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Co-ed scouting overseas


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#1 Sentinel947

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 08:12 AM

I'd like to create a thread for the purpose of American Scouters asking questions to our foreign friends here. @Cambridgeskip and others? 

 

Please keep in mind that the current changes do not make the BSA exactly like the the UK. These changes in theory require separate gender dens at the cub level and troops at the troop level. This thread is to talk about program concerns, not political ones. Please use http://scouter.com/i...programs/page-7 the megathread to discuss the merits of the policy change. 

 

Thanks


Edited by Sentinel947, 12 October 2017 - 08:34 AM.

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#2 lakes_stu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 08:36 AM

UK Beaver Scout (our equivalent of your Tiger Cubs I think) Leader here. More than happy to help with any concerns or questions where I can.


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#3 RememberSchiff

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 08:40 AM

@lakes_stu thanks for joining in. With the addition of girls, what new did you ask/require of parents in protecting scouts and supporting your program?


Edited by RememberSchiff, 12 October 2017 - 08:48 AM.
Clumsy editting on my part. Need coffee.

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#4 Hawkwin

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 08:42 AM

I am sure one of the first questions that comes up, what changed when you added girls? Did any of the standards get eased? Are there now more girl-focused (or girl stereotyped) merit badges or activities?

 

What challenged did you face on recruit more moms to participate?

 

What impact did this have on Girl Scouts?


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#5 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:02 AM

I am sure one of the first questions that comes up, what changed when you added girls? Did any of the standards get eased? Are there now more girl-focused (or girl stereotyped) merit badges or activities?

 

What challenged did you face on recruit more moms to participate?

 

What impact did this have on Girl Scouts?

 

First question is not a straight forward one to answer given he timeline.

 

All age groups went coed on a local option basis in 1991. And at that time there were no changes at all.

 

In 2002-2003 there was a root and branch change to the age ranges and program to the point where it simply wasn't comparable. Progression awards in cubs and scouts were replaced with challenge badges. Queens Scout was made tougher o get but given longer to do it. Simply no comparison. Have a look at badge requirements for scouts (10-14) Challenge, Activity and staged activity. Note that staged activity badges can be earned anytime between age 6 and 18! So bottom end are aimed at Beavers and top end at Explorers. I couldn't tell you all the badges from when I was a scout but I don't think it looks that much different.

 

Then in 2007 all groups went coed.

 

There was a program refresh a couple of years ago which kept the existing structure but made the challenge badges tougher.

 

Recruiting mums... not really a problem to be honest! When I ran cubs and we needed a pair of hands we typically got mums stepping forward. But to be honest we don't really need parents that much. Most of our leaders come all the way through and age out to become adult leaders. I have one mum with the troop at the moment, none of the other adults are parents, at least not of any of our scouts.

 

Virtually no impact on Girl Guides at all. In fact Girl Guiding UK is still bigger than TSA! Fact is the girls that join scouts typically don't want to be girl guides. In a single sex world hey simply wouldn't have done either. I have had plenty of girls join us by coming over form guides or brownies. I haven't lost a single one the other way.


Edited by Cambridgeskip, 12 October 2017 - 09:04 AM.

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#6 PaulArthurs

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:05 AM

 

@lakes_stu thanks for joining in. With the addition of girls, what new did you ask/require of parents in protecting scouts and supporting your program?

 

 

Protecting Scouts from what?  Are you suggesting that male Scouts need protecting from female Scouts?

 

Paul, UK


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#7 lakes_stu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:12 AM

@RememberSchiff, I am not 100% certain how to answer on the basis of mixing boys and girls, but we require that our Beavers (who are max 8 years old, and some of whom have not yet turned 6) are brought into our meeting place by a parent and collected directly from us at the end.

 

For a regular Beaver meeting, there will be at least 2 adults present at all times. At least one of these will normally have completed basic training, although can still be working towards their Wood Badge. If we have an extra event or meet away from our usual place, the required ratio is 1 adult to every 6 Beavers, plus an extra adult in overall charge. These ratios change as you progress to Cubs, Scouts and Explorers - and I think the requirement for the extra adult is dropped for Scouts and older.

