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What will the boy scouts' changes mean for your family?


Xahm
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I have a boy and girl 17 months apart, so I'm really liking the idea of a scouting experience they can have sort of together. We are a couple of years away from needing it, though, so we have the luxury of seeing how it unfolds the next two years.

Those of you who have been following this and know about scouts, what are your thoughts?

 

Yeah, I got tired of reading a debate about who should start a new thread.

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Currently, it means nothing to us.

 

My four older boys are all Eagle Scouts.

 

My last two boys haven't been brought up in scouts like the older ones were. The older of the two is intellectually disabled, and it would be very difficult to get him through scouts. The younger just turned 11 and just became eligible for scouts. Unfortunately, there are no troops near us. We have considered doing lone scouts. Still undecided about that.

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I'm a pretty big fan of boys and girls being allowed to have separate activities. And I may be missing something, but there is already a girls' scouting group -- the girl scouts, right? I know that since our DD never did scouts, I'm a bit out of touch with the similarities and differences between the two, but I'm a bit annoyed that we feel the need to make every single activity co-ed.

 

Somebody educate me on this. I'm just not seeing the reason behind this decision. 

Edited by AimeeM
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I'm a pretty big fan of boys and girls being allowed to have separate activities. And I may be missing something, but there is already a girls' scouting group -- the girl scouts, right? I know that since our DD never did scouts, I'm a bit out of touch with the similarities and differences between the two, but I'm a bit annoyed that we feel the need to make every single activity co-ed.

 

Somebody educate me on this. I'm just not seeing the reason behind this decision.

 

1. Most scouting organizations worldwide are coed

 

2. BSA has had coed venturing crews sea crews (maybe not right term) for years.

 

3. Cubs scout dens will still be single sex with both boy and girl dens rolling up to the same pack.

 

4. Older kids program is still unknown, but it is likely that single sex troops will still exist

 

5. This will enable families to do scouting together and the girls that are already in scouting to achieve the Eagle Scout award.

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Thanks for starting this thread, I was just getting ready to start a new thread but was checking to see if anyone else had.

 

I had already envisioned my girls going over to Venturing at some point, this means we can transition earlier. But, we'll see how it works out. I'm in deep with AHG and can't just drop it- I've got girls still in it and am big in leadership for the immediate future I see starting a Troop for girls and doing dual enrollment for my older one. For the younger years, it isn't that big of a deal to me, AHG works fine for the younger ones but I don't think it is near as good for the older girls for sooo many reasons. Dh is all in with helping me establish a new Troop (or whatever they call it). 

1. Most scouting organizations worldwide are coed

2. BSA has had coed venturing crews sea crews (maybe not right term) for years.

3. Cubs scout dens will still be single sex with both boy and girl dens rolling up to the same pack.

4. Older kids program is still unknown, but it is likely that single sex troops will still exist

5. This will enable families to do scouting together and the girls that are already in scouting to achieve the Eagle Scout award.

6. GSUSA and BSA are entirely different programs (and have never been connected) - GS has a whole different focus

7. Many do not care for the politics of GS

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I would doubt that our troop will choose to go co-ed. It’s in a Catholic Church that also supports Girl Scouts and I would bet that the decision will be made to continue to just offer what they do now. There is also a Venturing Crew already there. 

 

My daughter doesn’t do GS or AHG at this point because she already has too many activities. Scouts fulfilled a need for social interaction for my boys and it worked out that the troop we joined is also one with friends they know from elsewhere. I’m not opposed to her doing Scouts if she wanted to but she hasn’t expressed real interest yet and I would discourage it more out of “I can’t add one more thing to our schedule†than any philosophical reason. 

 

So, right now I don’t see the decision making a huge difference in our lives. 

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Sisters have always done everything with cub scouts.  My daughter did camping and the pinewood derby.  Now she might get badges for it, eh. 

 

We will stay in Girl Scouts, I love their camps and travel opportunities.  My son will stay in Cub Scouts.  Not sure if we'll bother enrolling her.  Just more $$$$.

