The Boy Scouts of America just announced that their board has unanimously voted to open Cub Scouts to girls and create a program for girls starting next year that would enable them to earn the prestigious Eagle Scout award. This is clearly big news for an organization that has existed for over a hundred years to serve boys only.
LDS church members might ask what this means for the church. Answer: nothing. The church doesn’t let BSA drive its behavior. LDS troops haven’t been organized or funded the same way as the rest of BSA, and even though that’s caused some tension, the church’s large footprint (ie., financial support) pretty much gave it the freedom to do as it liked. Besides, the church started moving away from scouting when it opted out of the Varsity and Venturing programs, and the answer to the question “Does this mean the Church is completely separating from the BSA?” at Mormon Newsroom was
“The Church continues to look for ways to meet the spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual needs of young men around the world. The current decision is consistent with those efforts. The Church will continue to use the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs for boys and young men ages 8 through 13.”
an answer many interpret as meaning the church will eventually leave BSA altogether. So, in my opinion, this event means nothing with respect to the church.
But it is still very interesting news for other reasons!
The Girl Scouts of USA are very angry about this. While not connected with BSA, the two organizations had a cordial, complementary relationship. Not any more. Buzzfeed published an angry letter from Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, GSUSA’s national president, to BSA’s national president, Randall Stephenson, and the entire BSA board back on Aug 22. After giving a number of arguments why BSA recruiting girls was a bad idea, she basically intimated that the only reason they were doing it was to try to increase their declining membership. That, of course, would be at the expense of the Girl Scouts, who are also facing a declining membership. Hannan went on to say
“Rather than seeking to fundamentally transform BSA into a co-ed program, we believe strongly that Boy Scouts should instead take steps to ensure that they are expanding the scope of their programming to all boys, including those who BSA has historically underserved and underrepresented, such as African American and Latino boys”
Clearly, BSA is trying to raise their membership. All Hannan’s letter did was give them feedback in advance to help them prepare them for the press, as NPR’s report demonstrated:
“This unique approach allows the organization to maintain the integrity of the single gender model while also meeting the needs of today’s families,” BSA said.
The decision comes after years of requests from families, the organization said. “Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing.”
It added that the move is also geared toward Hispanic and Asian communities, which are “currently underserved” and “prefer to participate in activities as a family.”
To be fair to BSA, there are girls clamoring to get in. Sidney Ireland is one. She’s been participating unofficially in scouts ever since her brother joined Cub Scouts, even completing all the requirements for the Arrow of Light (but not getting the award, of course). She’s now participating with Troop 414 in Manhattan, but she’s been getting awards from her Canadian registration (looks like she wears a Canadian Scout uniform), because the Canadian Scout program accepts girls. She’s been campaigning for a while to get BSA to let her in. On her change.org petition, she writes
“The facts say it all — high-level Scouting creates opportunity, and with opportunity comes a chance at success in the global community. Unfortunately for me and half the country’s population, we are excluded from most of these amazing opportunities for no reason other than that we are female.”
I’m sure she’s elated with today’s announcement, and you can’t help but be happy for her.  But why doesn’t she just do Girl Scouts? In an interview, her answer is kinda weak:
“I’ve never been a member of the Girl Scouts, and I’m not an expert on it. But I do know that it’s not the program I want to be a part of. I really want to be a part of the Boy Scouts. They offer what I want to do with service and with the outdoors.”
But it doesn’t matter if that’s weak, right? As any good feminist will tell you, her opportunities shouldn’t be limited simply because of her sex.
But not all feminists are happy. As Lizzy Acker of the Oregonian declared in her op-ed, “Wednesday, in terrible news for girls, the Boy Scouts said it would start allowing girls.” She’s goes on to describe how great Girl Scouts was for her, with great role-models and wonderful adventures, especially camping with just girls and women
“…without boys or men telling me, explicitly or implicitly, what was wrong with me or how I should view myself as nothing more than a sexual object. All girls, anyone who identifies as a girl, should have this experience. And to have it, they need to be separated from boys and men.”
She castigates the backwards and discriminatory Boy Scout program, which just recently allowed gay and transgendered people, and still doesn’t accept atheists. She concludes by saying girls don’t need Boy Scouts, boys need Girl Scouts. It’s ironic that rather than being excited that a barrier came down for women, she’s more worried about losing her separate space for girls (presumably because they’ll be siphoned off).