 

Notice I say adults. There is no requirement to have a mixed sex leadership team (and this includes on camp), although it is recommended as good practice. It is down to common sense, acting responsibly and carrying out good risk assessments.

 

When required, all Scouts and adults should have the ability to change, wash and toilet etc with privacy. This is absolutely required when girls and boys are attending a camp or sleepover, and is generally fairly straightforward to arrange (even if you have to get a little creative sometimes). As for the actual 'lying down and falling asleep', accommodation can be mixed if required, but this is obviously not the preferred option. It tends to be where there is only one girl attending a camp with other boys, and is sometimes seen as a safer option than them sleeping on their own. Everybody concerned must be happy with the arrangements in this case (including parents).

 

As for how the boys and girls act around each other, this has never been an issue. We expect all our Beavers to treat each other, and themselves (and us) with respect. The general approach at Beaver age is that if they remember their promise, they wont go far wrong. That goes for us adults too!

 

We do encourage parents to help us out on an ad-hoc basis. If a parent is never unsupervised with children, does not attend an overnight event and does not attend more than one week in four (I need to double check that one), they do not need a formal background check (in fact doing so would be illegal). Vigilance and more common sense are the watchwords here.

 

However, if any of the above conditions could potentially be satisfied or they wish to take on a more formalised leadership role, they must be properly vetted. This involves a 'Confidentail Enquiry' check at HQ, as well as checking for any relevant information that may be held about them. In England and Wales, we have a system knows as the Disclosure and Barring Service. This is a centralised department that allows a criminal record check to be carried out, search for the presence of a person on any 'barred' lists and check local police records. It is renewed every 5 years. There are similar but separate organisations in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

 

Hope this helps! Anyone care to expand on this???


Edited by lakes_stu, 12 October 2017 - 09:28 AM.

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#8 Sentinel947

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:13 AM

Protecting Scouts from what?  Are you suggesting that male Scouts need protecting from female Scouts?

 

Paul, UK

In American Boy Scouts we have a set of youth protection policies mostly to prevent a repeat of institution wide sexual abuse of minors. I think Schiff is referring to the UK equivalent of that. 

 

My question is actually fairly similar. With Co-ed Scouting comes the management of teenage hormones. When I was in High School band, they would put us in hotel rooms based on gender. (All male and female rooms.) They would actually put duct tape on the outside of the doors, so they would know if you tried to leave the room to go mingle with the opposite genders at night without supervision. I feel like foreign Scouts would be just as similar as American ones. Are there rules in the TSA UK that address this?


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#9 lakes_stu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:23 AM

@Hawkwin That is a very good question, and I suspect it is one that a great many in the BSA might be asking either right now or if there is prospect of going fully co-ed.

 

The answer is - nothing!!! Not in my experience anyway. In no way have we made the programme specifically girl focussed. We make sure that it is accessible to all (and I mean all) and those that like what we offer join us. There are other options for those who would prefer something different.

 

As for merit badges, obviously as a Beaver leader the badges that I know about are designed to be achieved by 6-8 year olds, but there is nothing specifically gender based in there. Of course, there is flexibility if the Beavers want to include something that could be classed as such in their activities. We tend to sit down and talk about what they would like to do (we call it a 'log chew') and build a programme based on that.

 

Regarding recruiting Mums, at Beaver age it tends to be Mums that come along in any case. This does not mean that they will suddenly jump into uniform, but we do find that many are quite willing to help out occasionally provided they do not feel overwhelmed.

 

But, as I mentioned above, we do not need Mums to help. We can have a team made up completely of Dads or indeed other males (some leaders are parents but by no means all), and all would be well provided we act as responsible adults. Take a look at https://members.scou...cat=419,299,304for how we do this.


