girls leading their own program
JASON CRUSE (jcruse@DU.EDU)
Wed, 12 Feb 1997 11:09:32 -0700
I have followed, and even commented once, on the thread of boy scouts vs
girl scouts. I have had some experiences (besides the ones my wife
shares with me) which are relevant.
While a scout in Missouri, my district had a joint camporee with the
Becky Thatcher girl scout council every year. It was a good weekend,
providing for social interaction [ :) ], but also allowing for merit
badges which were common between the two scouting organizations to be
earned in a co-ed environment. Relations were good between the two
I have recently been attempting to get such a program started in my
present council. There is a girl scout council which covers roughly the
same territory as the boys scouts. The girl scout response to the
proposal, "Only if we get to run it on our terms, and there will be
twice as many girls as boys invited." The boy scout response was simply
"Why would we want to do that?" Until all councils are working together
like the ones I grew up in, and others who have written about joint
projects, merging the two will be difficult to say the least, especially
on a practical level.
I do agree that it is good that there are still places where girls can
lead without interference from boys. My wife is a product of an
all-girl private high school, and says roughly the same thing. But not
all girls need this type of environment to lead. Saying that if girls
are leaving girls scouts for explorers means that the girls scout
program needs to change is off the mark. Does this mean that if boys
leave boy scouts for sports and dating that the boy scout program needs
to change to meet those needs? Of course not.
Not every program is for every child. Some girls thrive and need an
all-girl environment. Same with boys. Some prefer a mixed
environment. Some just leave because they don't like it; some move on
to something different.
Neither scout program can claim, nor should try, to be all things to all
kids. Each group stands for ideals that may not interest all kids (or
even adults, for that matter). If the girls scouts want to change,
that's fine, but one of the nice things about the separate organizations
is that they aren't in competition with each other (in theory).
Having been a scout leader in France and Switzerland (both of which are
co-ed) there are certainly advantages of co-ed programs. I can say that
I have *never* seen girls in these programs simply sit back and let the
boys run it. Both sexes have to take account of the other, not for
equality, but for harmony within the unit. Its not a boy vs girl thing,
its a unit progression thing.
-- Jason A. Cruse
University of Denver
"Toujours en avant. Si Dieu avait voulu que l'homme reculat, il lui
aurait mis un oeil derriere la tete."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City