Regardless whether you prefer religious (discriminatory) Boy Scouts or progressive (godless) Girl Scouts, the real question is whether separate spaces for girls and boys is better, or whether they should just learn to integrate as human beings. Hannan certainly believes in separate spaces, and is incredulous that the Boy Scouts would abandon their mission like that. From her letter — “we have leveraged our single-gender expertise to uniquely serve the needs of girls” and “Girl Scouts believes in meeting the needs of America’s youth through single gender programming by creating a safe place for girls to learn and thrive”  In reality, the Boy Scouts want to maintain separate spaces too — sort of. They’re creating separate dens for girl Cub Scouts, and a separate as-yet-to-be-determined program for girl Boy Scouts. But when it comes to pack meetings and scout camps, it seems they’ll mix.
It’s a progressive maxim that separate cannot be equal, and equality is the goal. However, given that women historically, and still to this day, suffer from all sorts of injustices and disadvantages in our society, progressives could possibly justify a separate space for girls.  Can a separate space for boys also be justified? Is something going to be lost for them when girls show up at scout camp? Take that several steps forward. If women were granted the priesthood, would men and women still need separate PH/RS meetings and separate leadership? If the ultimate goal isn’t to have male and female people 100% equal (integrated), then what would justify the separation?
 I’m convinced she legitimately loves Scouts — she’s not just running an agenda as the quotation might suggest — so even if you disagree with BSA, you should still be happy for her.
 Sorry boys, Girl Scouts USA is strictly “no boys allowed” — no progressive option for you.
 But I wouldn’t think forever, because then it would be maintaining unequal treatment.
This is exactly the conundrum I see when it comes to giving women the priesthood in the LDS church. If it was an across-the-board equalization so that women had every opportunity (bishop, SP, GA, Apostle) as men something would be gained. But the huge blessing of Relief Society would be lost as women join the in-place quorums. RS is by far the best part of church on Sunday for most women. The activities, service, pastoral care is the life blood of the church for many women (most of whom have zero desire for the priesthood). Women will speak out in a RS lesson in a way they just won’t in Sunday School. They will agree to teaching and other callings. They feel a connection to a strong group. They feel safe.
Don’t get me wrong, I hate the way we approach gender in the church and want it to change, but I guess I’m hoping for a divine third way in which what we have is preserved and added upon.
This is an interesting change of events for the Boy Scouts.I see a lot of conflict continuing between them and Girl Scouts. I also see this as another example of how difficult the Church finds change, They always respond well after everyone else has led the way. One day, the Church will have boys and girls combined and women will hold the priesthood. It will be slow and painful like everything else in the Church but I can see it happen.
I’ll opine that BSA isn’t going to attract many girls if they’re in a separate program from the boys. There are definitely girls out there who would like to earn the Eagle Scout award, but I’ll bet there aren’t enough of them to form their own patrols. I’ll bet most are like Sidney, who have brother in scouts and want to participate too. Pushing them off into separate units won’t work very well, at least unless and until a bunch of girls make it through the ranks of Cub Scouts to give them the critical mass.
Another problem is that Boy Scouts is by nature competitive, and I don’t think pitting boy patrols against girl patrols in friendly competitions (eg., at Camporees) is going to be in anybody’s best interest, so that aspect of the program would have to change.
I also have the impression that the public at large has affection for the Girl Scouts, with their cute girls and colorful boxes of cookies to sell, but they mostly see it as a social and activity club. They probably have less affection and more respect for the Boy Scouts, viewing it as a organization to tame and teach rowdy boys. It would be almost impossible for the Girl Scouts’ Gold Award to gain the kind of cachet that the Eagle Scout Award has.
It’s pretty damning that BSA will open doors for you in ways that GSA won’t and that the highest BSA award will help promote your career prospects in ways that the highest GSA award will not. I have always been impressed with the integrity of the GSA (I wasn’t a girl scout), and the strong female leadership. It’s a much more inclusive organization, one that also does outdoorsy and educational stuff girls want to do. Activity Days is weak sauce by contrast, but both GSA and BSA are expensive and include a lot of overhead.
I’m in favor of the church doing its own thing for both rather than unequally subsidizing one and not the other.
