Re: Curiosity between GSA and BSA
Kathleen Jones (joneskp@CTRVAX.VANDERBILT.EDU)
Fri, 27 Sep 1996 16:12:40 -0500
>This gets to my question. I have been in BSa for almost 20 years. There
>has been, in my local experiences, the "sensational" story of abuse, but
>I have never heard of it being stated as "almost every troop has this
>sort of problem." Even at my Adult Leader Basic course, someone asked a
>hypothetical question about suspected abuse, and no one had enough
>experience, except the DE present, to answer the question.
>The conclusion today at the in-school meeting was that it almost seems to
>be more prevalent in girl scouts than boy scouts, or that is more likely
>to happen to girls than boys, or something equally ambivalent. The
>answer definately was NOT girl scout leaders are more sensitive to the
>issue than boy scout leaders.
Although I agree that gender differences in both leader sensitivity and
determination of abuse, may be responsible for some the divergent
experiences in question, I suspect there is another cause as well.
Differences between the two organizations, GSUSA and BSA could paly a role.
Specifically, I wonder whether Girl Scout Troops do not tend to be located
in upper-middle class communities, but instead serve a population that is
more heavily weighted on the low income side, than the population BSA
serves. The implication is that abuse (and especially neglect) often takes
a more obvious form in lower-income families, and therefore girls scout
leaders may come in contact with more blatant instances.
Of course, many Boy Scouts are from lower income families, and there is a
growing awareness of the need for upper-middle class girls to participate
in programs such as scouts. However, I believe the traditional
constituencies of the two groups, as well as the orientation of program
materials, may continue to ensure that the two organizations draw from
different types of families, even when they are pulling from the same
community. At any rate, in my experience here in middle Tennessee, the Boy
Scouts have a much stronger program among the well-to-do, while the Girl
Scouts outpace the boys in the community centers and among public housing
I second the thanks for bringing up such a thought provoking topic!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City