Re: Co-ed Scouting
Tom Turba x6774 (turba@UNIRSVL.RSVL.UNISYS.COM)
Thu, 16 Mar 1995 18:01:13 CST
In regard to co-ed Scouting, Dan OCanna writes:
>I've wondered the same thing through out this discussion. How do the young
>folks in the programs feel about being coed. I'll ask the boys in my troop.
>How 'bout others doing the same. E-mail me with the results by April 5 and
>I'll post the results. Please include the following information.
>Please phrase the question: "Would you prefer for this troop/post/... to be
>co-ed or single sex?"
I would be very leery of the results of such a survey unless it included the
kind of thought provoking questions suggested by Norman MacLeod.
My own experience in this area has shown that the vast majority of Scouts and
Scouters in the U.S. have little if any experience in what co-ed Scouting is,
or can be, what the real problems are, and what the real benefits are.
For the past six years we in the Indianhead Council have had a bilateral
exchange program with the Guias y Scouts de Costa Rica (a co-ed Scouting
organization) and have recently started an bilateral exchange program with
the Bulgarian Scout Organization in Varna (also a co-ed organization). I
have been a leader on three co-ed trips to Costa Rica, been a camp leader for
three of their return visits here, been the leader of a trip to Bulgaria and
their return visit, and most recently been one of the leaders in the U.S.
delegation at the Pan American Jamboree in Bolivia (a co-ed event for other
In the first year of the exchange visits with Costa Rica, only boys were
allowed to participate on both sides of the exchange. We were asked by many
Costa Ricans "Don't you have girls in Scouting? Don't the boys and girls in
the United States know how to work together and live together?"
The second year we invited the Guides as well as the Scouts from Costa Rica.
When we told people that there were going to be girls at summer camp, the
reaction of most of the boys was the expected chuckles and joking. There was
also fear expressed by many leaders who were not actually going to be at camp
and had not already been involved in the program.
Needless to say, everything went quite well. None of the fears turned into
problems, and the chuckles and joking turned into understanding and respect.
All the people that have been involved with this program have come away with
a very positive outlook on what co-ed Scouting can be.
If you ask boys that have never experienced co-ed Scouting what they think
about it, their answers will be quite different than those that have; unless,
as Normal MacLeod suggests, you get them to really think about it.
T. N. T.
Thomas N. Turba
Indianhead Council, BSA
1170 W. Burke Ave.
Roseville, MN 55113
P.S. There is still room for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts on this year's co-ed
Scouting trip to the Black Sea area of Bulgaria. Send private e-mail if you
want more information.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City