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It won't mean anything for my family personally because none of my children have done scouting, but I am in favor of the new divisons. To me it seems little different from back when Boys Clubs (which were just rec sports) began to offer girls divisons of those sports. I was alive but young when that change took place, but I can imagine some people did not like it. I was personally not allowed to participate in sports as a child and part of the reason was that "girls do not do those things." So I personally am much in favor.

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Dh and I have been involved in Boy Scouts for over 30 years and we have *very* mixed feelings. All of my boys have been Scouts. On one hand, my daughter has always wanted to be a Cub/Boy Scout and do the fun things she saw her brothers doing. The opportunity to get Eagle is a positive. I was a Girl Scout growing up, but I did not allow my daughter to join Girl Scouts. The program has been gutted and, at least in my area, is horrible. I don't want to get into all the reasons I dislike GS, but the list is long and the program doesn't come close to the BSA program in my opinion. Anyway, my daughter may have joined Venturing when she was old enough and would enjoy Boy Scout activities. 

 

Now for my very strong reservations. First of all, I think the boys are losing out again. I can find all kinds of activities that are specifically for encouraging girls (Girls on the Run, girl only coding groups, girl only STEM clubs, Girl Scouts, sports teams, and more), but Boy Scouts was the *only* program I could find that allowed my boys to just be with mostly other boys. I think there's a place for single gender activities, but they are rare for boys. Let's face it, boys are struggling in lots of ways (graduation rates, college acceptance, behavior issues, violence) and I've loved supporting an organization whose resources were mainly focused on helping boys become successful men. 

 

There's another practical issue for me. BSA is saying that Cub Packs can be co-ed with single gender dens and Boy Scout troops will all be single gender. My first thought was "Where in h&ll do they think all those extra leaders are going to come from?" A Cub Pack will need at least 6 extra den leaders to actually keep single gender dens. I've seen comments that girls come with parents too, but what they fail to realize is that, since this is being touted as family friendly, many of those parents are already running their *son's* den and can't run their daughter's den too unless it's done at a different time (which defeats the family scouting idea). So in reality, Packs will have to find lots of new leaders or all the dens will end up co-ed. DH is a Scoutmaster and many of the other parents that help with the troop are mothers. He practically has to BEG parents every month for someone to go on outings so they can have two-deep leadership. If the moms are already helping run the boy's troops, who's going to run all these new girl's troops? If the mom's move to girl's troops, the boys lose their help and the boys can't do much. Will experienced male Scoutmasters step up to run girl's troops? They'll still need to have women on all the outings anyway. Single gender troops still doesn't have families doing Scouting together. Sometimes I wonder if National gives any thought at all about how this is going to impact their volunteers who already give insane amounts of time to this organization.

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Currently, it means nothing to us.

 

My four older boys are all Eagle Scouts.

 

My last two boys haven't been brought up in scouts like the older ones were. The older of the two is intellectually disabled, and it would be very difficult to get him through scouts. The younger just turned 11 and just became eligible for scouts. Unfortunately, there are no troops near us. We have considered doing lone scouts. Still undecided about that.

My ds16 is intellectually disabled as well. BSA has exceptions for aging out. I expect my ds to participate for many years. We know some older guys still participating under this exception who are well into their twenties. It takes my ds a long time to meet the requirements for rank and badges. I do think the skills are nice life skills. As long as he likes the activity we will keep it up. It is another way to continue his learning.

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Nothing for our family. My girls will continue with Girl Scouts and DH already forbid me from signing DS up for Boy Scouts when the organization gave in to political correctness years ago. Certainly having coed Boy Scouts beyond the long-standing Venture program is just going to reinforce his anti-BSA position.

 

 

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Not sure. We tried AHG last year, and although I liked parts of the program our local leaders turned out to be racists. Sigh. So this year we are doing a homeschool girl scout group and i'm not very impressed yet. So if that continues, and IF there is a girl Den my DD could be in next year, both kids will be in Cub Scouts. I am VERY excited for DS that they now have a kindergarten level for cub scouts!

