Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: BSA's Co-Ed Dilemma
BSA's Co-Ed Dilemma
Wed, 21 Apr 1999 12:33:10 -0500
Cooper Right is now doing the co-ed "thing" as a
Venturing Crew Advisor. He has come up against the
discrimination against girls that has long been a sore
point for Sea Scouts and their officers.
The "Direct Route" to Eagle Scout and the ability to earn
Merit Badges enjoyed by members of Sea Scout ships, Air
Scout Squadrons, Explorer Posts and Rover Scout Crews was
abolished in 1965 along with the elimination of Air
Scouts, Rover Scouts, Air Scout ACE, Explorer Ranger and
Explorer Silver. That's also when the 18 for Eagle and 21
for Quartermaster age limits were instituted.
Formerly, Air Scouts, Explorers, Rover Scouts and Sea
Scouts with Apprentice rank could go directly to STAR
after earning some outdoor Merit Badges. Air Scout
Observers, Explorer Woodsman, Explorer Bronze and
Ordinary Sea Scouts could go directly to STAR.
Prior to 1965, Scouts and Scouters knew and appreciated
the wonderful advancement challenges available. Eagle was
heavily supported by all of Scouting. The ACE,
Quartermaster, Ranger and Silver Awards were exciting
enticements for youth to STAY in the BSA.
All of that was abolished when the decision to have
"Senior Scouting" become co-ed. The subsequent actions
were implemented to satisfy one of our religious partners
that NO GIRLS OR WOMEN would ever earn Eagle.
Those Draconian actions were taken, in my opinion, quite
thoughtlessly. We are still suffering from the "fall out".
Now, we even have Boy Scouters saying, contrary to BSA
regulations, that "Eagle" is the highest award in
Scouting! All of that stems from the actions of 1965,
1971 and the "news blackout that continued until 1 August
of 1998. That has resulted in BSA's currently
schizophrenic position vis a vis girls.
Personally, I have no interest in co-ed troops and packs.
I do love co-ed ships. What I dislike is the treating of
my Sea Scouts as "2nd Class Citizens". Young boys join
the ship and receive Star, Life and Eagle to the
accompaniment of great ceremony. Until G.O.L.D, the girls
We should change many of the 1965 knee jerk actions, find
a way to allow girls to continue to their Silver and
Gold Awards or set up "Eaglet" (GSUSA's former name for
Gold) or something NEW that would be fair.
Finally, we MUST expand Sea Scouts and Venturing to
survive. The current and immediate future demographics
make high school growth our imperative. BSA's greatest
essentially untapped resource is teenaged girls.