IMO, this is a jerk move by the BSA to poach from GSA, and the reason it might work is complex and sexist: 1 ) because in our society being a girl is less than being a boy, so girls might join BSA, but boys will never join GSA, 2) BSA is male-dominated and male-run. They aren’t talking about changing their leadership ranks to be more like GSA (very much a female-run org). It’s still going to smell like testosterone in the morning, 3) this separate but equal thing sounds a lot like “girl pushups,” meaning that girls’ achievements will still be second class.
Having said all that, my objection to female ordination has long been related to #2. The PH as it is seems like such a male organization to me (which isn’t a compliment): competitive, hierarchical, bureaucratic, bringing out many of the worst qualities in people, not their best. Why would I want to be in a group like that? RS has its flaws, too, but it’s not generally corrupted by power. Women should be included in decision-making, but putting us into the current PH structure is still just adding us to a male organization as second class citizens.
In my experience, the amount by which being an Eagle Scout will open doors and promote career prospects is, in general, vastly overstated. Nevertheless, I agree that Eagle carries a certain cultural cachet, and the fact that the Gold award is, in contrast, basically unknown is pretty much just sexist bullshit.
“I’m in favor of the church doing its own thing for both [young men and young women] rather than unequally subsidizing one and not the other.” Yes, this.
BTW, my Eagle Scout rank has never opened doors for me or promoted my career prospects. Similarly, when I have seen it on resumes I reviewed, I have ignored it. I know from multi-generational experience and observation that the Eagle rank may mean nothing more than that there was a diligent mother of a 13-year-old or a threatening father of a 17-year-old in the background. It can be a BS award as much as a BSA award. Sometimes, when achieved independently, i.e. without parental involvement, the rank may mean much more than that, but not reliably enough for me to give the rank reported on a resume any credence as an indicator of an otherwise unknown Eagle Scout’s breadth, persistence, achievement, ability, dedication, work ethic, or anything else I would be interested in when making a hiring decision.
I feel obligated to respond to some typical LDS myopic and misinformed views expressed above. I have been one of the leaders in a non-LDS troop with 60-80 boys for about 15 years. I have camped over 200 nights and hiked several hundred miles etc. My wife has been even more active in boy scouting for a similar period of time but indoors behind the scene and upper level leadership. I have also been the LDS scoutmaster of less than a dozen scouts (worst calling ever) and the ward troop committee chairman.
First, Martin admits that the LDS church has modified their scouting extensively and this is obvious. It is sort of like football in the US and football in England. Similar but not really the same. So you must admit that if your experience is nearly exclusively with LDS scouting, you could be error prone when discussing American scouting. And recently the LDS church has concluded that their modified program isn’t working and it still says nothing about American scouting which remains working quite well.
1. “…the church’s large footprint (ie., financial support) pretty much gave it the freedom to do as it liked.” I call BS. First scouting is not nearly as authoritarian as the LDS church. Every troop has enormous autonomy. The big boy scouters in Texas have no teeth and can’t enforce anything. You can’t really control volunteers like you can employees. And until the LDS church ponies up the actual figures in dollars, it is not possible to know the size of their footprint. They seem large in Utah but that is one rather small state. They have a boat-load of extremely small troops and pass out awards like candy. They are famous for carrying dead weight on their rolls (16 million members my ass). The well-organized LDS church has systematically modified their scouting program far beyond what common sense tells other troops is workable. The dismal result is predictable. It is not because of money.
2. One omitted development is the political nature of Girl Scouts. Early in their history they eschewed sponsorship by churches. Jewish influence in the GSA didn’t want it to become a para-Christian organization. It has never had the same level of participation as Boy Scouting, partially because of this sponsorship difference. Most but not all Boy Scout troops are sponsored by churches. Over the years their political climates have been influenced by this difference. The BSA has tried to stay in the middle but leaned to the right and the GSA has leaned to the left . My daughter liked Girl Scouts as a Brownie, but in high school it became a forum for more left wing feminist ranting and the public schools were doing more than an adequate job of that. The GSA is more about style and symbolism, with far less substance than the BSA, especially at the older level.
In families attending Protestant/Catholic churches with strong scouting programs, their daughters for years have wanted something for themselves of substance like BSA without the leftist propaganda of the GSA. A few girls have always been allowed to tag along. International scouting includes many examples of successful Girl-Boy scouting programs integrated across genders. Non-LDS venture programs have been organized for many years with some success that include by definition high school age boys and girls in the same scouting programs.
