Re: Girls and the BSA;Warning, long
Andy McElhannon (Andrew_McElhannon@BAYLOR.EDU)
Tue, 29 Aug 1995 09:26:06 +0000
*******WARNING!******* DEAD HORSE ALERT ***********
And I'm in a whipping mood :-)
It still amazes me how we can continue to debate this issue regarding girls in
the boy scouts BSA, While I doubt I can adequately address this issue within the
confines of an e-mail in a way that will healthily add to the discourse we are
engaged in, I can't help but give it a try.
I guess you could say that this is one controversy that attracts me like flies
to a week old cow patty :-)
I've followed this thread with a keen interest as I, most likely, will be
following trends within the BSA for another four or five decades, and I consider
myself as having a keen interest in the longevity and long term welfare of the
BSA program, as most BSA scouters do.
The issues should not revolve around stale arguments such as, "We've always done
it that way and I "aint:" about to change", but rather upon the issue as to
whether or not such a decision is within the collective best interest of the
BSA, and who is best qualified to make this decision.
Firstly, I believe that it is within the collective best interest of the BSA to
maintain it's current membership standards, among my reasons for this opinion
are, we have an obligation that spreads back 85 years to give the best service
we can to the boys of the USA, and to enlarge our role to include girls below
the age of 14 would require a retooling of the entire Boy Scout and Cub Scout
programs, which I believe would undercut the quality of the programs which we
currently have. Feel free to disagree in regards to the need to retool, but
offer proof positive that it won't be necessitated by such a change. Another
reason for keeping membership policies the same centers around changes in
society and culture. In this day of some wanting to minimize the differences
between the sexes to a point of sameness, the result of which has been the
increasingly harder task of finding activities for our boys and girls in which
they can enjoy the company of their own sex. I believe this socialization is
extremely important, and has been underemphasised in popular culture today. I'm
not certain as to the full effects of this, but one need not look too far to see
what popular culture is churning out.
Regardless of whether we change membership policies or not, one thing that
nettles me is that AT TIMES (but not all the time, to be fair) the loudest call
for changes in the Boy Scouts of AMERICA's membership policy comes not from our
own shores but from Europe. It angers me and shames me to call some of these
folks fellow Scouters when their blatant intolerance to another nation's
program's policies rings forth. The term for this is Eurocentrism, whereby if
it isn't done in the European way then it isn't worth doing. It may shock a few
Europeans to learn that many people on the other side of the pond don't want to
follow down the paths that European Scouting has followed, but rather bring a
program to our boys that is unique to the United States, which presently
includes differences in membership policies from European Scouting associations.
When I see these hecklers and apostates verbally destroying the BSA, it is all I
can do just to catch my breath and be thankful that they compose only a small,
vocal minority of our European Scouters, who holistically have a great deal of
information and experience worth sharing to the list, which only makes this list
a better resource guide for all concerned.
I firmly believe in the right of Self-determination, I just wish some others
would accept the concept rather than attacking what is not theirs and what they
very well may not understand.
Now having said that, which was probably too much, I extend my hand
(electronically) to my brother Scouters around the world to unite in putting
children first, focusing on what we do well rather than on what we do
PS Please contact me privately to continue this discourse.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City