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#10 lakes_stu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:25 AM

Thanks @Cambridgeskip, you said it better than me :)


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#11 RememberSchiff

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:27 AM

Yup, @Sentinel947, you asked it better than me. :)


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#12 lakes_stu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:33 AM

In American Boy Scouts we have a set of youth protection policies mostly to prevent a repeat of institution wide sexual abuse of minors. I think Schiff is referring to the UK equivalent of that. 

 

My question is actually fairly similar. With Co-ed Scouting comes the management of teenage hormones. When I was in High School band, they would put us in hotel rooms based on gender. (All male and female rooms.) They would actually put duct tape on the outside of the doors, so they would know if you tried to leave the room to go mingle with the opposite genders at night without supervision. I feel like foreign Scouts would be just as similar as American ones. Are there rules in the TSA UK that address this?

 

I suggest taking a look at https://members.scou...ch/?cat=419,304 and exploring some of the information there and on linked pages. @Cambridgeskip, @PaulArthurs, @ianwilkins do you know if there any any factsheets or parts of POR that may be worth quoting here? I'm at work right now and having to be a bit discreet!!!


Edited by lakes_stu, 12 October 2017 - 09:37 AM.

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#13 lakes_stu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:40 AM

Take a look at rules 2.3 and 2.4

 

http://scouts.org.uk...96/Chapter-2.pdf


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#14 Carter

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:48 AM

My question is actually fairly similar. With Co-ed Scouting comes the management of teenage hormones. I feel like foreign Scouts would be just as similar as American ones. Are there rules in the TSA UK that address this?

 

US Venture Crews are co-ed and ages 14-21, the absolute worst age group for raging hormones, and I have not heard of issues with Crews.


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#15 ianwilkins

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:53 AM

I am sure one of the first questions that comes up, what changed when you added girls? Did any of the standards get eased? Are there now more girl-focused (or girl stereotyped) merit badges or activities?


First a little background. I was a Venture Scout Leader, which in the UK was co-ed from some time in the 70s, the other younger sections were not co-ed until after I was a leader, 1991 apparently. So I've not been a leader of single gender sections, but I've been around while they changed from "boys" to "co-ed".

I'm pretty sure I'm not understating it, but I genuinely don't think the programme as documented changed at all, I mean, apart from changing references to "boys" to the rather more prosaic "young people".
We always had badges like "home help", and ones that involved learning to sew, alongside things like shooting and hiking and camping.
I don't think any awards were "dumbed down" or had their standards lowered when girls started joining.

I found an awesome site...

http://www.scoutcollecting.co.uk/
Which lists all the badges over time for the sections. Badges come in and out of favour, and you could probably find something to suit your argument either way in there.

I don't think, from what I see in the younger sections, that it's any more "girly" than it used to be. I really can't remember much about when I was in cubs, but what I do remember was being out doing stuff.
It's possible that girls might do more stereotypically girl things for badges like "hobbies". But on the other hand, the cub pack that meets right before us has some girls in, and sometimes you'll walking and they're all making bird boxes, or one astounding occasion, flat pack furniture!

Two weeks ago I handed out a "100 nights away" badge to one of my Explorers, it so happens they're a she.
 

What challenges did you face on recruit more moms to participate?

 

Well, that's more difficult for me to answer, as allowing female "cub mistresses" predates even me. It's not unfair to say adult recruitment is as ever a problem. In the youngest section Beavers (aged 6-8) it's not unfair to say it's mostly mums, as they're more traditionally at home at 5pm or so when they meet.
In Explorers I've never really tried to recruit female leaders. In some units we happen to have some, and in some it happens we don't.
Not much help I know.
 

What impact did this have on Girl Scouts?


I think it's safe to say "none". I think from what I gather, Girlguiding in the UK is generally like GSUSA...."girly". In Explorers it's not uncommon for me to get some guides crossing over because they no longer enjoy guides.
In terms of pure numbers, Girlguiding don't seem to release census numbers, but they say they have around 500,000, which is a little more than scouts.