3. Lower membership is not driving this inclusion of girls in scouting. The membership is falling but it has multiple factors. I think that trying to stay non-political has been a challenge for the BSA during the government-in-your-face-always Obama years of increasing cultural warfare and forced the BSA to take unpopular positions on a national level which are NOT enforceable at the local troop level. Among the 6 large non-LDS troops in my area membership is growing. Excellent local leadership can and will overcome larger national trends because the principles underpinning scouting are sound. I believe the BSA is sincere when they want to do what is best for the youth of both genders.
What I see happening in the future:
The LDS church is already out of American scouting and has been for decades if it ever was actually anywhere near the mainstream. I think they will officially pull out and do their own YM/YW program. I applaud this decision as it will stop giving the LDS church such a black eye among American scouting programs far from Utah who are tired of these phony LDS programs.
I see a few cub scout packs forming girl dens made up of the sisters of the cubs already in the program within weeks to months and a few of their friends will join them. This will probably grow over years, possibly even to achieve near equal numbers of girls and boys in some packs. Others will remain largely unaffected. I doubt it will cause any problems for what is now called GSA because they have different audiences, polarized along political lines. Cub scouts is mostly about parents organizing fun activities for children and gender issues are not great. Nobody is capable of effectively putting institutional pressure on the parents of cub scouts as is done in the LDS church.
I think a few of these girls will want to continue on into boy scouting. They will be integrated into the troop not isolated in separate patrols.Some will be elected to leadership positions. Most if not all merit badges are good activities for girls too. Service is likewise. The central value and intent of American scouting is leadership development and there is no reason girls can’t do the same things as boys in this central area.
The primary difference between boys and girls at that age (11) will come into play when girls move from cub to what is now called boy scouting. Boys like to get dirty and literally roll in mud and will eat almost anything. This is why they love to camp which is where the magic of the transformative power of scouting is manifest most powerfully. Many girls don’t like to get that dirty and would rather eat decent food. Basic biology of peeing, pooping (and menstruating) in the wilderness also favors dirty stinky younger boys. For these reasons, not nearly as many girls will camp for that many days. But I see little difference or problems in all other aspects of scouting.
When a few girls do camp, it will require at least 4 adult leaders, two or more of each gender. For similar reasons it is hard to get the mothers of scouts to camp. We have had a few mothers (none right now) who go camping with us. I went to Northern Tier high adventure with a divorced mom as the only other adult leader for 10 days in the wilderness with 8 boys including our sons. However, I can only think of about 1 or 2 camping trips where more than one woman went in over a decade. So this change will require recruiting a few more mothers who are willing to go camping and this will favor larger troops (80 -100 boys). I think the troops with already established coed venture programs will be the ones to attract most of the girls aging out of cub scouting. So I suspect many troops, especially smaller ones will continue to be populated by only boys.
It is anybody’s guess whether having girls around will increase or decrease participation of the boys. My gut guess is older girls might intimidate a few younger boys, but any girls similar in age will greatly enhance the interest and participation of all the boys.
Individual troops might have to make modifications in their unique traditions. Our troop has a reputation of doing these extremely difficult backpacking trips that make younger scouts lay down on the trail and cry. (The boys literally demand them). Older scouts are forced to help them which builds a sort of shared-affliction camaraderie. The younger boys come home as heroes and the older boys are not bored as much. We might have to dial this down, not so much for the younger girls ( let the stronger girls and boys help them) but for the mothers. We already have trouble getting adult men to go on these ordeals.
Another troop tradition we have is a horrible game that most mothers wish we would eliminate. It involves gangs of scouts chasing each other around, tackling and lifting the captured scout up in the air for a few seconds, who is encouraged to squirm but not hit (intentionally – “accidents” do happen). When high school football players are doing this with prepubescent 11 year olds, the risks go through the roof. Every older boy loves this game and they all know we are only one injury away from never playing it again. They own the responsibility of insuring that nobody gets hurt. The game teaches a younger boy to fight to the bitter end against overwhelming odds and it teaches an older boy when to quit fighting for safety sake. I think throwing girls into this mix might be a really bad idea.
In summary, this change is largely irrelevant to us Mormons since we have already made scouting irrelevant to us.
I welcome this announcement, for two mutually exclusive reasons:
1. If the church supports this change for LDS troops, the result is more equitable youth programs. I have no sons, but I would love to make pinewood derby cars with my daughters.*
2. If the church rejects this change, then we are one step closer to the long-awaited total divorce from BSA. I’ll put my girls in Girl Scouts instead, while the BSA national organization flounders without the steady stream of LDS funding.
