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Push for Coed Scouting


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#41 Col. Flagg

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 04:22 PM

I've been hearing the "boys become men" thing more often lately. Where is that coming from? Is that documented anywhere? 

 

I was under the impression that the aims of scouting were (and still are) character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. 

 

And none of those things are exclusive to one gender. 

 

Try Scouting for Boys or Aids to Scoutmastership by Baden-Powell. He talks specifically about boys becoming men through the adventures in scouts. He also points out a few times that girls have their own organization which teach the same principles of scouting, albeit geared toward girls. And he wasn't being sexist or demeaning if you read what he meant about those differences.


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#42 EmberMike

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 04:27 PM

Why does everyone assume that coed scouts means every unit, at every level, will be coed? 

 

 

Much like the fears people have about gay members overrunning units and transgender kids lined up outside a CO's doors, the idea that girls will immediately inundate the BSA with membership forms is unfounded and blown way out of proportion. I think we'd see a lot of girls joining, but but certainly not at every unit and level. 

 

 

Would an all girls scout troop using the BSA model work?

 

I think so. Off the top of my head I can't think of any aspect of the program that would be prohibitive to girls. 

 


...The girls can sing songs around their campfire while the boys beat the tar out of each other around their campfire.

 

You know your choice of gender roles here is kind of funny, right? This is the BSA, singing songs around the campfire is a very "boy" thing to do.  :laugh:


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#43 MattR

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 04:39 PM

Funny? This is based on experience. The girls were singing Christmas songs and the boys were wrestling.


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#44 EmberMike

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 04:45 PM

Try Scouting for Boys or Aids to Scoutmastership by Baden-Powell. He talks specifically about boys becoming men through the adventures in scouts. He also points out a few times that girls have their own organization which teach the same principles of scouting, albeit geared toward girls. And he wasn't being sexist or demeaning if you read what he meant about those differences.

 

 

I've read those and other BP writings. He wrote some of that stuff over a century ago. And I know it's the basis for everything we do but I've read those books as fun looks back at how things started. There's a lot of stuff in those books that we don't do at all today.

 

Our methods have changed over the decades and one constant I've found in numerous modern takes on Scouting is character development. That's the modern standard for the goals and aims of the program above all else. 

 

I have a lot of respect for what BP thought about youth growing and becoming men, but I don't see what place that has in deciding policy today in a program that has long since embraced a much broader sense of purpose. And also is partially co-ed already. Using phrasing like "boys becoming men" isn't in the spirit of Scouting today when we've got Venturing and now the co-ed STEM program. 


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#45 EmberMike

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 04:48 PM

Funny? This is based on experience. The girls were singing Christmas songs and the boys were wrestling.

 

In the numerous campfire experiences I've had with different packs, troops and across different districts, a lot of groups do songs around the campfire. Many units sing a lot of the same ones, too. 


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#46 Stosh

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 04:54 PM

My bad....

 

Girl Guides were started by Lord Baden-Powell and his sister Agnes Baden-Powell because girls wanted into the program.  Lord Baden-Powell's answer to that - have a separate program oriented for girls with the same goals as the boys.  The WAGGGS still is single gender female after 100+ years as envisioned by BP, but the boy side caved and went co-ed. So where the female program has stayed loyal to it's heritage, the male program has not.


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#47 Stosh

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 04:57 PM

 

I have a lot of respect for what BP thought about youth growing and becoming men, but I don't see what place that has in deciding policy today in a program that has long since embraced a much broader sense of purpose. And also is partially co-ed already. Using phrasing like "boys becoming men" isn't in the spirit of Scouting today when we've got Venturing and now the co-ed STEM program. 

 

But It would be safe to assume that respect for the male scout program isn't there anymore.  The female scout program he started is still in tact today following the program set down by BP.  They didn't seem to need to alter course to accommodate any of the societies it is associated with around the world.


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#48 Col. Flagg

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 05:00 PM

I have a lot of respect for what BP thought about youth growing and becoming men, but I don't see what place that has in deciding policy today in a program that has long since embraced a much broader sense of purpose. And also is partially co-ed already. Using phrasing like "boys becoming men" isn't in the spirit of Scouting today when we've got Venturing and now the co-ed STEM program. 

 

You asked for where the concept of boys having their own place to learn and grow was written. I directed you to the primary source for the program. There are others. You can read papers on the subject all over, so I won't bother to cite them here.

 

While written over a century ago, the need for boys to have their own place to learn and grow is just as important today as it was back then. Boy Scouts is one of the last places for this development to take place. Boys choose to join scouts for this very reason, among others. Boys want to be around other guys to hang out, go on outdoor adventures, etc.

 

From an infrastructure perspective, Scouting is not geared for a wholesale change to its membership. It is hard enough to find female facilities at most council camps. They are not like Philmont where there are sex-based flush toilets and showers. Most camps are trap toilets and cold showers...many still communal showers. Camps would either have to build more facilities OR they'd have to time-slot shower and toilet usage. Good luck.

 

I won't even bring up the issue of transgender men wanting to use the female facilities. I'll bet *that* won't go over well when the shoe is on that foot.

