Re: To get a discussion started. . .
George L. Fulk (email@example.com)
Mon, 26 May 1997 15:33:35 -0700
IMHO, the likelihood that BSA will become entirely coed is not good.
Let's look at the facts:
1. BSA and GSUSA are chartered by Congress to operate their respective
programs in the US (WOSM and WAGGGS). If BSA were to become entirely
coed that would infringe upon GSUSA's domain. Likely to cause a lawsuit
(remember the US is lawsuit crazy). The fact that each is chartered by
Congress means no other Scouting organization can be formed in the US.
2. Lawsuits cost each millions of dollars each year, in both insurance
premiums and defense of the cases. A coed program is an invitation to
3. BSA is constantly being suited over the 3 G's: gods, gays, and girls.
It is very hard to convince somebody (national BSA) to change when they
are under constant attack. The millions of dollars a year keep national
BSA on the defensive. As long as BSA is under attack by lawsuits, or
threat of laysuits, their leadership will be firmly entrenched, and not
willing to think seriously about change.
4. What about a merger of BSA and GSUSA? Not likely. If United Way and
other community chests demanded it, it might happen. But don't count on
that anytime soon. Furthermore, I've found that GSUSA people tends to
have a very strong anti-BSA bias. I'm not sure if this is just extreme
feminism or there's something more here. For instance, my wife (Brownie
troop leader) suggested a couple of program ideas to other Girl Scout
leaders. They were interested until the words "...we've used this in
BSA troop..." were spoken. The idea was instantly dismissed. The
anti-BSA prejudice is even greater at the national level than local. My
wife was summarily shut-up at the last national GSUSA convention for
mentioning the words "Boy Scouts". Also, the controlling powers of each
organization are opposite. GSUSA tends to be very liberal while BSA is
5. BSA's major support is large religious institutions. Some of these
institutions are strongly opposed to a coed program. In fact, Explorer
posts sponsored some of them are all male or all female. I suppose that
leaving the coed or single sex pack/troop/post decision up to the
sponsor would satisfy both sides.
6. The irony is that in many countries there are separate Scouting
organizations, separated not by gender, but by religion We in the US
look at them and say why can't they have more religious tolerance. So,
gender is not the only thing that divides Scouts. Each country has it's
own priorities. In the US, it's gender.
7. The Exploring program is not a model of success. If you take away
the "career awareness Exploring" (1 hour/week in school in a lecture
hall), and one or two specialty posts (Police Explorers), the rest of
Exploring is very anemic. What's left is probably less than 100K
Explorers and leaders. And the average post has a half-life of 6
months. Compare that with 2 million (male only) Cub Scouts.
8. Several university studies have been conducted regarding same sex and
mixed sex groups and found that single sex groups did far better. The
same results also occurred regarding race. (Note, I'm not proposing
separate Scouting along racial lines; although that has occurred in
So, BSA isn't coed (packs and troops). What can be done? Well, I have
3 daughters, 1 Brownie and 2 Daiseys (equivalent to 1 Cub and 2
Tigers). My wife and I are both BSA and GSUSA leaders. We just use
some of the BSA program ideas in the GSUSA troops! I suppose I could
protest and try to fight. Rather, I'm spending my energies giving them
the best possible experiences.
If I get a vote, I'd vote in favor of the sponsor choosing single sex
units or mixed. I'd also vote for a single unified Scouting
organization (merge BSA and GSUSA). Unfortunately, my vote doesn't
George L. Fulk