*Meaning I would actually be doing all the work. Because band saws are far too dangerous for 8-year-olds.
Angela C, I don’t think girls’ achievements in BSA will be considered 2nd class at all. Why would you say that if the requirements are the same?
From your hating on male governance (“smelling like testosterone in the morning” , “competitive, hierarchical, bureaucratic, bringing out many of the worst qualities in people”), I assume that means you’re all in favor of separate spaces for boys and girls. But is a separate space really what you want? Obviously, there are a lot of men who don’t like or do well in those “male” (scare-quotes) groups either, who would appreciate being in a woman-run organization. Society as it is, they probably wouldn’t want to be Girl Scouts, but you could have, say… Competitive Scouts and Collaborative Scouts, or Traditional Scouts and Progressive Scouts, or whatever you wanted to name them. That way, girls and boys could choose the system they preferred and drop the sexism. Or, must the girls keep their separate space? If so, why? How can you justify separate but equal (or unequal, since currently Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts are somewhat different)?
Personally, while boys and girls have a lot of overlap, I still think they’re statistically (if not fundamentally) different, and that is especially true when they’re going through puberty. I don’t believe they’re equal (ie., equivalent). But I’m not totally sure they need separate spaces when it comes to scouting.
With all due respect, you and many others don’t understand funding of a non-LDS Boy Scout troop. You like many Mormons confuse the funding practices of the LDS church with it. Almost all of the money in a Boy Scout troop is raised and spent at the local troop level. Very little flows upstream to the national organization. We, at the local level don’t care if the national organization starves. They will survive one way or another regardless of how much or (usually) how little they fleece from our local members, which his totally voluntary.
Our troop of 60 boys spends well over $100,000 per year. We raise more than half of it on one weekend; during our all-hands-on-deck pine straw sale and delivery. The boys raise quite a bit selling popcorn. Door to door doesn’t work; they perch out in front of somewhere like a Walmart in uniform and sell it to people. They might build a teepee and have a Dutch oven going and give out little treats. Our leading salesman sold ~ $15,000 of popcorn last year. He keeps a third of it in his account. We charge parents $200 a year to register and most of that stays at the troop level. We send one or often 2 crews of 6-10 people on high adventure trips every year and they cost around $1200-$1800 for each person by the time airplane tickets are bought. The boys raise most of that money working for various businesses with some connection to the troop or sponsoring church where they often acquire their first job. Our monthly camping trips include 10 -25 boys and the cost ranges from $20 to often over $100 per scout and that materializes from just about anywhere. More expensive trips seem to attract more, not fewer scouts. Summer camp costs $300 per boy and we often send close to all 60 of them. We have additional fund raising for eagle projects which the way we do it cost at least $1000 each and that is entirely on to the boy. (No parent bail-outs allowed). Hells bells, what have I forgotten? Being the troop CFO is harder than being a ward financial clerk and usually a professional accountant volunteers for the job.
AND NOT ONE CENT OF ALL THAT MONEY COMES FROM THE LDS CHURCH OR ANYONE AT OR ABOVE THE DISTRICT LEVEL.IN THE BSA. NONE!
Our non-LDS troop will not notice the departure of the LDS church at all, except maybe the district owned summer camps might require more volunteer maintenance and less professional maintenance. And maybe not since the buildings are named after local rich patrons who donated generously to build them. BSA spends bigger than LDS Inc. Seriously it does. The LDS church is financing scouting? One of the most ridiculous latter-day rumors since Hyrum Page looked at his seer stone.
Mike, I think you’re missing the point on the funding. Your troop won’t miss the LDS church money directly, but the LDS money is very much appreciated by the corporate BSA structure. It pays their salaries, and subsidizes many of their activities. As does all of those registration fees the church pays for the “dead weight” on its roles.
smelling like testosterone
Then again what do you expect from a feminist?
I voted Angela’s statement down only because she can’t see a resolution to the RS-PH dichotomy and justifiably likes RS. I hope for resolution and survival for both as places of complete equality. I would love to come to RS and welcome anyone to weigh in both places, top to bottom and side to side.
Okay, I’m cracking up that someone would attempt to use “feminist” as a pejorative on this blog. LOL.
