Re: CO-ED SCOUTS
Norman J. MacLeod (gaelwolf@MARLIN.SSNET.COM)
Sat, 25 Mar 1995 16:42:23 EST
You wrote -
>If you want co-ed scouting - look for a BSA Explorer Post or Campfire for
>Boys & Girls or a 4-H club. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies & Girl Scouts
>are not going to accept co-ed now or in the future. Boy Scouts have up-held
>no young ladies for 85 years.
Campfire, as good as it is, is neither Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. Neither is
The BSA has NOT upheld "no young ladies" for several years now, since the
Exploring programme went co-ed at the option of the individual Post several
years ago. The BSA's Learning for Life programme is fully co-ed, and I
believe that girls are allowed to take part in the Venture progamme as guests.
The BSA may or may not decide to allow girls to join Packs and Troops at
some point in the future - but that is neither a decision that has been
taken, nor a policy that is written so firmly in concrete that it my not
change at some point in the future. Scouting has undergone many evolutionary
changes since the days when it began earlier in the century. The BSA's
decision to allow girls to join the junior section, should the decision be
taken, will simply represent one more evolutionary change in the programme.
So long as each Pack and Troop is allowed the choice of whether to accept
girls or not, the BSA will suffer no harm, and will probably be enhanced by
broadening the programme options to both the adult Leaders and the youth
I do not think the GSUSA will accept boys into its programmes at any
forseeable point in the future. The Girl Guide Associations in the British
Commonwealth nations have all remained open only to girls, while the Scout
Associations have mostly opened the option of co-ed Scouting as something to
be implemented only if the local Scout Group's youth members and leadersihp
team wish to have co-ed sections. (South Africa is the only exception that I
can think of at the moment, but that is a nation that is busy dealing with a
massive social change throughout all areas of society. Opening the South
African Scout Association to girls is currently under discussion.)
Many of the people who post to Scouts-L are from other countries, where
co-ed Scouting is a viable option for a local Scout Group to choose. Many of
us are presently working with co-ed Scouting programmes, and are doing so
without difficulty, with sections that are doing very well, thank you.
Not to flame you, but you may wish to resist the temptation to place
yourself in the position of appearing to speak for the corporate offices of
either the BSA or the GSUSA. I'm quite sure that was not your intent,
regardless of how it appeared to me when I read what you wrote. While you
may not believe that the option of co-ed membership will ever be opened in
either the BSA or the GSUSA, you may find yourself having to revise your
opinion at some point in the coming years, even if you would have difficulty
in accepting the concept.
In discussing this subject with many BSA Leaders, I find a large number of
them who are at least open to the idea of allowing girls to join their Packs
and Troops at some point in the future. Those who feel the BSA would be
harmed if the option were allowed appear to be pretty much a minority, even
now. Of course, there are those would would never feel comfortable with
having girls in their Packs or Troops. There are others, though, who are
looking forward to there perhaps being an opportunity to run a co-ed
programme sometime on down the road.
No single national-level Scouting or Guiding programme has ever managed to
completely satisfy all of its youth and adult members. However, those that
offer a slightly wider range of programming options and somewhat higher
rules ceilings than are present in the BSA or the GSUSA seem to have less
dissent and arguing over policy. I have not observed American children to be
substantially different from their peers in other countries, and believe
that many of them would be just as comfrotable in a co-ed Scouting programme
as many of our children are. Some, of course, would be more comfortable in a
boys-only or girls-only programme, and these should be available as well.
That's pretty much how it works around the world - with the most notable
exception being several of the Islamic nations.
Perhaps you would like to be able to see co-ed Scouting in action somewhere?
I know there are a lot of opportunities to take your Scouts camping in
Cnada, if you would like to project your programme far enough into the
future to make it feasilble...
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City