowed" policy. I have spoken to several male scouters that have said they won't be taking a coed unit out camping for fear of unfounded accusations - they will quit first. And I am not sure they are wrong to do so.

 

In the abstract, I think the BSA should be fully coed. But we don't live in an abstract world. In the modern USA ("Eek! A male!"), I'm not sure how workable it would be. Though Venturing appears to make it work - maybe that means it will work OK with younger scouts?


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#26 ianwilkins

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 03:33 AM

I agree. Going coed will be a big change. One of the issues that will need to be addressed that you may not see in other countries is the "sexual predator" paranoia here in the US. Basically, every male is assumed to be a potential sexual predator by many. 

 

Trust me, it's fairly paranoid in the UK too. Or rather, it is bad enough that it definitely puts some volunteers off. I still get stuff like "been away playing with the little children" every so often. Though I think it's better than it used to be. We definitely had a bad patch, well, probably tying in with the falling numbers. I think the parents are fairly happy as we've put quite a lot of effort into making sure parents know about police background checks and our child protection policies. And their kids are there having fun so it's easy to think the best.

 

Ian


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#27 ianwilkins

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 03:41 AM

UK scouts is growing. There are waiting lists to get in. That sounds like a high class problem to me. How does the BSA get there? It seems to have started with a leader, that had a vision, that could stir things up and get things done. The change shouldn't be about third rail issues, it should be about making scouts cool again.

 

Except the waiting lists are almost certainly a product of lack of leaders. I know of groups that could open Beavers Cubs and Scouts tomorrow, just from their waiting list, if they could magic the 6-9 leaders it would require.

 

On your second points, I agree entirely. The UK Beaver motto is "fun and friendship". Seems about right. Learning by doing. Learning as an adjunct to having fun with your mates.

 

Ian


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#28 krypton_son

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 08:13 AM

I think they should take a careful look at every method and be honest about what is going right or wrong with it. Does it support fun, adventure, challenge and the aims of scouting? That will make it cool. If high adventure is so important and there are fewer adults that know the outdoors, then maybe having really expensive high adventure bases that are hard to get into is not helping. Their squirt gun rules are beyond stupid. Advancement shouldn't look like school so clean up the MBs so each one has a higher percentage of fun, adventure, or challenge and isn't geared just to 12 year olds. Simplify the uniform and make it uniform. Put more focus on patrol method, leadership, and just letting the scouts make their own decisions. There are a lot of adults that don't get it, solve that.

 

Hit the nail on the head.  I couldn't have said it any better.


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#29 dilrod

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 10:14 AM

.... or making a uniform that has a pocket for an mp3 player.

 

 

 

I thought that was for cigarettes. Oops. :D


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#30 krypton_son

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 10:23 AM

I thought that was for cigarettes. Oops. :D

 

It's that kind of creative thinking that we need more of nowadays.


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#31 Stosh

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 10:43 AM

I have never seen an MP3 player in one of those pockets....  :)


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


#32 cchoat

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 03:48 PM

I have never seen an MP3 player in one of those pockets....  :)

How could you have seen anything in that pocket?  Most people found the easiest way to sew on a Position of Responcibility patch on the little pocket meant you sewed the darn thing shut.  


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"Let not the uniform police get you down."


#33 Stosh

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 04:38 PM

How could you have seen anything in that pocket?  Most people found the easiest way to sew on a Position of Responcibility patch on the little pocket meant you sewed the darn thing shut.  

Hmmmm, me thinks you don't like the pocket either.  :)

 

Usually the MP3 player has a wire running out of the pocket for the ear plugs.  Otherwise I just assume the lump there is the boy's cigarettes.


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Stosh

 

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


#34 krypton_son

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 08:52 AM

How could you have seen anything in that pocket?  Most people found the easiest way to sew on a Position of Responcibility patch on the little pocket meant you sewed the darn thing shut.  

 

 

Lol, I've always thought the same thing.  The pocket was always more for decoration than anything.  Once you sowed a patch onto it, it's worthless as a pocket.