Also, while hunting around, I found this training material which was introduced when we went co-ed in the lower sections...

https://members.scou...nts/girlstm.pdf

Lots of dead links but might be useful.

Edited by ianwilkins, 12 October 2017 - 09:56 AM.

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#16 ianwilkins

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 10:28 AM

In American Boy Scouts we have a set of youth protection policies mostly to prevent a repeat of institution wide sexual abuse of minors. I think Schiff is referring to the UK equivalent of that.


These days we have the "yellow card". And all adults that have unsupervised access to young people have to have a background check.
https://members.scou...cat=419,299,304

Basically everything that was supposed to apply to boys (and yes, we've had our share of unsavouries in the past, and no doubt some will still creep out the woodwork in the future) now applies to boys and girls.

There's things like "no inappropriate contact" on that card. In the past I've had to comfort teary boys and girls, yes, aged 15-16, who've being having real life difficulties that all come out when they're super tired after 4-5 days on camp. A comforting arm round the shoulder is still fine, whatever the gender.
Sometimes you get a group who are very physical, touchy-feely if you will. At the end of summer camp this year, a fair proportion of them, boys and girls, unprompted, came and gave me hug, said thankyou, and went on their way. The parents looking on, well, I don't know what they thought, but they seemed ok with it, as I say, the actions were not prompted by me.
Other times it's just a cheery wave goodbye, and that's fine too.
 

My question is actually fairly similar. With Co-ed Scouting comes the management of teenage hormones...I feel like foreign Scouts would be just as similar as American ones. Are there rules in the TSA UK that address this?


Ahh, yes, now, as I deal with the 14-18 age range, yes, it's something I have to consider.
For me, everything comes back to the scout law. A scout is to be trusted.

We have had "couples" on camp, and some leaders were running scared. I had to buy, at a leader's request, condoms for the first aid kit "just in case". I thought it was an overreaction. We had standing rules that "couples" couldn't be in a tent on their own and weren't to go off into the bushes etc. I was having a beer with the lad in that couple years later, he laughed and said "not a chance I'd have got that far with her".
Still, yes, I've probably terrified you now. That's once in 15 years now. These days they all seem to be friends, or they're hiding it well, so they're happy just to hang out and poke the fire. But it'll happen again I'm sure, and we'll deal with it best we can, not usually much of an issue.

When we bought some teepee type tents, and had mixed groups of explorers in them, one parent was shrilly alarmed that they'd all be "at it like rabbits" as soon as our backs were turned. It just doesn't seem to work like that.

I have had camps (most of the time in fact) where I haven't mixed genders in the same tents, it just depends on the situation and the kids.

Again, once in 15 years I've had to have a quiet word with a lad who was creeping out the girls. He was genuine special needs though, so autistic on top of raging hormones.

And yes, we take sanitary products on camp now, mostly they deal with that sort of thing themselves between each other. But there's always a first time, and it's a bit of a shock for them when it happens on camp.

To me, it's all part of life's rich pageant. I'm helping young people grow up, and sometimes there's some strife, but most of the time it's a privilege.

Ian
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#17 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 10:57 AM

US Venture Crews are co-ed and ages 14-21, the absolute worst age group for raging hormones, and I have not heard of issues with Crews.

 

To be fair, a SM buddy was telling me of a problem he was having with an older gay boy scout who was hitting on a younger lad at a camp out. He was rebuffed and retaliated by stripping the boy of POR duties. Stalking etc followed (and things went down hill from there, police, counselors, etc, etc). So even Boys only issues of sexual misconduct do occur and have to be dealt with. I think rules will need to be tweaked...especially the first few years.

 

I do think the social dynamic will change. When Camp Woodruff started using Venture girls in the camp store our boys (of all ages) seemed to visit the stores a lot more than previously. 


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#18 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:00 AM

First a little background. I was a Venture Scout Leader, which in the UK was co-ed from some time in the 70s, the other younger sections were not co-ed until after I was a leader, 1991 apparently. So I've not been a leader of single gender sections, but I've been around while they changed from "boys" to "co-ed".

