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Co-ed scouting overseas


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#21 MattR

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:09 AM

What are the ratios of boys, girls, men, and women in the 11+ age ranges of UK scouts?

 

One of my concerns is finding women that want to do the more challenging events. We've had moms that will go on one or two and then they're done with that while the dads love it.

 

One thing that sounds different in the UK are the ages of the adult leaders, some of which are not adults. (I hate to say it but when the UK scouts talk about back in the day when they were scouts they're talking about the 90s whereas this forum, and BSA in general, seems to have a lot more, ahem, maturity.) Given that the ages of each type of scouts (beavers to network) is about 3-4 years and we have scouts from 11-18, it's different. It sounds like scouts from one age level can help lead at a lower level. Is that true? and does it happen very much? If so then the issue I see coming wouldn't happen in the UK.

 

My other concern is whether there are enough girls to form viable units. In big towns I don't see a problem but small towns is different.


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#22 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:19 AM

What are the ratios of boys, girls, men, and women in the 11+ age ranges of UK scouts?

 

One of my concerns is finding women that want to do the more challenging events. We've had moms that will go on one or two and then they're done with that while the dads love it.

 

One thing that sounds different in the UK are the ages of the adult leaders, some of which are not adults. (I hate to say it but when the UK scouts talk about back in the day when they were scouts they're talking about the 90s whereas this forum, and BSA in general, seems to have a lot more, ahem, maturity.) Given that the ages of each type of scouts (beavers to network) is about 3-4 years and we have scouts from 11-18, it's different. It sounds like scouts from one age level can help lead at a lower level. Is that true? and does it happen very much? If so then the issue I see coming wouldn't happen in the UK.

 

My other concern is whether there are enough girls to form viable units. In big towns I don't see a problem but small towns is different.

 

Quick answer as about to head out to scouts myself, others may pad it out more.

 

Over all the ratio of young people is about 22% girls if I remember right with a slightly higher number in the older age ranges. Groups that were coed before they had to be tend to have more girls. So we run at about 40% at any one time.

 

For adults I'm not sure what the ratios are but full strength my troop can call on 12 adults of which 5 are women.

 

And yes we have the Young Leader scheme. So 14-17 year old explorer scouts can help at Beavers, Cubs or Scouts. I currently have two 15 year old explorers that come along to scouts.


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#23 Big chris

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:53 AM

What are the ratios of boys, girls, men, and women in the 11+ age ranges of UK scouts?
 
One of my concerns is finding women that want to do the more challenging events. We've had moms that will go on one or two and then they're done with that while the dads love it.
 
One thing that sounds different in the UK are the ages of the adult leaders, some of which are not adults. (I hate to say it but when the UK scouts talk about back in the day when they were scouts they're talking about the 90s whereas this forum, and BSA in general, seems to have a lot more, ahem, maturity.) Given that the ages of each type of scouts (beavers to network) is about 3-4 years and we have scouts from 11-18, it's different. It sounds like scouts from one age level can help lead at a lower level. Is that true? and does it happen very much? If so then the issue I see coming wouldn't happen in the UK.
 
My other concern is whether there are enough girls to form viable units. In big towns I don't see a problem but small towns is different.


We run mixed camps with single sex leadership teams.

We do often.
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#24 Peter1919

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 12:12 PM

I am Leader in the UK in an Explorer Scout Unit (ages 14 to 18). Our Unit has always had both girls and boys as members but our Scout Group's Scout Troop went mixed sex as well back in 2005. I can say that the way the Scout Troop does things has not changed due to having girls in the proceeding 12 years apart from we usually have separate tents for girls and boys to sleep in on camps and separate dormitories for each on indoor residential, oh and we put a bin in the toilet tents now. The UK Scout Association released some guidance/FAQs in around 2006 when they announced that all Sections would be going mixed sex which can be found at http://members.scout...insfin/omwt.pdf. The difference is that we went down the route of mixed sex Sections rather than separate boys and girls sections as it seems BSA are going for currently.

 

We have run camps with girls on it but no female Leaders on occasion and it has never caused an issue and in fact the last time this happened I paid it so little thought I never even noticed we were doing so until someone pointed it out after the event. In the unlikely event that a female Scout has their period and can't sort it out themselves then, as a modern man, I am perfectly happy to deal with that as its just another natural bodily function. We have a supply of generic pads which the girls know where to find which usually means we don't need to get involved any way.

 

Our Explorer Unit hasn't always had both female and male Leaders, and it doesn't cause an issue and no Explorer or any of their parents has ever raised this as an issue. I am more bothered about having enough good Leaders than what gender they happen to be.

 

As to dealing with relationships between Scouts, we generally ask them to keep public displays of affection within Scouting to a minimum and are clear with them that it would be inappropriate for them to share sleeping accommodation on Scouting events and trust them to stick to this and have never had any real issue with relationships in the 14 years I have been an Explorer Scout Leader.