Martin: No, I’m certainly not married to separate spaces for men & women, although given the alternatives between BSA and GSA, I’d pick GSA, and between RS and PH, I’d pick RS (except in some of the wards I’ve been in where I’d pick waterboarding over either).
The problem is in trying to take a space that was created as completely for one sex and then incorporating the other sex into its existing structure. BSA’s lack of female input is apparent at every turn. (GSA’s is similarly a female-led structure, somewhat obviously). When it comes to mentoring young people, maybe there’s a valid case for separation of the sexes.
Within the church, the lack of women’s input is incredibly apparent to many women. Talk about vexation without representation! Our rule of thumb in marriage is whoever does 90% of the task gets 90% of the say in how the task is done. Putting women’s programs under male governance with very limited female input doesn’t create great results. Church programs should include more women’s input, especially since the church has more women than men in it. Ordain women, don’t ordain women . . . who cares? Give women input and decision-making power–that’s what matters. Take women seriously.
Maelstrom: You think that was inappropriate, but you think denigrating feminists is copacetic? I guess you do you.
I think we agree on the basic points and I am talking past you or not being very clear. Registration fees are about $20 per scout- that goes to headquarters. That might be 1% of the total cost in my non-LDS troop. In an LDS troop that $20 might be half their costs and seems like a lot. Whatever headquarters is doing with all that LDS money they can stop doing and it won’t matter to local troops.I see that as worth it considering the lack of respect our LDS troops show for the traditional program that works. Not to mention the bad reputation we are giving scouting to our own people. Like many organizations, the BSA top leadership can get top heavy and wasteful and unproductive.
I don’t know what portion of BSA income the LDS church pays but Mormons are only 2% of the US population . If our over-representation in scouting is 10 times our population portion, that is still only about 20%. Yeh, something like a 20% cut in income at the national level (if that) would bite them hard. But it will be weathered and expenses will be cut and other sources found..
The national BSA might be doing what the LDS church does with tithing. They don’t spend it, they invest it and when $20 has grown to say $40 they might spend some of it. So their income from investments might exceed their income from registration fees. I don’t know that this is a fact but would seem to make sense to me.
As for paying for dead weight on the rolls. In my ward they had a minimal fixed list of names which was never updated (in one extreme case a den mother who served for 2 years was registered every year since then and by the time I got the roll her son was home from his mission). The actual current leaders were so transient it didn’t make sense to register them. One refused to give me his SSN for the background check and the bishop wouldn’t release him because he couldn’t get anyone else to do scouting. I can only imagine the mess if we ever had an injury and a law suit. And this was when my then 14 year old son saved an obese asthmatic scout’s life by carrying his suffocating 160 pound body 4 miles up 2000 feet elevation by himself on a hot humid day in just under an hour. Nope, we didn’t do medical forms and he had been hospitalized many time for asthma and should never been cleared medially for that trip. Our troop was so poorly trained and reckless that it was a rolling accident waiting to happen.Improvements have been made.
I also wonder if elsewhere LDS scouts die or are seriously injured during scouting events out of proportion to our numbers or more accurately out of proportion to the number of scout hours spend on events. Are we costing the BSA excessive expenses for law suits? I know one Grand Canyon park ranger who had nothing good to say about the poorly planned and poorly prepared LDS scouting trips that resulted in many close calls he had to deal with constantly. I wonder how much of the emphasis on two deep leadership grew out of the largest cluster of sexual abuse in BSA history that occurred at, I believe it was Camp Lemhi in Idaho which was predominantly an LDS camp.
Angela I stopped attending RS years ago. I was soured when the bishop forced us to disband our book club just because. We were not reading anything remotely risky or offensive. I had a brief stint on the planning committee where I learned that we were there to be assigned tasks. Meetings had already been planned by bishop. Add the vicious gossip and mean girl nonsense and it’s a hard pass now for me.
Mike – I really enjoy your thoughts and seeing what scouting should be. Such an eye opener. We do 4H, and I wish our club was as well run as your scouting troop.
Makes me glad to be living in Europe! Our kids attend LDS youth activities unsullied by any other affiliations and those that want to go to Scouts (almost entirely run by women leaders in our experience) or Guides do so outside of church. Currently, my daughter attends scouting with her older brother because (in her words) “it’s more fun” than the girls only option. Having said that, the waiting list for the girls-only option was enough for me to back her decision. Another daughter chose the “girls only” option and dropped it after 2 years or so.
