Girls in Boy Scouts
Bill Spofford (bspofford@MAIL.HQ.FAA.GOV)
Mon, 28 Aug 1995 13:40:11 EST
As a Chartered Organizational Representative and Mate in BSA
(Troop 845 and Ship 845, National Capital Area Council) and a
Cadette/Senior Troop Leader in GSUSA (Troop 822, Commonwealth
Girl Scout Council), it is with much interest that I see the
debate go on about co-ed Scouting. My personal feelings are that
this is a natural progression in line with us all recognizing
that there is little difference between the aspirations of boys
and girls. IMHO, the problem is simply that there are not enough
appropriate organizations for girls in many localities to give
them the variety of opportunities that are available to boys.
Thus the Boy Scouts of America, being the largest youth
organization, is the one that is usually being asked to change.
Several respondents replied that this should not be a BSA -
GSUSA, us versus them discussion. I heartily agree. GSUSA
provides a different focus and a different organization than does
BSA, even though most, if not all, of the same activities can be
offered by either organization.
I started a high adventure, outdoor activities oriented
Cadette/Senior Girl Scout troop that operates very similar to a
Boy Scout Troop. I did this when my daughter was about to drop
out of Girl Scouts because the current troops did not offer
sufficient outdoor activities. My ONLY other option was to have
her wait until she turned 14 and hope that she was still
interested in scouting.
My frustration with much of the debate on this issue is that it
focuses on the rights of the BSA and not on the rights of the
youth. This is the fault of the parents and those that continue
to live in the past. It is difficult to truly believe that men
and women are equal, when one was raised when women did not have
equality. BSA enjoyed more support in its earlier years (and
this base continues today) because it was for BOYS. If you don't
want to change the BSA, then provide the support necessary to
other organizations (such as GSUSA) that provide a similar
program to girls!
I have seen prejudice in both BSA and GSUSA, and it is not easy
to deal with. It has hot buttons that one never knew existed!
However, I believe that if the adults of both organizations were
polled in the right manner, the vast majority would support equal
opportunities for both boys and girls, whatever form it should
I would welcome the addition of girls to my Boy Scout troop. I
hope that BSA rethinks its position and starts looking for ways
to accommodate those girls that need and want their program. In
the meantime, those of us that have both sons and daughters
should be applying our resources equally to the organizations
that best serve our children. Don't slight your daughter because
you don't like the system! Your son will also benefit.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City