 

Feel free to ask any questions you like and I will endeavour to answer them


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Peter Andrews,

Based in Leeds, UK
Assistant Explorer Scout Leader of Headingley Pirates ESU, Assistant Group Scout Leader of Falkoner Scout Group
 

Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

 

 


#25 RememberSchiff

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 12:22 PM

@Peter1919 thanks for your help, welcome to scouter.com


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#26 lakes_stu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 12:27 PM

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.


To answer this from the even younger 6-8 perspective. The rules are exactly as @Cambridgeskip says. However, it probably happens more often with Beavers, as we often run sleepovers in church halls and similar spaces. We have a couple of tents that can be pitched indoors, but not enough for the whole colony. When we have 'District' sleepovers there can be about 100 Beavers all in the one room (changing space in segregated toilets). The adults always sleep in a separate room and come to an arrangement regarding changing.
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#27 lakes_stu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 12:35 PM

One of my concerns is finding women that want to do the more challenging events. We've had moms that will go on one or two and then they're done with that while the dads love it.

Could you focus on providing the bulk of the team from the keener Dad's, and perhaps have some kind of rota for when you need a Mum?

My other concern is whether there are
enough girls to form viable units. In big towns I don't see a problem but small towns is different.

I can understand this. Our colony has 19 boys and only 5 girls. I don't know the exact details of what BSA is planning as yet, but is there any chance that girls could be allowed to join a Den with boys?

Edited by lakes_stu, 12 October 2017 - 12:36 PM.

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#28 Hawkwin

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 12:35 PM

OK UK folks, play devil's advocate for me. If you had to argue against co-ed scouting, what would be your primary argument? I am in favor of the change but would very much like to hear from those that have been through this, what is your biggest gripe?


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#29 lakes_stu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 01:03 PM

@Hawkwin, that's a tough one. I didnt join as a leader until after co-ed was universal. I really dont know any different. I do remember when I was a Cub and Scout though. It was a lot of fun then, but its just as much fun now. So from me at least there are no regrets.

I do get peeved with parents tear a strip off me about their son having to wait to join because (and I quote) 'the girls have taken all the places'. This tends to come from parents who are least likely to step up and volunteer.

Edited by lakes_stu, 12 October 2017 - 01:06 PM.

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#30 Peter1919

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 01:05 PM

About the only slight negative I can think of is that we used to have Scouts sleep in one tent with the rest of their Patrol and with the PL in charge of the tent and looking after all their Patrol. Now we often have an extra tent or tents for girls which means the PL is not in the same tent as all of their Patrol.

 

This is really not a massive problem though and has not caused us any great issues but it does slightly reduce the role of a PL. If we really wanted to we could just have girls and boys share tents so long as they and their parents were all happy with this arrangement.


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Peter Andrews,

Based in Leeds, UK
Assistant Explorer Scout Leader of Headingley Pirates ESU, Assistant Group Scout Leader of Falkoner Scout Group
 

Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

 

 


#31 Hawkwin

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 01:42 PM

About the only slight negative I can think of is that we used to have Scouts sleep in one tent with the rest of their Patrol and with the PL in charge of the tent and looking after all their Patrol. Now we often have an extra tent or tents for girls which means the PL is not in the same tent as all of their Patrol.

 

This is really not a massive problem though and has not caused us any great issues but it does slightly reduce the role of a PL. If we really wanted to we could just have girls and boys share tents so long as they and their parents were all happy with this arrangement.

 

So does that mean you used to use some very large tents? 8-12 person tents? It is not uncommon for our Patrols to have double digit members so to sleep in the same tent would require a large tent - and one that would be rather difficult for new scouters to set up without adult or older scout assistance.

 

Our patrols today sleep in two-scout tents so in that respect, it would not be a change for us.


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#32 Saltface

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 01:59 PM

@Hawkwin, that's a tough one. I didnt join as a leader until after co-ed was universal. I really dont know any different. I do remember when I was a Cub and Scout though. It was a lot of fun then, but its just as much fun now. So from me at least there are no regrets.

I do get peeved with parents tear a strip off me about their son having to wait to join because (and I quote) 'the girls have taken all the places'. This tends to come from parents who are least likely to step up and volunteer.

 

Why do they have to wait to join? Are you restricted on the size of your group?

 

I've heard the complaint that girls dominate the youth leadership in Scouts Canada troops (but I can't find my source right now). Do you see the same thing occurring in the UK?


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#33 lakes_stu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 02:14 PM

Why do they have to wait to join? Are you restricted on the size of your group?


Yes, a Beaver Colony (as we call a Tiger Cub pack) is normally limited to 24. We can take more by arrangement with our line manager, but I'm not sure how many do.

Cubs and Scouts can take more (as they do not require as much individual support as they get a bit older - in theory), and I think Explorers are only limited by the practicalities of their meeting place.

As a result, it is very common for groups here to have long waiting lists.
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#34 Peter1919

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 02:28 PM

So does that mean you used to use some very large tents? 8-12 person tents? It is not uncommon for our Patrols to have double digit members so to sleep in the same tent would require a large tent - and one that would be rather difficult for new scouters to set up without adult or older scout assistance.