 

If there were no other places for girls to go, one *might* have an argument for opening up Boy Scouts...or at very least starting a similar program. Not only do girls have GSUSA, they have Venturing, Varsity, STEM, etc., not to mention a myriad of other non-scouting programs. In contrast, there are very few boy-only programs left anymore. I would argue that, in this day and age of gender nullification and privilege shaming, boys need a place to get away and just enjoy a non-polarized environment...a place they can just relax without worrying about their (x) privilege infringing on someone.

 

So one has to ask: Why MUST we open Boy Scouts? Is it for Eagle? Is it for something else?


Edited by Col. Flagg, 13 February 2017 - 05:00 PM.

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#49 Stosh

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 05:10 PM

So one has to ask: Why MUST we open Boy Scouts? Is it for Eagle? Is it for something else?

 

That's an easy question.  If girls have been wanting into Scouting since the beginning and BP set up two programs one oriented to boys and same program oriented to girls, it's taken a mere 100+ years of political posturing and whining to get the boys to cave.  The Girl Guides/Girl Scouts are doing very well without having to succumb to political agendas of a few.

 

I think WAGGGS' membership worldwide female only runs about 10 million, I might be wrong on that, maybe someone knows.


Edited by Stosh, 13 February 2017 - 05:11 PM.

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#50 TAHAWK

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 05:13 PM

With that kind of argument, I almost feel myself start to lean more toward making packs and troops co-ed.  I'm not there yet, though.

 Why is that?


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#51 TAHAWK

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 05:15 PM

Co-ed does cut out the very heart of the program though, which is to help BOYS become better MEN. Do we have to put girls into this kind of a program?


THE AIMS AND METHODS OF BOY SCOUTING

The Scouting program has three specific objectives, commonly referred to as the "Aims of Scouting." They are character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness.


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#52 TAHAWK

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 05:19 PM

Try Scouting for Boys or Aids to Scoutmastership by Baden-Powell. He talks specifically about boys becoming men through the adventures in scouts. He also points out a few times that girls have their own organization which teach the same principles of scouting, albeit geared toward girls. And he wasn't being sexist or demeaning if you read what he meant about those differences.

 

And he wanted the adults to appoint the boy leaders.


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#53 Col. Flagg

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 05:30 PM

And he wanted the adults to appoint the boy leaders.

 

I didn't see that in either of the above books. I saw it say that the PL should be appointed, but it was not clear if he was attributing that act of appointment to the patrol or an adult.


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#54 TAHAWK

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 05:48 PM

I didn't see that in either of the above books. I saw it say that the PL should be appointed, but it was not clear if he was attributing that act of appointment to the patrol or an adult.

In BP's language the "officer" who was to appoint the PLs is what we call a Scoutmaster and they now call the Group Leader.  Scouting for Boys, Part I at pp.20 and 35.


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#55 Stosh

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 05:59 PM

In military lingo, the PL's used to be called "corporals", the NCO that took a small "patrol" out for reconnaissance.  The "officers" would be the commissioned officers, i.e."leaders".  (Just trying to put myself in the military structure of the armies at the turn of the century.)


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#56 Stosh

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 06:15 PM

Just another thought.....

 

If BP wanted to make his scouting program co-ed because of the pressure from females wanting to join, why did he start out with the two separated?/  Kinda makes one wonder the intent of his vision.


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#57 TAHAWK

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 06:28 PM

Hardly a surprise, he was a Lt. General.  Since when do squads elect their squad leader?

 

Bill was not a military man and came from a less-stratified society.  He argued eloquently for election in The Patrol Method, a pamphlet issued under West's name but clearly written by Bill.


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#58 Stosh

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 06:44 PM

In reading early scout literature, the boy led, patrol method in America didn't seem to reflect the military tone of the original BP format.  The patrols were very autonomous with the boys going off to camp early in the week and the adults coming to check on them on the weekends.  Otherwise they spent most of the summer at camp.

 

Later literature had same patrol autonomy but structured camps run by adult administration of the camp.  Camp commissioners would test out and pass the scouts at that time to the next rank.


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#59 TAHAWK

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 07:05 PM

BP on role of PL in camp: "In supreme charge, responsible for assigning duties and seeing that they are carried out."


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#60 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 01:28 AM

Just another thought.....

 

If BP wanted to make his scouting program co-ed because of the pressure from females wanting to join, why did he start out with the two separated?/  Kinda makes one wonder the intent of his vision.

 

Quite simple on that one. Scouting for Boys was written and the Scout and Guide movements started in Edwardian England. The idea that men and women would have the same rights, the same lives, the same social position as each other was unthinkable. The idea that men and women could have purely pleutonic relationships was also unthinkable, boys and girls mixing together would have been considered immoral. It was only a few years after the death of Queen Victoria and before the First World War swept away pretty much every social norm this country previously had.

 

I don't know want it did to the USA but it is difficult to under estimate the effect of the First World War on the UK and Europe. Forget the changes to national borders, I'm talking about the social changes. It led directly to votes for women, to women having jobs beyond the menial, to better education standards, to vastly better housing for the working classes, to the questioning by the ordinary man and woman of those considered their better. And the job the First World War started was finished off spectacularly by the Second World War.

 

As suggested by others, the separation of boys and girls in the early days of scouting simply represented societal norms of 110 years ago.


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