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BSA after 6 decades of identity politics

eagle bans attrition

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#1 qwazse

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 05:14 AM

Someone gets sick of some adults across the country earning ranks. Result: bookwork badges suitable for school kids become required, field study badges become elective.
Someone pitches a fit over some scouter who lets a patrol hike with their girlfriends or over a girl making rank. Result: we don't really know who all of the Eagle Scouts in this country are.
Then someone hears about some godless kid in the ranks, and someone else makes a federal case about it. Result: public institutions are not to accommodate, making the organization increasingly beholden to some moral majority. Purges ensue.
The boys need more adult leaders, so women step forward, but women never had an opportunity to prove skills by making rank, so we create weekend training because, well, surely adults can learn in a day what it takes boys years.
Then someone in one part of the country gets all up in arms about activists in another part of the country riding on the organization's coat tails by touting an out and proud SM. Zealous men an women ask the now polarized organization to protect our boys.
Then someone wants us to sift boys for sexual persuasion like we sift adults.

Diminishing by a thousand cuts. So, like some lackluster cheerleading squad, scouters get deluded into thinking some of those cuts are what makes us special:

What people don't realize that if girls change, then everything the Boy Scouts ever stood for is gone and the new organization will be different.  It may be the same name, same awards, but the program will never be the same again. The first time a girl "get's her Eagle", she won't be getting the Boy Scout Eagle, she'll be getting the Boy-Girl Scout Eagle.  Not the same thing.


Pardon me, but I never really knew that I earned anything besides Eagle Scout. Nobody told me it was at all special because girls couldn't earn it.
Once I learned that men used to be able to earn it, it felt a little less special to me. All those SM/ASM who felt they were a little "less qualified" because they missed some opportunity in their youth. Why can't we say, "well, what's holding you back now?"
All those venturers to whom boys said, "Your Silver will never be as good as my Eagle." I know some SMs who would have liked to give those young women a handbook and say "Show them how it's done."

In fact, one SM quite proudly told me about having sisters work through the requirements even if national won't give them the rank. Compare to your vision Eagle milled boys, I think those girls add value to the badge because they want it's substance, not some line on a resume.

We can spout off about youth development, membership numbers, etc ... But don't think for a moment that any pride in my bling stems from it being a boys only (no men, no girls, no women, no godless) award.
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#2 Back Pack

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 07:41 AM

How many men earned Eagle after 18? 100 maybe? 200?

That number will pale in comparison if girls are allowed in.

It's not about girls and Eagle though. It's about having an outdoor program where guys can be with guys.

Girls want Scouting? Join Venturing. Girls want Eagle? Fine let Venturing earn Eagle. Good luck.
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#3 qwazse

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 08:52 AM

How many men earned Eagle after 18? 100 maybe? 200?
That number will pale in comparison if girls are allowed in.

"About 650" per http://adulteaglescout.com/.
We have no idea how the numbers in the USA would shake out. Ten or ten thousand, it still represents a valuation of identity over skill.

It's not about girls and Eagle though.

The quote Stosh gave makes clear it is as much about Eagle as anything else.

It's about having an outdoor program where guys can be with guys.

Having taken Venturers into the deep woods, and seeing them find plenty of opportunities for guys to be with guys; and girls, girls, and doing similar for occasional Jr. High Youth. I might be poisoned by "the bug juice." But I'm seeing the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates increasingly occur, when it occurs, independent of sex or faith, without the BSA.

Girls want Scouting? Join Venturing. Girls want Eagle? Fine let Venturing earn Eagle. Good luck.

Venturing offers no trail to First Class, if it did, gates would go up ... as quickly as they did when Chiefs tried to tap out their female venturing counterparts.

Maybe it is important for some boys to have an "identity shelter", and your neck of the woods may need just that. I have my own preferences in the paragons of virtue who advise my kids. But fretting about what someone does with the needs they see in their community in some other nook in the country ... it's making me feel like we've been played via the game of scouting.
I'd rather play the game.

Edited by qwazse, 25 February 2017 - 08:54 AM.

