Re: Co-Ed Scouting
David D. Miller +49 6221 404415 (DDM@DHDIBM1.BITNET)
Fri, 7 Feb 1992 15:29:51 CET
One thing I perhaps didn't explain very clearly is the Group structure
of Scouts in the U.K.:
A Scout Group is a "family" of Scout sections meeting in a given locality.
Each group can have Beaver Colonies, Cub Packs, Scout Troops and a Venture
Scout Unit. The majority of Groups have one each of Colony, Pack and Troop,
and transfer from one section to the next is virtually automatic. The
implication this has on introducing co-ed Scouting is that the upgrade path
for the girls can be guaranteed right from day one: the decision to
accept girls into a Group is made at Group level.
From what I've seen in US Scouting, each Pack/Troop/Unit is a separate
entity. If a Pack decides (with the approval of National) to go
co-ed, I don't see how to ensure that, five years later, there is a
Scout Troop in the area which is co-ed. Any decision from National
which says "You must accept girls as from MM/DD/YY!" would be too much.
The decision to accept girls must be made at a local level, with Packs
and Troops all changing at the same time. The correct command is "You
have the option, in your locality, of accepting girls into Packs and Troops
as from MM/DD/YY. (Set of conditions follows)"
Another minor point:
Only letting girls into Tigers to begin with could create a situation
where girls are always the youngest in a Unit. Opening at all ages
at the same time allows older girls to come in and provide a positive
role model for the younger ones. Help! That's sounding too much like
GSUSA! But that's part of the problems of changing: attitudes must
change to provide the best program for BOTH sexes.
The other problem with a phased introduction over five years is that
BSA Cub Packs and Dens depend, to a certain degree, on using older
Scouts as junior leaders. I don't like the idea of female cubs
in a Den where the Den Chief can only be a male Scout.
(Just a thought: is there any provision for using Cadette or Senior
Girl Scouts as Den Chiefs, or must a Den Chief be a Boy Scout? In the
U.K., many older Girl Guides have helped out with Beavers and Cubs.)
David D. Miller
Scouting in Europe - A Unique Experience
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City