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I don't have any skin in this game since my kids are older, but, I think the Boy Scout program was richer than what I saw in Girl Scouts.  The badges were more interesting and deeper.  And, the Boy Scouts camped, canoed, hiked, built fires, cooked outdoors, tried new things.  But, none of that really happened in the Girl Scout troops that were available to us.  The leaders didn't like camping or the outdoors.  Their idea of roughing it was a hotel without a pool or going sans makeup for a day.  Dd saw all these cool things her older siblings did through BSA and was very disappointed that this was not the reality of Girl Scouts.  If we hadn't found 4-H by then, we would have tried to form a venturing crew.  

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I'm a pretty big fan of boys and girls being allowed to have separate activities. And I may be missing something, but there is already a girls' scouting group -- the girl scouts, right? I know that since our DD never did scouts, I'm a bit out of touch with the similarities and differences between the two, but I'm a bit annoyed that we feel the need to make every single activity co-ed.

 

Somebody educate me on this. I'm just not seeing the reason behind this decision. 

 

BSA has been seeing lower enrollment for years and recently the LDS church announced that it would move away from scouting as their boy/young men's program. The LDS troops represent 25% of troops and 15% of membership. If the BSA doesn't change something, they're going to be hurting even worse than they already are.

 

Venturing has helped BSA retain high school age scouts with high adventure activities. Venturers and its predecessor program, Explorers, has been co ed since 1969. Venturing crews are popular in my council and they have a lot of resources available. Trinqueta is a Sea Scout which focuses on sailing. It was separated from the Venturers program last year so it's not clear how it will shake out. T just started and her first event was a council level regatta for Sea Scout ships and Venturing crews. There were about 40 youth (slightly more boys than girls but fairly even) and 10 adults at the event and it ran smoothly. In general, though, Sea Scouts is not as organized as the GSA Sailing Special Interest Group, Mariners, in my area. This is probably because this is their second season as an independent branch of BSA. They do offer a rank camp and a couple of other camping opportunities for Sea Scouts which is a reasonable level of activity imo. Our ship (like a troop) has a couple of sunfish and access to renting larger boats for the day. The leader and assistant leader are very experienced sailors. All of the Sea Scouts in T's ship are girls but several boys from the troop like sailing and come along on outings.

 

GSA's SIGs are really well run in my area and offer older girls access to backpacking, sailing and horseback riding at very affordable rates. The generic troops vary a lot and we won't be looking for one because Mariners and Sea Scouts keep both T and I busy enough. All of these organizations need parent volunteers. Mariners is very explicit about their expectations of parent volunteer time. Sea Scouts isn't as explicit but it's clear that if parents don't step up, things don't get done. 

 

I don't understand the uproar. Venturing has been around a really long time (almost as long as me and I'm getting old) and has always been co ed. It hasn't destroyed boy scouts or girl scouts and it offers older youth a chance to do some very interesting things. I can't see how allowing younger girls to join BSA and earn BSA ranks is going to change things that much. That said, T is satisfied with Mariners and Sea Scouts and I don't think she'll be looking to join either a regular GSA or BSA troop so this change doesn't affect us at all.

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Nothing. My son is an Eagle and after moving and not finding a good troop, he's done. Dd is too old to care.

 

FWIW, as a scout leader (former cub master, wood badge, blah, blah...) I'm not a fan of the decision if troops HAVE to integrate girls. I think there's a TON of value in boys being about to learn, grow, and fail in adolescence without girls/women watching/critiquing/upstaging. It was one of the last places boys could grow into manhood under the mentorship of men and I think it'll be a huge loss without that model. (When my boy became a scout I moved to admin leadership- committee chair, etc. I never went on any trip for the reasons stated). Honestly, I'm just sad for the boys who really NEED Scouts and now won't have that same opportunity.

