Re: FOREIGN SCOUTS/Co-ed Scouting (Long)
Rodger Morris (rodger@FISHNET.NET)
Fri, 11 Aug 1995 15:48:00 GMT
Jim Miller said:
>While some of us might agree with the desirability of coed scouting, here in
>the US the fact is that there are two seperate organizations for Boy Scouts
>and Girl Scouts. That leaves your friend with only three choices:
>1. the daughter can join GSUSA;
>2. the daughter at 14 can join BSA as an Explorer - a coed program;
>3. the daughter can function as a lone scout in the program of her own
If this situation were to arise, I would include the Scout in my Troop's
activities, female or not, as long as he or she is currently registered
in her national Scout association which is in its turn a member in good
standing of the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM).
Likewise, as Jim Miller points out, if a girl is at least 14 years old,
regardless of her citizenship, she may also be registered as an Explorer
in the BSA.
In so doing, I would try to become approved as a "Lone Scout Friend
and Counselor" through the Scout's home country Scouting association.
Granted, the letter of the BSA regulations is against the course of
action that I would take in re including a female youth member of a
foreign Scout association in BSA activities. Nevertheless, to quote
the U.S. Navy's "Naval Aviation Training and Operational Procedure
"The NATOPS shall be adhered to in all respects. Nevertheless, blind
adherence to the NATOPS shall not replace the exercise of good
This principle is also valid in Scouting.
N.B. The arbitrary exclusion of _any_ registered Scout in good standing
from Scouting activites goes against every principle upon which Scouting
is based. I am not prepared to discriminate against roughly 20%-25% of
the members of the WOSM based solely upon shape of skin.
On a related thread; that od co-ed Scouting in the BSA:
In the past, one of the reasons cited for disregarding the success of
co-educational Scouting in other countries, was that their cultures
were very different than that of the USA and that therefor, co-ed
Scouting would not and could not work in this country. The success of
co-ed Scouting in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and New Zealand
definitively proves the fallacy of this oft-expressed view.
Likewise, the "justification" of the BSA national office to the effect
that psychological studies have indicated that co-ed Cubbing and Scouting
would be harmful to male children, has been rendered moot by the empirical
evidence to date in all of the countries worldwide that have adopted co-ed
Scouting over the last quarter of a century. The evidence is in, and it
overwhelmingly shows that co-ed Scouting is harmful neither to male
children nor to female children.
Having said that, I concede the Constitutional right of the BSA as a
private, not for profit organization, to adopt, pursue and persist in
an illogical and fallacious membership policy. One just wishes that
the BSA would not hide behind the use of pretexts in re this matter.
As the BSA belatedly edges into the last quarter of the 20th century,
the acceptance and method of implementation of co-ed Scouting within
the BSA is one of the issues that shall have to be resolved. The BSA
took a much needed first step back in 1971 by allowing the admission
of girls as full members of the Exploring program. It has been almost
a quarter of a century since then. Exploring's overwhelmingly positive
experience with co-ed membership corroborates the experience of other
Scouting associations worldwide over the last quarter of a century at
all age levels of the Scouting program. IMHO, It is past time that we
admit to ourselves that co-ed Scouting works and bring the membership
policy of the Cub Scouting and Scouting Divisions of the BSA into line
with that of the BSA's Exploring Division.
I was against co-ed Scouting until I lived for almost 4 years in Europe
while I was a Naval Flight Officer in the U.S. Navy. As most officers
are, I was a pragmatist who believed that if a hypothesis is contradicted
by verifiable facts, it is time to discard that hypothesis in favor of
one which _does_ match said facts and the available data. My experiences
in international Scouting demonstrated that co-ed Scouting works, and
works very well indeed.
Fortunately, I had the intellectual honesty to admit that I was wrong
and to change my opinion to match the facts. Unfortunately, it took me
the better part of 18 months to do so. It can be tough to admit to one's
prejudice in re a given matter, and tougher still to admit that one is
wrong and to do one's best to overcome said prejudice.
"Hey, I don't need to look at the facts. I know that I am _not_
prejudiced!!! So there!!!!" ;-)
Had I not been exposed to international Scouting, I would most likely
still be espousing the same parochial view in re co-ed Scouting that I
held in January of 1982 when I arrived in Spain. Thus, I cannot fault
my compatriots in the BSA with little or no international Scouting
experience for their narrow and parochial Scouting perspectives.
As a parting thought, I predicted in about April of 1985 at the
Iberia-Morocco District Spring Camporee of the Transatlantic Council
that women would become full members of the BSA without restriction
as to volunteer position held by the end of the year 1995. I further
predicted that girls would become full members in both Cub Scout Packs
and Boy Scout Troops within the BSA by the end of the year 2005.
Finally, I predicted that the Exploring model for co-ed membership,
wherein the sponsoring institution may mandate an all-boy, all-girl, or
co-ed membership in the units it sponsors, would be adopted as a
workable compromise between those sponsoring institutions which wish
to extend Scouting to all youth and those which wish to continue to
restrict Scouting membership to boys only.
I see no need to alter my predictions. Indeed, I was far too pessimistic
the timeframe given in my first prediction. Women became full members
in the BSA in 1988. Likewise, I suspect that I may well have been too
pessimistic as to when co-ed Scouting will finally come to pass within
This issue, of course, is one about which reasonable individuals may
Yours in Scouting,
Rodger Morris <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 852, Camarillo, CA
Ventura County Council, Boy Scouts of America
National Woodbadge 416-18, Philmont, 1973
"I used to be a Beaver..."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City