Re: A total co-ed program on the horizon for BSA?
Grant O'Neil (oneilg@IINET.NET.AU)
Sat, 19 Sep 1998 23:45:11 +0800
Comment has been made that BSA is evaluating co-ed scouting in Cubs etc.
because "the whole world does it". Not exactly correct, but certainly the
majority of WOSM members now have mixed-gender scouting programs, with BSA
being the most notable exception. It's been that way here in Australia for
a few years now, and for what it's worth, here's my advice to BSA members
facing such a change from someone who has already been there:
1) If there is such a significant change being proposed, the national
organisation will undoubtedly have some sort of consultation process in
which existing members can express their views. HAVE YOUR SAY! Don't be
apathetic and then later complain that changes are made against your wishes.
2) Ensure that if such a change is made, that it is implemented in a
similar manner to how it was done here (and to the best of my knowledge in
Canada and the UK) i.e. each individual scouting unit can choose to accept
girls or remain boys-only. Once a unit has chosen to admit girls it cannot
revert to being boys-only. This then avoids the situation where all units
are obliged to admit girls. Why is this important? Some sponsors (most
notably the LDS church) only sponsor boy scouting and have other programs
for girls. Being compelled to admit girls into their scouting program would
cause them to discontinue sponsoring scouting (and most likely set up a
"scout-like" program within their own organisation that they can control)
3) Until it happens, don't sweat it. As with most things in life, nothing
is gained by worrying about future possibilities that never eventuate. On
the other hand, give the thought enough consideration so as to be clear in
your own mind what you like/dislike about the idea. This way you can give
an honest and considered opinion if the opportunity presents itself (see
4) If it happens, deal with it. If you can't live with such a change and
decide to leave, so be it. We lost a lot of "old-timers" as scouters here
when the change was made. The world did not end. There have been good and
bad aspects to the change; I was opposed to it personally but have had to
decide whether I would be so committed to a comparatively trivial point as
to deprive myself of something that is dear to my heart. The answer was no,
and I have learned that life (and scouting) goes on. The biggest loser has
been Girl Guiding; they in turn have had to make significant changes to
"modernise" their program and make it more attractive so as to keep girls
who otherwise they might lose to the "competition" of Scouts.
5) If you are opposed and want to express your views, you'd better come up
with some more valid and practical reasons than the majority of the reasons
I have seen bandied about in "3G" discussions on rec.scouting.issues - so
far I have only seen one or two reasons that come to much more than appeals
to tradition or the fact that facilities do not cater for females. To those
basing your arguments on such points I say - get in the real world.
Facilities can be changed, and the "tradition" of scouting was non-existent
less than 100 years ago, and has been in a constant state of change ever
Just my $0.02 worth from downunder...
Grant O'Neil _r| Ll\
firstname.lastname@example.org => \ |_|_ /
I was miserable.
Then someone told me "Smile and be happy - things could get worse"
So I smiled and was happy - and things got worse...
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City