Re: Girl wants to join BSA
Norman J. MacLeod (gaelwolf@MARLIN.SSNET.COM)
Mon, 28 Aug 1995 22:13:34 EDT
At 10:15 AM 8/28/95 PDT, David Scammell wrote:
>How many of you, as parents or Scout Leaders, want your girl(s) out in the
>woods with boys (or vice versa), during the hormone development age of either
>boys or girls?
>I grew up in Scouts and I know that it wasn't too uncommon to sneak from the
>Boy Scout camp, across or around the lake, to the Girl Scout camp. I'd also
>like to note that we weren't turned away by the girls either. The difficult
>part was getting past the Boy Scout leaders first and then the Girl Scout
>leaders ... difficult, but not impossible! I can even recount a few similar
>instances from Church Camps and Council trips as well.
>It seems that this situation would be even more difficult if they were in the
>same campsite. I know that I have my hands full whenever our Troop is in a
>public campsite and there are girls present. Luckily, having been there myself
>and knowing most of the tricks, I can 'usually' stop boys from sneaking out and
>have even stopped a few girls from sneaking in. I've also had problems during
>Family Campouts when sisters are present ... even though the girls are in the
>same tent as their parents.
This is a concern expressed by quite a few people who are not familiar with
co-ed Souting. When I first joined the UK Scout Association as a Leader some
years ago, the co-ed option had not been introduced. This was one of the
concerns we had to address when we were in the process of becoming a co-ed
Group, since it was brought up by some of our Leaders, as well as some of
hte Scouts' parents.
A lot of this has to do with the expectations of the Troop's leadership, as
well as with the methods used to run the Troop. If you are making a big
production about preventing boys and girls getting together, they are going
to pick up on this in a hurry. Your actions and attitudes will signal them
that you have set up a test for them to overcome - that of sneaking out of
camp - and both pre-adolescents and adolescents will often go a long way in
a quest to "best the test".
In our experience in Den Haag, we never had to worry about this happening.
This may well be as a result of our using a family-style appraoch to our
programme. The same goes for the Scouting Nederland Groep I was affiliated
with. The kids actually did behave pretty much along the lines of brothers
How far did this extend? Quite a long way - to the extent where I have
observed, more than once, a rather telling scene. it goes pretty much like
this (and you can swap the gender if you like, because I've seen it happen
when the visitor was a girl, as well as when the visitor was a boy) -
A young gentleman, most often from a boys-only Troop, begins paying
attention to a girl from one of our Patrols and begins hovering about the
Patrol's campsite. Time for an activity, either in or out of camp, and one
of the boys from our Troop invites the visitor to leave, most often by
reminding him that his own Patrol probable needs his help right now just as
badly as ours need the help of the Patrol member being visited.
Remember - it works the opposite way, as well...
The bottom line is that the Scouts are used to a family atmoshpere in the
Scout Group, are enjoying a quality programme that they design and manage
with a little help from the adults, and they don't want to mess it up.
Another Leader who has been in this discussion mentioned that his Scouts had
even taken this to the point where they discouraged dating behaviour on
their outings - without involving the Leaders in the course of doing so. As
he tells it, they were low-key, but to the point about this amonst themselves.
I would observe that the gentleman who posted the quoted text apparently
spent some time "rebelling" during the course of some Scouting activities.
As a result of his experience in doing so, he apparently expects the Scouts
he works with to do the same, and acts proactively to try to prevent this
happening with the Scouts in his Troop during overnight activities.
Apparently the see this as a game or challenge, and don't disappoint.
When you expect a particular type of behaviour, you may well get it. This
goes for negative behaviour, but it also works for positive behaviour. If
you set a gentler standard, and don't make a big deal over trying to prevent
the possibility of commando-style escape and evasion tactics on the Scouts'
part. It's better to set things up so that peer pressure works for you,
instead of against you.
Yes, this is a thorny problem to consider, but it has been pretty much a
non-issue in the co-ed Groups I have worked with, as well as other co-ed
Groups in the countries and Districts where I have had the honour and
priviledge of working with both the young ladies and the young gentlemen.
As mentioned by the quoted poster, they are growing up, and their hormones
are sometime running amuck. Thing is, aren't we trying to bring them to the
point where they can behave fairly consistently like adults? Aren't we
providing a training ground for life? Are we suposed to be treating them
like little kids who can't be trusted?
Experience tells me that, in most instances, if you treat young people with
trust, they will go a very long way to prevent themselves letting you down.
If there is one amongst them who shouldn't be trusted quite so much as the
others, they will most often keep that person from doing anything seriously
Again, there is more than one slant to the issue - and again, here is a
little more food for thought.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City