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#4 Stosh

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 09:14 AM

With all the membership changes (drop out the rank/Eagle argument) doesn't it change the whole scope and mission of Boy Scouts of America and all it's promotional branding?  Is it not logical to assume that it is iossible to have co-ed Boy Scouts?  Is this not why we have a program in the BSA that is not Boy Scouts but Venturing, LFL, Exploring, etc?

 

The Young Men's Christian Association has over the years have in fact pushed the Young Women's Christian Association out of existence?  To day the brand just says "the Y"  It is no longer male/female, nor is it Christian and there's no real association.  Members really don't "associate" as much as it is just a programmatic place to recreate.   They even have gone so far as to indicate they are a Family Y.  Now older people can join and they can just drop the Y eventually.   The Boys and Girls Clubs are at least a bit more honest about it in their branding.  As basically an after school day care, the family doesn't really mean much to them.  Yet even these organizations have sub groupings within their organizations.  Activities for boys, for girls, for families with vague lines differentiating them.  These "lines" are not set in regulatory stone like BSA's Cub, Boy, Venturing, LFL, and Exploring program.  But now the push is to allow the lines to become blurred just like they did with the Y.

 

Eventually BSA is headed in the direction of a semi-outdoors oriented Y and the only distinction between the two is the BSA program will expect uniforms and will promote and define "success" with bling and prestige rather than just hanging out with friends having fun at the Y.  I don't know as if that will be enough of a draw to compete with the Y.

 

It was 40 years ago I worked with troubled youth in the NYPUM program run by the YMCA.  NYPUM stands for National Youth Program Using Minibikes.  We rode minibikes, and as long as they did well in school and stayed out of trouble with the law, they could stay in the program.  I have no idea whatever happened to that program, but yes, we did go camping as a group many times and sat around the campfires at night talking about the problems they faced growing up.  It was co-ed.  Did we have trouble with the co-ed part?  Nope, they remembered that as long as they stayed out of trouble, they could stay in the program.  They policed themselves.


Edited by Stosh, 25 February 2017 - 09:30 AM.

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#5 bearess

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 11:25 AM

I know the YMCA does have origins as a youth program, but in my experience, it has always just been a gym. Occasionally they offer after school care as well. I don't really have a judgment on whether that is better or worse, but it is the reality.
As to changes, I guess it depends on what you see as the mission of BSA. as I've said on other threads, I think boys need a place to define themselves as men without girls around- otherwise their whole identity is wrapped up in performing for women.
However, the argument that any award is changed/lessened by the inclusion of females strikes me as absurd.
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#6 David CO

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 11:58 AM

I know the YMCA does have origins as a youth program, but in my experience, it has always just been a gym. Occasionally they offer after school care as well. I don't really have a judgment on whether that is better or worse, but it is the reality.
As to changes, I guess it depends on what you see as the mission of BSA. as I've said on other threads, I think boys need a place to define themselves as men without girls around- otherwise their whole identity is wrapped up in performing for women.
However, the argument that any award is changed/lessened by the inclusion of females strikes me as absurd.

 

The YMCA did not start out as a youth program.  The Young Men's Christian Association was started by George Williams as a group for young adult men.  YMCA grew out of the "muscular Christianity" movement of the mid 1800's.

 

Most people today associate the "Y" as just being a gym.  That's the problem.  Once it opened up to include more people, the YMCA lost its identity.  It lost its purpose.  It lost its values. Now it is just a gym.

 

I was once very involved in YMCA.  I am a graduate of a YMCA college. I believed in the YMCA, with its distinct identity, purpose, and values.  I was very much saddened to see it become just another gym.

 

I would also be saddened if BSA goes the same way. 


Edited by David CO, 25 February 2017 - 12:06 PM.

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#7 Stosh

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 03:00 PM

When my brother-in-law worked for the YMCA, 1970'1s, many of his "perks" for being the program director was he had many of the benefits given to clergy as if the organization was a church.  I don't know if that still holds true today.


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#8 qwazse

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 03:17 PM

When my brother-in-law worked for the YMCA, 1970'1s, many of his "perks" for being the program director was he had many of the benefits given to clergy as if the organization was a church.  I don't know if that still holds true today.

