Co-ed Scouting (Long)
Rodger Morris (rlm@SUNED1.NSWSES.NAVY.MIL)
Tue, 21 Feb 1995 11:37:27 PST
I have a few observations to make in re the ongoing discussion of co-ed
Scouting. First, it's refreshing to see the lack of flames, cf rec.scouting.
Second, there are a few factors that are being overlooked in the messages I
have read to date.
One of these factors is the fact that the BSA has many, many bequests from
individuals, both at the local council level and at the national level. Many
of these bequests, amounting to some hundreds of millions of dollars,
specify that they stay with the BSA only so long as the BSA remains for boys
only in the Cub Scouting and Scouting Divisions.
I am told that most of these bequest stipulations have an expiration date.
Another factor is that we have certain groups in Scouting with religious
convictions against mixing boys and girls in Scouting. The Mormons are one
such group. They are far from being the only one.
Both of these are valid concerns of whomever must draft a plan to integrate
girls into all levels of Scouting.
I've got 28 years in the BSA, some 23 of it as a Scouter, and 4 years of it
overseas in Europe as BSA liaison with the Spanish and Gibraltar Scout
Associations. When I arrived in Spain in January of 1982, I was firmly of
the opinion that Boy Scouting should remain for boys only.
After about a year of participating with the Spanish Scouts, who were and
are co-ed, in their Scouting activities, I saw that Scouting was working
very well in a co-ed environment. Being a Navy officer at that time, I was
also somewhat of a pragmatist, as are most military men and women.
My pragmatic view is as follows:
1. Many girls can benefit greatly from Boy Scouting in general and the BSA
program in particular.
2. The program of the Girl Scouts of the USA, as presently constituted and
presently run, does not serve the needs of many of the girls in the USA.
Mind you, the potential is there, but "where the rubber meets the road", by
and large, it isn't happening.
3. The BSA respects others convictions in matters of religious.
4. Co-ed Boy Scouting is not contrary to the princplies of Scouting. The
World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM) endorses co-ed Scouting,
and most Scout associations world-wide, including the mother organization
(the British), are co-ed.
5. The opinions of almost every Scouter posting on the subject of co-ed
Scouting have been uniformly positive on co-ed Scouting, vice sex-segregated
Scouting. These posting have come from numerous unrelated individuals from
many countries spanning three continents.
6. The Australian, British, Canadian, and New Zealand societal structures
are similar enough to ours that we may state with a high degree of
confidence that if co-ed Scouting works well for them, that it will work
well for us. Their Scouters in this forum state that co-ed Scouting works
well for them.
7. Since co-ed Scouting is against the religious and/or ethical principles
of many Scouters and Scout sponsoring institutions, they should not be
forced to adopt co-ed Scouting. Indeed, they wouldn't do so anyway. Most
likely, they would form church-specific, sex-segregated youth programs
immune to legal challenges.
8. Since sex-segregated Scouting is against the religious and/or ethical
principles of many Scouters and Scout sponsoring institutions, they should
be afforded the opportunity to offer co-ed Scouting to those who want it.
9. The manner and timing of the implementation of co-ed Scouting, if and
when it occurs, should be carefully reviewed with an eye to minimizing
problems, including fiscal, engendered by the change.
10. The time for co-ed Scouting in the BSA is coming. It will come when
someone(s) sufficiently influential in the national volunteer and
professional BSA decide(s) to lead the charge. I predicted at the 1985
International Camporee in Rabat, Morocco, that the BSA would admit women to
full membership with women serving as Scoutmasters by December 31, 1995, and
that girls would be full members of the BSA by december 31, 2005. I was
unduly pessimistic in my timing in re the first part of my prediction, and I
see no need to change the second part of said prediction.
11. We should follow the implementation paradigm we used to integrate girls
into Exploring almost a quarter of a century ago.
a) The sponsoring institution may sponsor all boy, all girl, or
b) The BSA will assist in the formation of co-ed units for those who
c) The BSA shall not attempt force any sponsoring institution to
establish co-ed Scouting.
The issue of co-ed Scouting in the BSA is one where reasonable individuals
may reasonably disagree. I believe it to be only a matter of time until
girls oin women as full members of the BSA. "Your mileage may vary."
Yours in Scouting,
Rodger Morris, email@example.com
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 852, Ventura County Council, BSA
National Woodbadge 416, Philmont, 1973
"I used to be a Beaver..."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City