 

Our patrols today sleep in two-scout tents so in that respect, it would not be a change for us.

In the UK Scout Patrols are usually made up of around 5 to 8 Scouts so they used to all fit in one tent.

 

Why do they have to wait to join? Are you restricted on the size of your group?

 

I've heard the complaint that girls dominate the youth leadership in Scouts Canada troops (but I can't find my source right now). Do you see the same thing occurring in the UK?

In the UK Beaver Colonies (ages 6 to 8) are usually have a maximum of 24 Beavers and are mostly oversubscribed. The fact is that Beaver numbers have grown from 108 000 in 2010 to 128 000 in 2017 but we can't open enough new Colonies fast enough to keep up with demand. This, unfortunately, means that most Colonies do have some kids old enough to be Beavers waiting for a space to open up.

 

I would not say that girls dominate youth leadership, they do make perfectly good Sixers and Patrol Leaders and maybe are slightly overrepresented in these roles but not to the extent that boys don't get a chance to lead and the good thing is both get to learn to lead people of both genders which is what they will have to do out in the real world as adults.


Edited by Peter1919, 12 October 2017 - 02:30 PM.

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Peter Andrews,

Based in Leeds, UK
Assistant Explorer Scout Leader of Headingley Pirates ESU, Assistant Group Scout Leader of Falkoner Scout Group
 

Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

 

 


#35 lakes_stu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 02:39 PM

I've heard the complaint that girls dominate the youth leadership in Scouts Canada troops (but I can't find my source right now). Do you see the same thing occurring in the UK?


Personally, I can't say that I have experienced this. At the moment, we try to rotate our Lodge Leaders so that everybody gets the experience at some point during their time with us. This is not the practice elsewhere though, but I can't really say for sure. I know that our Cubs had a girl Sixer fairly recently, but the other Sixers were all boys. I think the pack only had 3 or 4 girls at the time though.

Edited by lakes_stu, 12 October 2017 - 02:56 PM.

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#36 lakes_stu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 02:46 PM

In the UK Scout Patrols are usually made up of around 5 to 8 Scouts so they used to all fit in one tent.

Yep, the classic scout tent in the UK is made by Blacks of Greenock. They call it the Icelandic. Far less popular than they used to be in my experience (they are not cheap for one thing) but they last forever (IF they are properly looked after).

http://www.blacksofg....co.uk/13-tents

Edited by lakes_stu, 12 October 2017 - 02:48 PM.

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#37 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 03:01 PM

Yep, the classic scout tent in the UK is made by Blacks of Greenock. They call it the Icelandic. Far less popular than they used to be in my experience (they are not cheap for one thing) but they last forever (IF they are properly looked after).

http://www.blacksofg....co.uk/13-tents

Bit of a faff for a weekend camp but still brilliant for a full week away and difficult to beat.

 

And yes, built like tanks. The last one we binned was, we think, in excess of 40 years old. There's a couple more the same age still going strong!


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#38 lakes_stu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 03:09 PM

There is a joke that following the next ice age, scientists will initially find 2 things - fossils and Icelandic tents ;)
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#39 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 03:10 PM

Why do they have to wait to join? Are you restricted on the size of your group?

 

I've heard the complaint that girls dominate the youth leadership in Scouts Canada troops (but I can't find my source right now). Do you see the same thing occurring in the UK?

 

Pretty much every group at every age range has a waiting list. My troop runs at a maximum of 35. We set that simply that the main hall in the building we meet in will fit that number of kids in with space to still do something active. Beyond that it's just too crowded. At present we are full and of course we have those due to move up from cubs who we give priority to who will likely take the vast majority of places freed up when scouts move to explorers. In addition to those I have moving up from cubs I have 18 on a waiting list looking to join straight into scouts. Our neighbouring groups are in a similar state. A new troop opened in our district earlier this year. Went from 6 scouts night 1 to 24 scouts and a waiting list within a month. We can't open them fast enough.

 

We have never had a problem with one sex or the other dominating leadership positions. You could though allow it to happen at scout level if you weren't careful. In the 10-14 years age range I find, and this is a massive generalisation, that girls are more likely to get whatever you ask of them right first time. When things go wrong though I find boys are more likely to think on their feet successfully. Fail to pick up on the latter and girls could come to dominate. Thankfully while I, as SL, reserve the right to over ride the decision of the PLs Council it has been years since I last did so, and we operate on the PLC electing PLs and APLs and they always seem to make good decisions. 


Edited by Cambridgeskip, 12 October 2017 - 03:12 PM.

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#40 lakes_stu

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 03:23 PM

We only have a couple of kids who are old enough to join Beavers who are having to wait thankfully. Our Cub pack and Scout troop actually have spaces (although we have a few Beavers due to move up soon).

However, there is a group near to us where it's 2 Beaver Colonies are full and they have over 60 waiting!!!

Sorry, straying off topic now.
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