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Well, it's going to be interesting! I'm in charge of Eagle candidates for about half of western CO, so I'll be seeing these girl Eagle hopefuls. And when the project requirements are laid out, I'm going to have a lot of unhappy parents. It's not about group stuff. Yeah the troop helps (generally) but ALL the planning is up to the candidate. It's about producing something, not social change. It's a different focus than GS Golds and faaaar beyond those in terms of scale. I know a number of chartering organizations (BSA troops are owned by organizations--it's not just a couple of moms who get together and start a troop) who are going to insist on boy-only troops. It's their troop. Many troops already put limits on membership--the troop members might have to go to a specific school or belong to a specific church. Well within their rights. LDS already do not allow girls in Venturing. I agree that it's going to be nigh unto impossible to find those women leaders. Just try to find women who will camp for Venturing! I can see mixed-sex troops but the girls won't be able to camp because there aren't women to lead. So what then? Not take the trip? Not let the girls go?

This is really good insight. Our AHG group is really hiking and camping intensive but we have a terrible time finding moms who will do it. They request yurts and cabins. It is insanity. It is always us same moms volunteering. Hopefully some outdoorsy moms step up their game :)

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I was an Explorer, and I'd kind of intended to strongly encourage DD to do Venturers because her planned career would benefit from those field skills. If DD had been able to join Cubs when she was 6-7, she likely would have jumped at the chance, especially when Daisies was such a bust for her. But now, I think there would have to be an established group, including multiple girls, for her to want to join. I think she'd love the BSA badges, etc (and, in fact, has done a lot of them), but not to be the first girl in a troop. She knows, too well, how uncomfortable being the "first ever" is.

 

I'm one of those moms who won't be camping with the girls-I physically have trouble even handling a relatively light day hike and usually have trouble moving the next day. It's been hard to do DD's herping stuff and that's generally going out for a few hours. The whole reason for wanting DD to do Venturers would be to give her skills I cannot give her (and DH never had the opportunity to learn them). I would be fine being a leader for some things, but not the more physical stuff.

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Well, it's going to be interesting! I'm in charge of Eagle candidates for about half of western CO, so I'll be seeing these girl Eagle hopefuls. And when the project requirements are laid out, I'm going to have a lot of unhappy parents. It's not about group stuff. Yeah the troop helps (generally) but ALL the planning is up to the candidate. It's about producing something, not social change. It's a different focus than GS Golds and faaaar beyond those in terms of scale. I know a number of chartering organizations (BSA troops are owned by organizations--it's not just a couple of moms who get together and start a troop) who are going to insist on boy-only troops. It's their troop. Many troops already put limits on membership--the troop members might have to go to a specific school or belong to a specific church. Well within their rights. LDS already do not allow girls in Venturing. I agree that it's going to be nigh unto impossible to find those women leaders. Just try to find women who will camp for Venturing! I can see mixed-sex troops but the girls won't be able to camp because there aren't women to lead. So what then? Not take the trip? Not let the girls go? 

 

Just wanted to jump in and say my aunt is a leader for a Venturing crew along with my uncle. She loves the camping and adventures...they go white water rafting, climbing, caving, etc. 

 

I will say though, she and my uncle met in the Army, which may have prepared her a bit for Venturing, lol. 

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For those looking for women who will camp, hike, etc., have 'em call me. I'll do it in a heartbeat.

 

I was a Venture Crew leader for a bit. The crew began as single sex (male) and was thriving. It was a high adventure crew and did all sorts of high adventure activities. A couple of the venturer's girl friends begged to join so the group went co-ed. That was the beginning of the end. Camping trips were planned and scheduled. Every single one was cancelled because the girls decided it was too cold, too far away, too rustic, too hot...a new excuse for every trip. The second year was worse as not one high adventure trip was planned. Instead the girls asked for indoor movie nights, a trip to Mall of America, and a trip to a haunted house.

 

Long story short, the crew no longer exists. It's a real shame.

 

Edited to answer the OP's question:

I don't know how it will effect our family. DS is an Eagle and that will never change. I'll continue to support the BSA with volunteer hours and monetary donations. I've even thought about asking DGD if she wants to join. We tried GS but there is only one troop in her school and it's full. I was told I could begin my own troop if I found 4 other girls. That's not what I want to do at the moment. 

