Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: Re: Gender
Wed, 28 Apr 1999 09:10:18 -0400
T. Westerhof of the Netherlands asked:
> Sorry, but can anybody tell me if there are people anywhere in the
> US, who want to do some really serious Scouting with a lot of fun
> and don't give a damn about something"irrelevant" like the gender
(I'm sure I'll get flamed for this one)
Yes there are. But, Scouting in the USA is "different" (wierd?). I've
never been to the Netherlands, but in France (as I briefly saw it) there
are several Scouting paths under a single umbrella organization. In
their own way they are exclusionary by religion or gender but offer
Ironically, some of the most able "rangers" at BSA's high adventure base
"Philmont" are young women - and the can do serious ScOUTing. I suspect
that they made inroads because of laws prohibiting gender bias in
business hiring, and other non-discrinatory changes will not be far
In the USA we tend to offer diverse organizations rather than
organizations with diversity. I suspect diversity will come, but it
will take a generational shift to catch up with social trends - it is
only a little over 15 years ago that women (very serious about ScOUTing)
could become (BSA) leaders, and shortly before that racially segregated
units were acceptable.
Part of the perceived differences is that Scouting in the USA not only
became gender segregated, but bureaucratically separated - a large
professional staff "supporting" the volunteers in the field. It
followed a "business" model.
This bureaucracy, both in BSA and GSUSA (Girl Scouts) have a natural
antipathy to merging, because that would cause downsizing and the loss
of jobs. Hubris enters into the mix, as well.
The professional side is also more responsive to larger outside power
and funding sources (with agenda) to maintain itself, and the local
"chartered" units must fend for themselves financially.
> be found and what the BSA has put on its site puts HJ in my mind,
> No possibility for a Guides&Scouts USA? It seems that everywhere
> coed is a result of a fusion between Guide and Scout organizations
> or the boys "allowing" the girls to join,
Perhaps when the Canadians invade us and win ;-) One of the
alternative (equally old) paths is the "Campfire". The Campfire Girls
became gender integrated 25 years ago and is now the Campfire Boys and
Girls Clubs. Other youth organizations include the 4-H and Future
Farmers of America which have an agrarian focus.
Well, that's my perspective on the scene.