Boy Scouts Will Accept Girls

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DarkOne
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Boy Scouts Will Accept Girls

Post by DarkOne » Thu Oct 12, 6:12 2017

So I woke up to this headline and went WHOA... WHAT?:
Boy Scouts Will Accept Girls, in Bid to ‘Shape the Next Generation of Leaders (sorry - this topic is a bit US-centered)

I haven't followed scouting in... well, never. As a kid I disliked Boy Scouts and everything they did because I hated being excluded from learning how to start fires and tie knots for the sole fact that I was a girl. Boy Scouts gave me my earliest experience of gender discrimination awareness. And I'd like to think I boycotted Girls Scouts because who cares about baking and crafts (I love both, btw) and just teach me how to start a damned fire and camp out 'roughing it'. But the truth is, my parents couldn't have afforded either membership when I was growing up. Plus, my grown-up self knows I can't stand behind excluding agnostics and atheists, or "lifting" the general ban on gay leaders while spinelessly allowing individual groups to still ban them.

So my reaction to this today is a mix of mostly indifferent "it's about time" and skeptical "huh, I guess you were that desperate to get your membership up", with a tiny bit of a :dance2: for that girl who wants to be a Boy Scout and whose parents can afford it and won't morally object to other discriminatory BSA policies. But mostly skeptical.

Thoughts?
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Re: Boy Scouts Will Accept Girls

Post by Sonic# » Thu Oct 12, 8:17 2017

So my reaction to this today is a mix of mostly indifferent "it's about time" and skeptical "huh, I guess you were that desperate to get your membership up", with a tiny bit of a :dance2: for that girl who wants to be a Boy Scout and whose parents can afford it and won't morally object to other discriminatory BSA policies. But mostly skeptical.
I'm in a similar place.
Image

First, I'm wondering what happens to the Girl Scouts? It feels like the Boy Scouts are moving to go directly after their membership, especially with the move to open up the Cub Scouts first. I've seen the leadership and social skills Girl Scouts can offer; I don't want that to disappear.

Second, having been a Boy Scout myself, I think the program is dependent on local leadership. My troop leader was great, which was why I stuck with the program even after I had lost interest. However, these are also spaces that, under many circumstances, can be unfriendly to anyone who doesn't fit into the narrow ideology of the troop leader. The Boy Scouts do allow gay and trans* members now (with the caveats DarkOne mentions), but I find it difficult to imagine that they're universally welcome in every troop. So I have similar concerns about women fitting into the organization, even in gender-segregated troops.

Finally, or maybe back to the first point, I feel like a lot of people want to solve diversity problems by inviting women to a table that still belongs to men. It's still the Boy Scouts. The table hasn't been radically redesigned. This is the equivalent of saying that women are free to work without changing the work norms that favor men.

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Re: Boy Scouts Will Accept Girls

Post by rowan » Thu Oct 12, 9:39 2017

For those not in the States, Girl Scouts and BS are totally different unrelated organizations; BS is a Christian organization and GS did not start that way at all. And honestly I will choose GS every time because BS is full of other BS. ;)

GS also is very dependent on troop leadership, we had a girl (well her mom flounced, idk about the girl's choice) because we weren't "motivated enough" during cookie sales and we were like uh we're just here to have fun? But not every troop will fit every kid. Not as big an issue here in the city but in the rural areas where there *is* only one can be a problem. But we did camping and fire starting and knots even in my mostly craft-focused rural troop as a kid, and I just don't get why people think GS doesn't provide those opportunities. Our last meeting the girls chose what things they want to do during the year. The only thing my brother did with his BS that we didn't do that I wanted to was the pine car racing thing.

Anyway whatever, I get why parents who have both kids might want to have the opportunity to just have *one* group for all kids. But there are other similar organizations that have been co-ed for a long time which I think do a great job.

So those are my feels about it. ;)
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Re: Boy Scouts Will Accept Girls

Post by DarkOne » Fri Oct 13, 5:27 2017

rowan wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 9:39 2017
But we did camping and fire starting and knots even in my mostly craft-focused rural troop as a kid, and I just don't get why people think GS doesn't provide those opportunities.
Do you think ruralness might have had something to do with your troop doing the more rugged stuff? Because my classmates' troop did NOT do any of that. Sleepovers is the closest they came to camping. But then, again, this was a total city-troop.
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Re: Boy Scouts Will Accept Girls

Post by rowan » Fri Oct 13, 8:45 2017

No, our city troop is going camping too. I think the only reason we actually went camping as a kid was that my mom and aunt took over that part (I don't think the troop leader would have done it but maybe I'm mis-remembering.) I think the thing is there are so many choices that if there's something one kid wants to do but not the others then it can get lost in the "consensus" or the adults can drive things in ways that not all the kids get to do things they want. We make sure in our troop that we do things even if only one kid is really excited about the others try but I think it depends a lot on the parents involved. Most of our parents stay for the troop meetings - when I was a kid, it was more of a drop off and all the parents leave thing. TBH I'm not sure it's all that different with the boy scouts though, talking to my husband.

Which reminds me, I should see to organizing that camping trip. ;)
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Re: Boy Scouts Will Accept Girls

Post by geldofc » Fri Oct 13, 19:02 2017

i was super excited to join Girl Scouts as a kid and never paid attention to boy scouts nor did i want to be around boys. the separation does seem a little ridiculous now and if i had 2 kids i would hate going to two different meetings.
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Re: Boy Scouts Will Accept Girls

Post by melsbells » Sun Oct 15, 15:20 2017

So there's Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and instead of just becoming Scouts, there will now be Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts (that will accept girls into their troops)? For such a large organization, it's sad how directly funding of individual groups can affect the opportunities in any locale. I'm fairly certain that's why my brother's short lived troop never did anything. Does anyone have comparisons to 4-H or other youth organizations? This prompted a discussion with my spouse about the Scouts and 4-H in Finland. It sounds like Scouts in Finland are connected to the greater Boy Scouts organization, but there's no division by gender and no religious affiliation.

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Re: Boy Scouts Will Accept Girls

Post by Enigma » Mon Oct 16, 12:48 2017

I went to girl guides which I guess doesn't have an American equivalent? We did basically everything the boy scouts did but boy scouts always seemed a bit more militaristic? Whereas girl guides was more about dancing around large foam mushrooms before learning how to put up your tent. So my point is I certainly had no desire to join boy scouts as a kid. But I guess if boy scouts is the better option in your area yay? But I feel like I heard somewhere that this is really more of a financial thing. Aren't boy scouts struggling to stay afloat?
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Re: Boy Scouts Will Accept Girls

Post by Sonic# » Mon Oct 16, 13:06 2017

We did basically everything the boy scouts did but boy scouts always seemed a bit more militaristic?
They were founded by someone (Robert Baden-Powell) who wanted to make young soldiers more prepared for huffing it in the wilderness of the British Empire, so there's that. :/ (I think he also founded the Girl Guides.)

We were usually led by active service or former military people in my troop. So there was an extra level of pre-military prep going on. It wasn't bad per se (it was focused more on ethos and morale than, say, combat), but it was one more factor that influenced many of my troopmates to eventually join the military.

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Re: Boy Scouts Will Accept Girls

Post by Enigma » Tue Oct 17, 11:26 2017

Apparently girl guides was founded by his sister Agnes. Our leaders were mostly outgoing mom types.. so not so militaristic lol. There was a lot of crafts and camping and singing.
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