Boys and Girls
Bruce Ward (wardb@AGRIC.NSW.GOV.AU)
Tue, 14 Feb 1995 09:19:49 +1100
I know this subject comes up frequently on SCOUTS-L, but it seems to be a
perennial issue that keeps on popping up for all sorts of reasons. And
every time it does, those with boys only Troops raise a whole lot of fears
that letting girls in will take something away.
Those with girls in their Troops on the other hand generally agree that
there are some problems, but the girls bring FAR more to Scouting than the
problems they cause.
In direct answer to Steve Nichols concerns, the Scouts do not suffer any
loss of challenge. On the contrary, in my experience, the girls put the
boys to a bit of extra challenge, because they don't want to be beaten by
a Girl. In out State's annual Patrol competition, the winning patrol was a
mixed Patrol led by a girl. She, and the Patrol, did a great job. I have
also noticed that girls can bring some of the creativity back into Troops.
Some troops have a very poor attitude to performing at campfires and such,
but I find that this virtually disappears when girls are involved.
I don't want to play down the problems, but they are not they are rarely
the problems put forward by those opposed to mixed Scouting.
Late last year I participated in a Venturer (Senior Scouts) organised
Leader and Rover Activity. I was in a team with a female Rover who had
been in Scouts and earned her Queen Scout award as a Venturer (including a
challenge in needlework). If you could have seen this 6 foot one, solidly
built girl, with shorts, hiking boots, and pack, dressed for the event in
a Tinkabell costume (yes with tu tu, wand and fairy wings), many of the
fears about mixed scouting would disappear.
Scouting is about the physical, social, mental and spiritual development of
young people. Individuals have needs in this development and gender has
little to do with it. In fact, a gender specific organisation provides a
distorted environment for development, quite unlike the one our youth have
to live in as mature citizens.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City