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#35 Stosh

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 09:06 AM

If one were to slip a small notebook into the pocket before hand, it makes it quite easy to sew patches onto pockets.


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Stosh

 

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


#36 qwazse

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 09:09 AM

Lol, I've always thought the same thing.  The pocket was always more for decoration than anything.  Once you sowed a patch onto it, it's worthless as a pocket.

One year, my wife got me a coat, with a pocket in the sleeve of the outer-liner. Put my cell-phone in it.

What does this have to do with co-ed? Not much, except one female advisor who helped me chaperon my crew on a winter backpacking trip who was duly impressed when I answered the phone without unzipping my jacket.

 

BSA - all the right pockets on all the wrong gear.


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#37 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 08:33 AM

I think they got the pants pockets right...I have worn them on trips because I could put a booklet in the pocket. I always WANTED to like the 'smokes' pocket but never it never seemed to be the right 'home'. I tried a small MP3 player, paper, lighter, and compass. Didn't really work.

 

Agree there are many opinions to what is best but there really is an art to pocket design and placement. The poor design of many new packs keeps me soldiering on with my old one. 


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#38 vol_scouter

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 09:26 AM

So the only data that anyone has is on Scouting in the UK? I thought that in the past there were vigorous debates about the pros and cons of adding girls to Scouting with many spots about how it negatively affected membership in those countries. Should my conclusion be that there only in the UK was there a correlation and that one is complex? Does that in turn mean that adding girls will be net additional members?


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#39 qwazse

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 02:14 PM

So the only data that anyone has is on Scouting in the UK? I thought that in the past there were vigorous debates about the pros and cons of adding girls to Scouting with many spots about how it negatively affected membership in those countries. Should my conclusion be that there only in the UK was there a correlation and that one is complex? Does that in turn mean that adding girls will be net additional members?

 

Well, the other data point is from the US. Venturing has had a boom and bust cycle. So you might conclude that adding girls might give you some growth out of the novelty of the thing, then membership will plummet faster than any other. Of course, boys have the option of dropping out of venturing quite readily. So, there's no way of telling what they would do if they didn't like going coed but the segregated option was not readily available.

 

You could write the Baden-Powell Service Association and ask them to publish their membership statistics. But it speaks volumes that they have no recent press releases touting a groundswell in membership.

 

I have no data-driven reason to believe that going co-ed will increase membership, let alone stop BSA's losses.  In America there are some parents who would love their kids to have a co-ed scouting experience, but they are far outnumbered by parents who love the segregated model. Think about it, we here a story about one cluster of girls that appeals to participate in the MB program or one CO who encourages segregated unites to work together to the point they are co-ed on all but paper in the ENTIRE nation. As cool as we are, the ladies simply are no knocking down our doors to get in, and our boys aren't holding them open.

 

I figure any gains in membership that may be had, would not be had for decades.

 

Could that outlook change in a couple years? Maybe. But that would require unforeseen factors.


Edited by qwazse, 05 December 2016 - 02:17 PM.

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#40 NJCubScouter

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 10:10 AM

You could write the Baden-Powell Service Association and ask them to publish their membership statistics. But it speaks volumes that they have no recent press releases touting a groundswell in membership.


According to the Wikipedia article on BPSA (https://en.wikipedia...ice_Association): "Today the BPSA consists of 80 groups, with over 1,000 scouts in 35 states." The source for this is a podcast apparently from April 2016, so it is fairly recent. (I did not listen to the podcast.) There is no indication there of whether their numbers were higher or lower in the past.  But either way, it's a pretty small organization and it does not seem to have "caught on" with very many people.  (I have never heard of it outside this forum and the Wikipedia article I just looked at.)  I believe that their membership number probably does not tell us very much about what might happen if the BSA "went coed", whatever exactly that means.  For one thing, if the BSA "went coed" it would be in every newspaper (or online equivalent) in the country the next day, so everybody would know about it - many more people than have even heard of BPSA in the first place.


Edited by NJCubScouter, 06 December 2016 - 10:11 AM.

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