BSA, GSUSA and Scouting
Jim Carter (hci@CS.USASK.CA)
Sun, 16 Feb 1997 16:47:52 -0600
Greetings from Canada which was (probably) the second last country in the
world to fully accept coed Scouting (about 4 years ago now). Especially best
wishes to our brother and sister Scouts and Scouters in the last country to
fully accept coed.
For the previous two years I was Cubmaster to a coed Cub Pack. This year I
am Scoutmaster to a coed Scout Troop. The girls are equal participants in
all ways and have always held their share of leadership positions. This is
partially because both the Pack and the Troop started off as being coed and
thus avoided the baggage of all those with entrenched views on the
separation of the sexes in Scouting. These entrenched views are just as much
a historical legacy that has little or nothing to do with Scouting as short
BP explained that he wore shorts because that was what the kids of his day
regularily wore. Thus today we should accept blue jeans! Likewise he
separated the sexes in a cosmetic way (with different organizaitons in
accordance with the expectations of the time) recognizing that the same
basic idea of Scouting was good for both groups.
Coed Scouting works. What works far less well is trying to get entrenched
power groups to allow Scouting to work as it should. In Canada our
organizational chart shows the youth at the top, then the leaders, then the
commissioners, and finally national at the bottom. while everyone pays lip
service to this arrangement, the closer people are to national the less they
often act like they believe it. sometimes they need a reminder or two.
It seems that the Scouts in the rest of the world are far more fortunate
than those in the USA (both BSA and GSUSA) since we own our program - our
national headquarters exist (at least in theory) to support us. The amount
of concern raised by BSA and GSUSA leaders for regulations imposed upon you
is quite amazing. BP warned us against Synthetic Scouting:
>Personally I fear there is the danger that a kind of synthetic Scouting may
creep >into our training in place of the natural article described in
Scouting for Boys. ... By >"synthetic Scouting" I mean the Scout system
obscured by over clothing the natural >form with rules and instructive
literature, tending to make what originally was, an >open-air game into a
science for the Scouter and a school curriculum for the boy.
> BP, Aug, 1936
Don't forget that Scouting's a game and if it isn't Fun then it isn't
Scouting. If it isn't fun, reasonable, or necessary, then tell the rule
makers it sin't real Scouting. Tell them that unnecessary rules should go or
that they should go (and then you replace them with people that will let
these sunthetic rules go).
In Scouting we're trying to teach leadership to all our members. When it
comes to offensive Synthetic Scouting limitations we need to demonstrate
leadership by demanding change. If we don't, what kind of leadership are we
teaching our Scouts?
Good Scouting All,
Jim Carter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City