Re: Continuing the discussion even more ... against GIRLS!
Lawrence E. Faust (lfaust@ATLANTIC.NET)
Fri, 30 May 1997 15:44:42 -0400
> And what in the world do you do with those female scout leaders?
Give them jobs in the pack and get 'em trained ASAP (taking 3 female & 1
male Cub Leaders to Basic Training in Tampa 1st thing tomorrow am)!!
Absolutely no objection at all to female leaders in Scouting. Want 'em,
need 'em, gotta have 'em.
We DO have co-ed Scouting- Explorers. Youth can start at age 14 (?), and a
Post can do EVERYTHING a Troop can do!
I just don't think making Boy Scouts co-ed is necessarily a good move on
several fronts (Cub Scouts OTOH may be a different kettle o' fish). At "Boy
Scout age", boys & girls are BOTH going through some pretty major changes,
mentally & physically.
1) I'm not sure that putting sexually maturing teenagers of both sexes
"under canvas" (separate tents, of course) for a weekend would be either
wise or practical. For one thing, both a male & female leader would have to
"stand watch" in shifts all night, every night just to make sure no
hanky-panky goes on. Not to mention, latrines & showers. Just imagining the
headlines & news stories loaded with misinformation give me the willies.
2) At that age, boys & girls begin to make "overtures" to the opposite sex
in order to attract them. In boys, this sometimes takes the form of showing
off to impress the girls. These displays might impact the program
safety-wise. It would also tend toward a rather ugly form of
"stratification" among the youth, among sexual lines, based on maturity,
security, aggressiveness, and attractiveness. Which in turn, would tend to
foster feelings of inferiority & insecurity among those who unfortunately
wind up at the bottom end of the "stratification" stick.
3) Also, there's this competition thing going on between the sexes, which
sometimes turns nasty with one sex insisting that they're better than the
other. We'd probably wind up with all-girl patrols vs. all-boy patrols. I'm
just not convinced that we need to introduce the nuances of learning to cope
with the "war between the sexes", with all it's attendant negativity, at the
same time we're supposed to make Scouting more fun for everyone.
4) There's also the dating thing. Can you just imagine the repercussions
within a Troop of a Scout dating another Scout, and then breaking up (as
teenage relationships often do) in a VERY negative way? How about between
Scouts of different Troops?
I agree with others, that in an ideal world, co-ed Scouting would truly be
a wonderful thing- a chance for young people of both sexes to get together
in a positive environment to build their characters and gain a true
understanding of each other's abilities (My 12 year old daughter's been
working with my Cub Scout den since Tigers. She really loves Scouting). But,
it ain't an ideal world out there, Patty. Sadly, things are gonna happen
between boys & girls given a chance. Some of them, quite nasty and sordid.
Accusations, assumptions, and innuendo will be made by society at large,
regardless of the truth, and will have an enormous impact of the American
Scouting community. Not to mention how parents will react to co-ed camping &
You may also state that making Scouting co-ed would tend to make it more
reflective of the pressures & influences of larger society. Well, yes it
would. However, the original purpose of the Boy Scout movement was to build
character. This simply cannot be accomplished within such a "microcosm of
You may counter that other international Scouting organizations have co-ed
Scouting. True 'nuff, but have you taken a REAL close look at those groups?
Most, if not all of them, have had to so radically restructure their
programs due in large part to going co-ed, that their brand of Scouting is
but a mere shadow of the original organization, not to mention the focus
present in it's BSA variant. I point you to Britain's Scout Association
(http://www.scoutbase.org.uk/) for a prime example of this "watering-down".
A good counterpoint might be the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association
(http://www.scoutnet.org.uk/bpscouts/). Maybe it's that American youth are
less sexually mature and/or secure than their international counterparts. I
I respect the opposing opinion (and secretly root for it to win the day
eventually), but at this time, the negatives inherent in a co-ed Boy
Scouting program, IMHO, far outweigh the positives.
Scouting is a way of life,
Cub Scout Pack 303
Gulf Ridge Council
(visit us at http://rio.atlantic.net/~lfaust/pack303/index.html)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City