Edited by Scoutermom
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My young Scout is very disappointed in the way this was handled by BSA; it's supposed to be boy-led, and nobody asked the boys. 

 

Also, on a practical level, he wonders what the girls-only troops are going to call themselves (Girl Boy Scouts?). 

 

Scouts has been a refuge for him from some strong-personality-girls in his life, and it feels (to him and several of his fellow scouts) that something precious is being taken away from them. Multiple girls-only venues exist in our area, as well as multiple mixed-genders, but Scouts is the *ONLY* all-boys thing around. They feel a little betrayed by their own leadership, and are working on a polite letter explaining that which they plan to send to the national council, pending their much-respected Scoutmaster's opinion.

 

I am disappointed for him.

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Well, we chose 4 h instead of scouting years ago solely for the reason that the whole family, all ages and genders could be in the same group & have meetings at the same time and place.

So, I think it’s great.

I'm going to get called an "old schooler" but when my kids were little we formed a homeschool scouting cluster. All the Girl Scout and cub groups met at the same time and location and did meetings in different rooms. We met during the school day, so

It guaranteed only homeschoolers. We even made up a group for the little kids who weren't old enough for daisies or cubs. Girl Scouts green lighted us having 4-year-old Daisies (This was years before they were a thing. I even made up a 'Garden Ceremony to promote girls from 'little sister daisies' to 'big sister daisies') Boy Scouts wasn't really open to that level of creativity. So we invented Fox Tots for the 3 and up kids too young for 'real scouts.'

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Just wanted to jump in and say my aunt is a leader for a Venturing crew along with my uncle. She loves the camping and adventures...they go white water rafting, climbing, caving, etc. 

 

I will say though, she and my uncle met in the Army, which may have prepared her a bit for Venturing, lol.

 

I'm wondering if this "Girl Scouts don't camp" thing is regional? Girl Scouts has some nice amenities near me. THAT'S what your cookie money really buys. We loved using them during the school week when there was less competition for campsites. MOST of the badges my girls chose even as young brownies had an outdoor adventure component. I guess the risk of girls learning to run their own troop is that some days they'll choose something super froofy that the leader/parents don't care for, but most of our time was spent on traditional scout activities where they wielded knives or bows or boat paddles or compasses and smelled of sunscreen and bug spray. I don't think any girls who hated to camp ever joined my troop.

 

Maybe it's because I was in the Army that I never saw camping as difficult? Maybe I'm in a council that's unusual in that everyone camps so much? Maybe there's some regional thing at play? Do areas of the country with more old-fashioned sex roles have more camping phobic women? We never had trouble getting enough moms out to camp either. It was fun for everyone and nobody was packing their make-up.

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Well, it's going to be interesting! I'm in charge of Eagle candidates for about half of western CO, so I'll be seeing these girl Eagle hopefuls. And when the project requirements are laid out, I'm going to have a lot of unhappy parents. It's not about group stuff. Yeah the troop helps (generally) but ALL the planning is up to the candidate. It's about producing something, not social change. It's a different focus than GS Golds and faaaar beyond those in terms of scale. I know a number of chartering organizations (BSA troops are owned by organizations--it's not just a couple of moms who get together and start a troop) who are going to insist on boy-only troops. It's their troop. Many troops already put limits on membership--the troop members might have to go to a specific school or belong to a specific church. Well within their rights. LDS already do not allow girls in Venturing. I agree that it's going to be nigh unto impossible to find those women leaders. Just try to find women who will camp for Venturing! I can see mixed-sex troops but the girls won't be able to camp because there aren't women to lead. So what then? Not take the trip? Not let the girls go? 

I think this may vary by region. Several had said the same on these threads but this has not been my experience. I've seen several female Troop leaders around. We've got several Moms leading in AHG and we do real tent camping. I've been looking into BSA training to do more HA stuff. So far my moms have been willing, I had 3 Moms leading with me on our last camping trip. I live in a rural area so the population isn't all that high but girls and ladies heading out into the woods is pretty prevalent here, many go hunting, just like the men. Dh said that the men here should be happy with the BSA decision because most want an outdoorsy wife :)

Edited by soror
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7. Many do not care for the politics of GS

Back when I had three young boys I chose 4-H because I did not care for the politics of BSA. Eagle smeagle does not matter to me. The new decision(s) won't change what we are doing now. The political culture of the organization will take generations to change, if it ever does. I don't think my family would ever feel welcome.