In college a Japanese friend told me about his time (would have been in the late 1970's) as a youth leader of his YMCA. He was asked to lead grace. He told me he had no clue what he was doing. I was pretty skeptical of cemeteries seminaries at the time, so I told him his prayer was no doubt as well received as that of most clergy. ;)


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#9 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 03:25 PM

When my brother-in-law worked for the YMCA, 1970'1s, many of his "perks" for being the program director was he had many of the benefits given to clergy as if the organization was a church.  I don't know if that still holds true today.

When I worked for the YMCA in the early to mid 1990s, that was not the case. It was another non-profit.


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#10 David CO

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 03:40 PM

When my brother-in-law worked for the YMCA, 1970'1s, many of his "perks" for being the program director was he had many of the benefits given to clergy as if the organization was a church.  I don't know if that still holds true today.

 

When I worked for the YMCA in the early to mid 1990s, that was not the case. It was another non-profit.

 

Both are correct.  YMCA was once a religious organization, but the religious nature of YMCA eroded in the 70's and 80's.  By the 90's, it was just a non-profit health club.

 

Most people now don't even know that YMCA originally had a religious purpose.  They will remember it simply as a gym.

 

This is exactly what some people want to happen to BSA.  They want to change the policies, rewrite our history, and pretend that Duty to God never existed in Scouting.


Edited by David CO, 25 February 2017 - 03:43 PM.

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#11 SSScout

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 07:13 PM

Christian Children's Fund became the Child Fund International so they could more easily include  non-Christian children in their efforts.  Same idea?  Or different?  


Edited by SSScout, 25 February 2017 - 07:14 PM.

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#12 Stosh

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 10:30 PM

I guess we could drop Law #12 and see what happens.......It's kinda being ignored anyway.  Then we could drop Boy out of the title and be Scouts of America.  Then we could petition Congress to alter the language in the Charter.  After all if simply changing the name is all it takes along with changing the mission and purpose, who knows it might be a good thing.  After all, Christian Men and their associations is no longer relevant to a gym.  A gym's a gym it doesn't care.


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#13 qwazse

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 07:07 AM

Well, my church has welcomed athiests, (and other non-Christians) and its creed hasn't changed and its numbers are strong. One or two of those athiests eventually committed their lives to Christ, but not all. They were all as welcome as long as they could stand us.

BSA's approach is simply not compatible with how the congregation sees reverence, and therefore has less value as a program for its youth. The premium is on programs that allow for evangelism, and step one in that process: open the door.

That's not to say brand dilution won't be a real concern, but I personally would feel more of a Christian in scouting if I could spend time talking to athiests about reverence than telling them not to waste time with an application.
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#14 Stosh

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 08:10 AM

If that be the case, then I guess BSA is going to have to change to accommodate them.

 

What one doesn't realize is that in a confrontation has 3 options. 

 

1) one side caves, (Co-ed Scouting, or Stay as is),

2) a third alternate is found (Scouting USA),  

3) Don't resolve it (Hatfields and McCoys). 


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#15 RememberSchiff

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 08:53 AM

If that be the case, then I guess BSA is going to have to change to accommodate them.

 

What one doesn't realize is that in a confrontation has 3 options. 

 

1) one side caves, (Co-ed Scouting, or Stay as is),

2) a third alternate is found (Scouting USA),  

3) Don't resolve it (Hatfields and McCoys). 

Well as we know, the BSA has had a policy of "avoiding confrontation" at all levels, so choice #1 seems in our future.


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#16 NJCubScouter

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 10:17 AM

Well as we know, the BSA has had a policy of "avoiding confrontation" at all levels, so choice #1 seems in our future.


I don't know you interpret the 30-year confrontation over the "gay policy", in which the BSA was actively involved on one side, as "avoiding confrontation." I don't think it's correct to look at the ultimate resolution of the issue, in which (in my opinion) the BSA made the correct decision, as "avoiding confrontation".

Another example is the BSA policy on religion. It seems LESS likely than it did, say 10 years ago, that the BSA will expressly make belief in a higher power or a religion "optional", despite the fact that it continues to be a subject of "confrontation".