I'm pretty sure I'm not understating it, but I genuinely don't think the programme as documented changed at all, I mean, apart from changing references to "boys" to the rather more prosaic "young people".
We always had badges like "home help", and ones that involved learning to sew, alongside things like shooting and hiking and camping.
I don't think any awards were "dumbed down" or had their standards lowered when girls started joining.

I found an awesome site...

http://www.scoutcollecting.co.uk/
Which lists all the badges over time for the sections. Badges come in and out of favour, and you could probably find something to suit your argument either way in there.

I don't think, from what I see in the younger sections, that it's any more "girly" than it used to be. I really can't remember much about when I was in cubs, but what I do remember was being out doing stuff.
It's possible that girls might do more stereotypically girl things for badges like "hobbies". But on the other hand, the cub pack that meets right before us has some girls in, and sometimes you'll walking and they're all making bird boxes, or one astounding occasion, flat pack furniture!

Two weeks ago I handed out a "100 nights away" badge to one of my Explorers, it so happens they're a she.
 
 

Well, that's more difficult for me to answer, as allowing female "cub mistresses" predates even me. It's not unfair to say adult recruitment is as ever a problem. In the youngest section Beavers (aged 6-8) it's not unfair to say it's mostly mums, as they're more traditionally at home at 5pm or so when they meet.
In Explorers I've never really tried to recruit female leaders. In some units we happen to have some, and in some it happens we don't.
Not much help I know.
 

I think it's safe to say "none". I think from what I gather, Girlguiding in the UK is generally like GSUSA...."girly". In Explorers it's not uncommon for me to get some guides crossing over because they no longer enjoy guides.
In terms of pure numbers, Girlguiding don't seem to release census numbers, but they say they have around 500,000, which is a little more than scouts.

Also, while hunting around, I found this training material which was introduced when we went co-ed in the lower sections...

https://members.scou...nts/girlstm.pdf

Lots of dead links but might be useful.

Very good info. Why BSA National didn't put something like this out yesterday is beyond me!


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#19 Big chris

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:01 AM

My group took girls in 2007 along with all other UK groups.

What changed? 1 thing.

I stopped saying 'gentlemen' when addressing them. Other than that?

Nothing really.

I try to remember to provide for their periods. (So we have emergency girly products and a bin where needed)

We give them shared space for changing and normally their own sleeping space but sometimes they all pile in together. If there is only one room, they all bunk in together. (and hey. Naughtiness won't happen in a busy room/ tent! That will go in in the woods)

Everything else is the same. Same programme, same camps, same fun...
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#20 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:06 AM

In American Boy Scouts we have a set of youth protection policies mostly to prevent a repeat of institution wide sexual abuse of minors. I think Schiff is referring to the UK equivalent of that. 

 

My question is actually fairly similar. With Co-ed Scouting comes the management of teenage hormones. When I was in High School band, they would put us in hotel rooms based on gender. (All male and female rooms.) They would actually put duct tape on the outside of the doors, so they would know if you tried to leave the room to go mingle with the opposite genders at night without supervision. I feel like foreign Scouts would be just as similar as American ones. Are there rules in the TSA UK that address this?

 

To answer this from the younger 10-14 perspective....

 

The rules are that boys and girls need separate changing and washing facilities but are allowed to sleep in the same tent or room. In practice it is quite rare for that to happen. We've only ever done it at the end of a night hike and they all crash on the floor of our HQ and once on an over night ferry when it was rooms of 4 and the ratios didn't work out to be entirely separate. The troop has a selection of 2,3 4 and 6 man tents which they distribute depending on the make up of a particular patrol so that they have boy and girl tents. There's been the occasional "sleep over" where someone has been playing cards or talking to their mates in the other tent and has fallen asleep in there. But no harm done and I've seen no reason to intervene.

 

We too have had the occasional couple but the kids manage it themselves. We've had no problems with PDAs or sneaking off. It all just works out.


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