Jon D. Lyksett (jlykset@EIS.CALSTATE.EDU)
Fri, 4 Dec 1992 09:14:17 -0800
After reflection on the comments of several members of the list and some
research through the scouts-l archives of previous discussions of this
topic, I'd like to lend my bit to the discussion.
As a person who believes wholly in the equality of men and women (two
wings of the bird, either crippled and the bird doesn't fly), I don't
believe that American society is ready for co-ed Scouting.
1. Bequests: It was stated several months ago that there werea anumber of
very large bequests to BSA that would be withdrawn if the program ever
became anything other than *Boy* Scouts of America. Given the prevalent
attitudes about $$$ among the higher-ups both at Council and National
levels, I sense real *fear* about losing that $$$.
2. Program support: I have heard mention both here on the list and in
private discussions and public discussions that the LDS Church would
immediately withdraw support if a) homosexuals were admitted, b) atheists
were admitted, or, c) girls were admitted. This may or may not be
*official* Church policy, but I know enough LDS Scouters that voice these
feeling to guess what the response would be. Never mind that the
Chartering Organization controls the membership and leadership in *its*
units. The thought of the immense (on paper) membership loss if the LDS
Church pulled out would put the fear into *any* organization.
3. Social maturity: Our society continues to breed the stereotypical image
of *strong* boys and *weak* girls, and until there is an inner change in
these attitudes co-ed Scouting will not work here. Oh, I could put a
troop together and have a great program, as long as we did all our
activities alone and had no interaction with other units, but that's not
what it's all about, is it?
You know, the Boys Scouts of America (organization) is looked upon by most
of America as a bastion of conservatism, supported by the fundamentalist
Right and opposed to everything of a liberal nature. But we teach
environmental responsibility (not conservative), world brotherhood (not
consevative), doing a 'good turn' daily (more liberal than not) and many
other things that could be construed as a little left of center.
IMHO, (that's the first time I've ever used that!), there is room for
everyone, rich or poor, young or old, black, white, brown or even green,
men and women, boys and girls in a program that teaches character and
values, respect and dignity, self reliance and cooperation.
Somebody said recently (on this list, I think) that Scouting shouldn't end
at 18, but continue for a lifetime. Even though I am a Scouter now, I
will always consider myself a SCOUT, learning everyday from the boys and
girls, men and women with whom I come in contact in this program. I
recently accompanied a co-ed High Adventure Explorer Post on a climbing
trip to Joshua Tree National Monument. The post president is a young lady
and during conversation over the evening campfire, I asked her how she
became so self assured and confident. Her reply was, "I watched my
brothers, who were Scouts."
Have a good weekend, everyone.
Yours in Scouting,
Jon Lyksett, Chairman
Santa Paula District, Ventura County Council, BSA
Program Director, Camp Three Falls "Sixty Years of Adventure - 1993"
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City