Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: Re: Out of curiosity
Re: Out of curiosity
Mon, 26 Apr 1999 10:10:34 +0000
> Sorry - As hard as I might try, I just can't stay out of this one.
> Jim Mahoney is bothered by the idea of making the BSA coeducational,
> and asks why it is the "male" organizations which need to be
> changed. I guess, in my mind, the answer has two parts:
> 1) Because, unfortunately, it is the male organizations which have
> typically received the public and financial support they need to
> succeed and have developed the stronger programs. I'm certain that
> all of us on this forum would agree that scouting in the BSA model
> has many values to offer to youth. I can't see why those values
> should only be offered to our male youth and not our female youth.
> For whatever reason, BSA has grown into a stronger position than
> GSUSA, Campfire Girls, etc. In order to live the scout ideals, we
> have an obligation to provide as much benefit as we can to all of
> our youth.
Are you telling me that NOW couldn't scrape together a few bucks to
support a Girl Scout Troop based on the same values as Boy Scouting
if they really wanted to. In fact anyone currently excluded from
Boys Scouting is free to form their own private organization based
on the Scouting model
> 2) Because coeducational troops would benefit the boys. The proper
> raising of our children includes teaching them to respect and learn
> to work with people who are different than they are, and BSA can
> provide an excellent means to do this. That, to our shame, is
> something which is sadly lacking in American society. Does BSA want
> to be part of the problem, or part of the solution?
If anything we are more surrounded by sensitivity than ever before,
including the threat of legal sanctions for failure to follow the
rules. IF anything, the proliferation of all of this sensitivity
training has been making the problem worse instead of better. This
is because ultimately all of these programs dwell on what makes
people different rather than what makes us the same, giving us the
Balkanized collections of special interest groups we have today. Do
you rally think all of these groups are fighting to get into Scouting
because they want to follow the Scout law? Their goal is to destroy
what is a successful value based institution.
> Scouters who object to this idea typically claim that integration of
> girls into other previously all-male enclaves has lowered the
> quality for the boys. In the words of Sherman Potter (M*A*S*H) -
> BULLPUCKY! The quality of schools, youth athletic programs,
> community service clubs, etc. has gone UP because the girls brought
> skills and ideas into the organizations, just like the boys. This
> idea that we should maintain "traditional organizations where men
> could teach boys how to be men" has only served to isolate them and
> has caused significant problems as our society has changed since the
> days of Baden-Powell, and it is time to get rid of it.
And in the words of Ed Norton (sewer worker in the Honeymooners) that
smell in the air isn't Springtime.
Again, I ask why are all-female institutions always glorified and
all-male organizations always vilified. Society puts enough pressure
on kids to pair up at ever younger ages without introducing it into
scouting. What is wrong with an organization where boys are free to
be themselves, by themselves without having to worry about showing
off for girls. Boys are facing unprecedented problems in our society
today. There is a good article in this month's Scouting magazine by
a psychologist who describes the problems boys are facing in growing
up today and why Scouting is so important to their development.
Boys are no longer valued in our society and our schools. Even the
phrase "Boys will be boys" is almost always used to describe
something negative. Boys are overwhelmingly the victims of violence,
more likely to be diagnosed as ADD (and medicated) and nine times
more likely to commit suicide than girls. What is is about growing up
male in our society that is literally making our boys kill
themselves. What is so bad about creating an environment where they
can learn from successful, stable, and well adjusted male role
models? If we were dealing with girls we would say we were
"empowering" them and be applauded for our efforts.
I will go back into lurk mode now and refrain from further comments
on this subject. I only hope it will continue to be debated without
action for another 3 years when my son has concluded his Scouting