Scouting awards mean zip in the non-scouting world here, let alone the job market, but if LDS youth program wanted to offer the Duke of Edinburgh awards here, I’d be first in the queue to back it.
“if LDS youth program wanted to offer the Duke of Edinburgh awards here”
There was one ward (not my own) that offered in the stake I grew up in, back when I was in YW. My sister-in-law did it.
Matin, how about Reform, Conservative and Orthodox scouting?
I find the comment by Angelica about “smelling like male testosterone in the morning” very refreshing and hilarious. Angelica has strong opinions, invariably well-thought out and usually right on base. I think it is important to hear what people think who don’t think the same way I do. Even if I don’t agree or more accurately don’t care how she is describing this specific instance, I think it is still a very appropriate comment for this discussion on this somewhat less than perfectly correlated blog.
Now turning the other cheek, I disagree with one other of Angelica’s comments: “BSA’s lack of female input is apparent at every turn.” This most certainly is true in the LDS ward scouting since no women are allowed to do anything beyond cub scouting. It may or may not be true at the national level but I don’t know and I don’t care what they say. However, I wish to point out that it is most definitely not true in my non-LDS troop.
Of those 60 boys in my non-LDS troop, we “require ” at least one parent to register and help out. We probably get about half who help out, giving us about 30 reliable parents to run the show. Traditionally we have always selected a male to be scout master. Probably 90% of assistant scout masters are male. The outdoors committee where I serve is usually about 90% male. Granted much of the backbone of the troop is male.
But the most powerful position, troop committee chair has been occupied by my wife and other women, I would guess that goes about 60%/40%. All the other committees are dominated by women. Of those 30 reliable parents about 20 are women. Young scout mothers particularly are a powerful force even when they are not among the more helpful 20 women and constantly come into conflict with boy leaders who tend to be 16-18 year old boys and run the troop. Older scout mothers learn better how to pick their battles and nearly always prevail when they really want something or often want something to stop. Including teenage girls in scouting is going to further strengthen female influence in the troop. We will see girls as patrol leaders and a 16- 17 year old girl elected senior patrol leader. We will see more women on the outdoor committee and more serving as assistant scout masters and eventually as scout master.
Again another flaw in LDS scouting and another example of projecting LDS scouting flaws into American scouting. And this by one of our best. Don’t put that on the rest of scouting.
Do you think this is inappropriate? this is told as a joke.
A blind man walks into a fish market and he takes off his hat and says good morning ladies.
Women can serve in LDS Troops* as committee members, committee chairs, and 11-year-old scout leaders. In fact, the handbook mandates that a member of the Primary presidency serves on the Troop committee.
*…and in Teams and Crews, for the next three months.
When it comes to Priesthood and Relief Society meetings, why not have them function based instead of gender based? Priesthood meeting could deal with doctrine and related matters. Relief Society could be based on service to humanity. Maybe the subject of a given meeting could be posted in advance. Members could then chose which to attend on a weekly basis.
The Church needs to de-gentrify. We are under utilizing 50 percent of the membership.
Maelstrom: “Do you think this is inappropriate? this is told as a joke.” I’m not offended as a woman, but that’s a pretty lazy joke that’s not very funny or clever. I was deliberately misquoting the film Apocalypse Now’s “the smell of Napalm in the morning” line to make my point.
Left field :
Not happenin’ in my ward.
Operative word: can Different from do. BYU can win football games but so far they have not been doing it.
“Can” is certainly different from “do.” But “can” and “do” are both different from “not allowed,” which was your original claim. All of the scouting committees in my ward have included at least two women for as long as I remember. If your ward’s troop committee and pack committee don’t include members of the Primary presidency, then they’re not following the handbook.
Girls in scouts not a problem, but in the same time and place with the same programs, that becomes an issue. Boys learning to be men should not have female distractions.
They now give more traditionally-male activities to my girls, who then feel left out /sad if they dont participate in activities traditionally designed to socialize boys. Exclusion can go multiple directions. Not to mention the real reason women are increasingly adopting trad. male roles and responsibilities: the decline of people. I am a social scientist and working on some papers to support this.
What’s interesting is how many people are like “I stopped going to church/scouts/etc… because I couldn’t participate in xyz” but you never hear the reverse: “I feel my group is becoming too liberal/confused so I left” – Well, when for example father and son campouts start having lots of girls, we stop going.
In the meantime, we’re all just a more civilized version of Calhoun’s rats….