Continuing the discussion
Thomas C. Petrik (EC92@AOL.COM)
Wed, 28 May 1997 16:02:56 -0400
Perhaps its the Exploring in my background, but I would have no trouble
adapting to a change that allowed girls in at the Boy Scout level. As can be
seen from the co-ed Explorer Posts we have, the YP problem is different, but
isn't that big an adaptation. Especially when you have many (if not most)
troops with at least one female already on the committee, it's just getting
one to go camping.
Even there I haven't had trouble. My wife went with the first troop I was SM
for in the early 80's with no trouble, even though she was in month 8 of
pregnancy with son #1.
Even before that I was in Wood Badge in 1976 with a female patrol member (of
course, back then the hats were different for each sex and all it took was a
hat on the outside of a latrine to tell if the occupant was male or female).
As recently as two years ago I was a SM with a unit that had a female
committee member with us on a regular basis for campouts and activities.
The biggest changes I see would be adaptations to the advancement
requirements, some problems with camp facilities (only some camps), and the
adults who would storm off rather than switch.
Regarding the fact that the girl's program isn't living up to the needs of
the girls and their desire to fit in with a modern community, I can't
respond. I never could understand why B-P let that woman from Atlanta throw
the U.S. program off track so it didn't correspond to the program worldwide.
It was obvious from the beginning that what would occur was the same thing
that happened when his victorian sister was running the Girl Guides and
refusing to adapt the program to current conditions. Not having both Boy and
Girl Scout programs run from the same office from day one was a major error
in the U.S. program.
Even though I can easily adjust, I would have to wonder about how an
11-year-old would, however. He's looked at cubbing as a chance to move to a
more exciting program (which it still could be) and he's seen his older
brother or friends move into the boys-only program, would he be mature enough
to adapt to the co-ed program once it began? Or would we have a few years
where the boys and girls would act as different groups within the same unit?
(Having returned from a trip with a High School band and watched the youth,
even at age 18, stay in two separate groups in the pool and not even mix in
the hot tub, and barely interact in public, I have to wonder at what age do
american youth finally mix together without tension.)
Please do not read between the lines, however. While I would adapt and
eventually the youth involved with would also, I would not be like some
others who have carried it too far and allowed girls to get uniforms and such
unless we had a program ready to roll from the National office and an
agreement between the two groups to work together. Until then I'll stick with
my Explorers for co-ed programs and when I get back into a troop, the
occassional guest on a Venture activity.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City