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I'm wondering if this "Girl Scouts don't camp" thing is regional? Girl Scouts has some nice amenities near me. THAT'S what your cookie money really buys. We loved using them during the school week when there was less competition for campsites. MOST of the badges my girls chose even as young brownies had an outdoor adventure component. I guess the risk of girls learning to run their own troop is that some days they'll choose something super froofy that the leader/parents don't care for, but most of our time was spent on traditional scout activities where they wielded knives or bows or boat paddles or compasses and smelled of sunscreen and bug spray. I don't think any girls who hated to camp ever joined my troop.

 

Maybe it's because I was in the Army that I never saw camping as difficult? Maybe I'm in a council that's unusual in that everyone camps so much? Maybe there's some regional thing at play? Do areas of the country with more old-fashioned sex roles have more camping phobic women? We never had trouble getting enough moms out to camp either. It was fun for everyone and nobody was packing their make-up.

 

Our local GS council sold almost all of our camps claiming that the girls didn't want to do outdoor stuff and really just wanted STEM. Leaders told me that outdoor stuff wasn't an option because it was too hard to get a place in the camps and too hard to find mothers who would do outdoor stuff. We had a couple of women who were active in our Venturing crews, but they are getting into their 50's and 60's and aren't so excited by long hikes with teens and sleeping on the ground anymore. Nobody has stepped up to take their place.

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Well, given the rapid changes in recent years, I don't know that predictions for future commitments are certain, but here's how it looks for us:

 

My Dd is 12 and a Pioneer in AHG. She has been in since she was 8. Her Pi/Pa leaders are BSA trained and lead a Venture Crew also. At this point, I think that Dd will stay with AHG and add Venturing when she turns 14. (There are three crews in our area.) While it is possible that she could make Eagle if she switched, that assumes a troop of the BSA girl thing ready to go, with leaders who already know the ropes, in 2019. Not sure how likely that is. Dd has relationships in AHG that I wouldn't want to just drop and AHG has been a good fit for our family, despite it's ridiculous amount of paperwork and the complicated path to the Stars and Stripes award. Dd and her unit slept under the stars this weekend, and did an excellent flag retirement ceremony. She is getting a solid scouting experience. 

 

My ds is 10 and a Webelos1. His pack will stay all boys and is 100% dad-led. I make food a couple of times a year, and go to pack meetings and celebrations. The troop that his pack feeds to is mostly dad-led, with a handful of very outdoorsy moms. The troop will stay all boys too. The troop's charter organization does not plan to start a girls unit. The troop already has an association with a Venture Crew. (Different charters, but they plan things together and have many families with boys in both the troop and the crew. The crew is about 2/3 boys and 1/3 girls.) 

 

So, the changes will not cause big shifts for us, as it looks now. Except in how the addition of girls will change camp and BSA HA activities like Philmont. But anything could happen! 

 

I am of two minds on the whole add girls thing. I do think boys need a refuge from girls. I want my son to have that uniquely all-male experience. It has been very good for him so far! But I totally understand that many girls and parents want the high quality program that BSA offers. I would have loved it as a girl!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm a mom of two girls, ages 10 and 11.  I have already been considering putting my kids in Venturing scouts when they are old enough, and I was thinking they could do that alongside AHG.  Of course I don't really know if we will be able to fit it all in, but it sounds like a nice thought.  :) 

 

If the change means that my kids could become Eagle Scouts through Venturing or similar, that would be great.  It would be more motivation for me to try to make that work.