I think the actual policy of the BSA is to take these issues in a case-by-case basis and pick their battles. The most recent example was when they decided that a person who identifies himself as a boy, whose parents and school accept him as a boy, can be accepted into a program for boys, in a unit that wants to accept him. Despite the reaction from some in this forum, it is not that big a deal. It does not necessarily mean Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts will become coed. They may at some point, but not because a kid from Secaucus NJ is allowed to be a Cub Scout.
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#17 Stosh

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 11:50 AM

 Despite the reaction from some in this forum, it is not that big a deal. It does not necessarily mean Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts will become coed. They may at some point, but not because a kid from Secaucus NJ is allowed to be a Cub Scout.

 

And here is the crux of the matter.  "Despite the reaction from some on this forum, it is not that big a deal."  One would think that multiple threads on this issue with hundreds of replies, way more than the average life of threads, that it just may be that big a deal?

 

"It does not necessarily mean Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts will become coed. They may at some point, but not because a kid from Secaucus NJ is allowed to be a Cub Scout."  One must realize that this is not just some "kid from Secaucus, NJ" this is a girl from Secaucus, NJ and with acceptance of her membership means Cub Scouts now accepts biological girls into their program.  Once she reaches 10-11, she will cross over to Boy Scouts and that program as well will accept girls. 

 

With this new policy change, they will now have to defend their position as to why some girls can be in Cub Scouts and not others.  Let's see how that all shakes out.  Hypocrisy can't hold it's water for very long.   The first point will be, if this girl is a "boy" why does it take both male and female leaders at events where "he" is at.  Hypocrisy is a really tough subject to defend.


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#18 Rick_in_CA

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 02:02 PM

The first point will be, if this girl is a "boy" why does it take both male and female leaders at events where "he" is at.  Hypocrisy is a really tough subject to defend.

Where does the BSA say this?


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#19 Stosh

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 04:35 PM

Where does the BSA say this?

 

Biological girls and biological boys on a scouting activity must have at least one male and one female adults present.  If the participants are biologically different, I surely under no circumstances would risk my 38 years in scouting on a girl whose parents haven't figured out whether they have a son or daughter having read the birth certificate.  

 

I may be an out-dated SM, but I'm not going to get caught up in the "he touched me" argument in a court of law.  I need a bit of up-front honesty prior to taking on situations like this.

 

BSA can say anything it wants, it's got the Big Bucks donations to defend itself, I don't.

 

"Other people" can figure this out, until then, I'm not part of the problem, I'm not part of the solution.  I work with young boys transitioning into men.  I'm not at all interested in young girls transitioning into men.  If my CO decides this is how it defines it's mission for the troop, then they can get a new leader who is willing to go along with it.  Until then, it's business as usual.

 

So to answer the question directly.  IT DOESN"T which seems to make one wonder how much thought went into the change in the first place.  It's always better to have all the safeguards in place before driving the truck out onto the ice.


Edited by Stosh, 26 February 2017 - 04:39 PM.

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#20 RememberSchiff

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 06:50 AM

I don't know you interpret the 30-year confrontation over the "gay policy", in which the BSA was actively involved on one side, as "avoiding confrontation." I don't think it's correct to look at the ultimate resolution of the issue, in which (in my opinion) the BSA made the correct decision, as "avoiding confrontation".

Another example is the BSA policy on religion. It seems LESS likely than it did, say 10 years ago, that the BSA will expressly make belief in a higher power or a religion "optional", despite the fact that it continues to be a subject of "confrontation".

I think the actual policy of the BSA is to take these issues in a case-by-case basis and pick their battles. The most recent example was when they decided that a person who identifies himself as a boy, whose parents and school accept him as a boy, can be accepted into a program for boys, in a unit that wants to accept him. Despite the reaction from some in this forum, it is not that big a deal. It does not necessarily mean Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts will become coed. They may at some point, but not because a kid from Secaucus NJ is allowed to be a Cub Scout.

 

My point is the BSA will not openly discuss program changes, council mergers/camp closures, releasing the pervert list, membership policy changes, financial transparency, and ... as they want to avoid confrontation. They just manage reactive decisions when faced with legal action.

 

My $0.02


Edited by RememberSchiff, 27 February 2017 - 07:03 AM.

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