Re: Girls and the BSA;Warning, long
Norman J. MacLeod (gaelwolf@MARLIN.SSNET.COM)
Tue, 29 Aug 1995 21:28:52 EDT
A few answers to some of your questions and concerns...
>... 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.
>From experience, I can tell you that any re-tooling is, at worst, minimal.
The only changes necessary are to have both men and women at activites as
registered Leaders, and to ensure that boys and girls sleep in separate
tents. ..Oh, and you do need to make a sign to take along if there aren't
going to be any gender-separated toilets, just to help avoid embarrasments...
>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.
Let's be fair here - there hasn't been a great deal of European
participation in this thread. Looking back, the majority of comment has come
from the US and Canada. Yes, I have been a member of more than one European
Scout Association at one time or another. Hopefully, this does not
disqualify me from commenting on this issue, or for offering the experiences
I have enjoyed as examples of how a co-ed membership OPTION can add to the
overall Scouting programme.
As for calling for changes in the BSA's membership policies... Well, since I
am now working with a BSA Troop, is my opinion more - or less - valuable
than anyone else's? I am sorry if those opinions are nettlesome to you, but
Scouting IS about sharing experiences, and there do appear to be numerous
BSA Leaders here who are thinking that they might like to have the option to
accept girls into their units, just as there are others who wish this issue
would never come up.
>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.
Self-determination is a precious right, and I would never want to take that
away from you. However, the BSA is not as monolithic an organization as some
people around the world think, and there is a wide diversity of opinion
within the BSA on this issue. While you do not wish your right of
self-determination be abrogated, would you wish keep the same right of
self-determination from the Scouts in our BSA Troop who are asking why they
can't have girls as members of the Troop? You see, they went to Canada this
summer and saw co-ed Scouting in operation first-hand. They saw Scouts being
Scouts - and it didn't make a bit of difference whether the Scouts were boys
or girls. BSA Scouting is where these boys grew up, so I guess you would
have to say it is theirs. Shouldn't their voice be heard, even a little bit?
>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
Believe it or not, Andy, we ARE focused on what we do well, and we ARE
putting the children first. Thing is, you can't put your hand out to just
your brother Scouts any longer, 'cause there's a whole lot of sisters in
this family now...
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City