 

But I was not thinking of leaving AHG.  I like the idea of finishing what we started, in this case a long-term goal.  I don't see us quitting AHG to switch to another scouting organization.  (My kids will likely complete their final year of AHG while they are still 17 though, so Venturing could continue after that I guess.)  That said, it is hard to predict the future at this point.  AHG might change in ways that I dislike.  Boy Scouts might change in ways I do or don't like.

 

Not sure how I feel about my girls doing a program that is part of an organization called "BOY ____."  I can understand not wanting to change the name of  great old organization, but it kind of feels like girls are sort of secondary ... not sure how to articulate the feeling.

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I'm a pretty big fan of boys and girls being allowed to have separate activities. And I may be missing something, but there is already a girls' scouting group -- the girl scouts, right? I know that since our DD never did scouts, I'm a bit out of touch with the similarities and differences between the two, but I'm a bit annoyed that we feel the need to make every single activity co-ed.

 

Somebody educate me on this. I'm just not seeing the reason behind this decision. 

 

Girl Scouts is -nothing- like Boy Scouts. American Heritage Girls is a lot closer to Boy Scouts for girls, but even closer aligned to religious background.

 

Just because the name says "Girl Scouts" does not mean that the way most groups run is anything the same. From what I have read, Boy Scouts has much better support for leaders, etc. when it comes to camping/outside skills and there is a lot of hope that that means that even girl troops in Boy Scouts would actually do a lot more outdoor skills type things than they do in "Girl Scouts"

 

There are completely different organizations behind Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, despite the similarity of the names. Which means that the Boy Scout organization can not just "revamp" "Girl Scouts" -- all they can do is put openings in their own programs for girls to participate as well.

 

What is more, there are already a LOT of girls participating in Boy Scouts. Siblings tagging along on activities, intentional family activities, and women leaders.

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I don't have any skin in this game since my kids are older, but, I think the Boy Scout program was richer than what I saw in Girl Scouts.  The badges were more interesting and deeper.  And, the Boy Scouts camped, canoed, hiked, built fires, cooked outdoors, tried new things.  But, none of that really happened in the Girl Scout troops that were available to us.  The leaders didn't like camping or the outdoors.  Their idea of roughing it was a hotel without a pool or going sans makeup for a day.  Dd saw all these cool things her older siblings did through BSA and was very disappointed that this was not the reality of Girl Scouts.  If we hadn't found 4-H by then, we would have tried to form a venturing crew.  

 

See, and I had the opposite experience with Girl Scouts. We most definitely camped, canoed, hiked, learned to build fires, cooked outdoors, tried new things, etc. Some of that, but I don't think all of it, may have had to do with the fact that my dad, who was retired military special forces, was involved. And when we camped, it was in a canvas-tarped shelter in the woods. I guess it depends on who the leaders are?

 

As to the OP, I'm going to have to look into this further. Hadn't been aware of any BSA changes; probably because we haven't been involved.

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My DD (13) loves girl scouts and has no desire to join boy scouts.  Sea scouts she would be all over if we had any in a 200 mile radius.  But, she already sails with GS so not a huge loss.

 

My DS (8, bear) wants to know if he can sell girl scout cookies now.  He's wanted to participate in girl scouts since he was 3-4.  Sadly as much as our society struggles with girls in a boys activities we have 10x the issues with a boy who would like girl activities.  And he loves his cub scout pack.

 

My DS (5. lion) wants to know if he can join the girl den and the boy den so he can have twice as much scouts. 

 

I don't see it as a big deal from a cub scout perspective.  

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Well, it's going to be interesting! I'm in charge of Eagle candidates for about half of western CO, so I'll be seeing these girl Eagle hopefuls. And when the project requirements are laid out, I'm going to have a lot of unhappy parents. It's not about group stuff. Yeah the troop helps (generally) but ALL the planning is up to the candidate. It's about producing something, not social change. It's a different focus than GS Golds and faaaar beyond those in terms of scale. I know a number of chartering organizations (BSA troops are owned by organizations--it's not just a couple of moms who get together and start a troop) who are going to insist on boy-only troops. It's their troop. Many troops already put limits on membership--the troop members might have to go to a specific school or belong to a specific church. Well within their rights. LDS already do not allow girls in Venturing. I agree that it's going to be nigh unto impossible to find those women leaders. Just try to find women who will camp for Venturing! I can see mixed-sex troops but the girls won't be able to camp because there aren't women to lead. So what then? Not take the trip? Not let the girls go? 

