Girl Scout program vs Boy Scout program
Alan Houser (troop24@EMF.NET)
Sat, 26 Aug 1995 23:50:59 -0700
I think a number of people have hit the nail on the head here. There are
some girls who want a program like the Boy Scout program that emphasizes
the outdoors, and they are not finding it within GSUSA. But I know that
it can be there. As a Girl Scout, my wife did more camping to more places,
including a trip to Central America, than I ever did as a Boy Scout. The
reason was the parents of her troop, all of them, were committed to making
it happen. That's probably why she stayed in Scouting through high school,
and I dropped out after 2 years.
I have a friend who has a son in a Boy Scout troop and a daughter in a Girl
Scout troop. Both parents are active in both programs. Recently, the
daughter bridged from one level to the next (I don't recall what the levels
were but that's not important). In a particularly symbolic ceremony, they
bridged by walking across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco to Marin.
The mother, my friend, who is one of the troop leaders, thought it would
be nice to cap off the ceremony by camping overnight in one of the former
Army batteries in the Marin Headlands. Inside, so no tents would be needed.
The girls thought it was a great idea. She could not get another mother
from the entire troop to agree that it was a good idea. Result: no campout.
On the other hand, I have had some communication with another Girl Scout
leader who lives near here who took her troop to hike the Chilkoot Trail
in Alaska some years ago. My Scouts are salivating over that trek.
Also, a few years ago, a San Jose Girl Scout troop made a big splash in
the local media because they had taken up rifle shooting as an interest
activity. What an "un-Girl Scout"-like activity!!! Man bites dog....
What's wrong with this picture? When was the last time you saw big media
coverage of a Boy Scout troop at the rifle range?
Based on my non-Scouting trips to the backcountry as well as our Philmont
trek of a few years ago, I can say with certainty that there are women who
enjoy backpacking, and not just a few. So why is it that there are girls
who cannot find a Scouting program that will allow them to learn those same
skills that we take for granted in Boy Scouting? Why is it that another
friend of mine organized a high adventure Explorer Post for her daughter and
friends so that they could do what we call a Boy Scout outdoors program? Are
there institutional barriers within GSUSA that make it more difficult? Or is
it the fault of the girls' parents?
Please note that I am not arguing for either coed or separate gender
Scouting. I share many of the thoughts that have been argued eloquently
by both sides here, and I can see merits in having both.
And I especially think that the girls deserve to have the same opportunities
as the boys, and not just after age 14, by whatever program is available to
them. All preconceptions, philosophies, and dogmas aside, how can we make
Alan R. Houser ** Scoutmaster, Berkeley Troop 24 ** firstname.lastname@example.org
** WWW page ** http://www.emf.net/~troop24/t24.html **
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City