 

 

The differences between Eagle, silver and gold awards seem to be very regional.  One of the recent eagle awards just built a bench.  One of the silver awards built a green house, arraigned for on going maintenance, set up a partnership between the school and the green house, and arraigned for a local gardening group to provide on going classes and support for the school.  I don't see anything on that level for Eagle projects in our region.  I can't wait to see what that young lady does for a gold award.   

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See, and I had the opposite experience with Girl Scouts. We most definitely camped, canoed, hiked, learned to build fires, cooked outdoors, tried new things, etc. Some of that, but I don't think all of it, may have had to do with the fact that my dad, who was retired military special forces, was involved. And when we camped, it was in a canvas-tarped shelter in the woods. I guess it depends on who the leaders are?

 

As to the OP, I'm going to have to look into this further. Hadn't been aware of any BSA changes; probably because we haven't been involved.

I think it has everything to do with the fact that your dad was involved. I've never had an all-girl outdoors experience. Every time I've had the opportunity to rough it, it was either with dad's or with mixed-gender outings. Not saying that women can't do these things, but not enough of them do so in order to give most girl scouts this experience.

 

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The differences between Eagle, silver and gold awards seem to be very regional.  One of the recent eagle awards just built a bench.  One of the silver awards built a green house, arraigned for on going maintenance, set up a partnership between the school and the green house, and arraigned for a local gardening group to provide on going classes and support for the school.  I don't see anything on that level for Eagle projects in our region.  I can't wait to see what that young lady does for a gold award.   

 

Evidently the point of the two awards is different. The point of Eagle is not the complexity of the project done. It is gaining the Leadership skill to navigate the process, get other people to work with you on the project, raise the money, etc. The point of Girl Scouts (at least at the gold level) is the project itself, and its level of sustainability (IE that it mantains itself after the girl leaves)

Edited by vonfirmath
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I know other places have coed scouts but there is positives about keeping girls and boys separate. I think it is positive for both boys and girls to have positive adult mentors and to not worry about impressing the opposite sex as they get older. It is more comfortable for a lot of kids and teens that way. I know the girls are in different dens but if they are together at pack meetings it will be different. My kids were happy in their separate scout groups. I would prefer the Girl Scouts making changes to fit more girls rather then Boy Scouts making a sweeping change like that. It is crazy they made a sweeping change like that but still do not allow non religious kids to participate. Most people in boys ours did not even knew this was coming. I think this can cause lots of people to drop both girkscouts and boy scouts. I would preferred if they allowed venture scouts to pursue a Eagle award but keeping the boys only option in boy scouts.

Edited by MistyMountain
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Right now nothing. My boys will continue in Boy Scouts and my girls in Girl Scouts. I've always had it in the back of my head that my girls could join Venture if they wanted when they turn 14, but I'm helping build up a robust outdoor program within our service unit of GS so hopefully they won't have to .

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It won't really make much change to my family really.  My DD will be 18 by the time they allow girls into whatever equivalent boy scout program they come up with.  My boys are both happy about the change for the most part.  They do want to have separate boy and girl patrols but they think that having girls join is no big deal.  DH and I would have been very happy if this had happened sooner so that our DD could have had a chance to earn Eagle.  It was something she would have loved to accomplish.  We tried to get her into girl scouts when she was younger and they told us we could only join the troop for the school she was zoned for, but there was no troop.  We were told they would put her on a waiting list and let us know when a troop was starting.  DH and I offered to start a troop and turned in the paperwork but never heard back, even after called numerous times.  I have also heard a lot of stories about how poorly our local girl scouts is run from parents who have daughters in the program.

 

I have been a bit advocate of allowing girls into the program for years.  When I as camp director for our local cub scout day camp I allowed sisters to register for the same fee as cubs and attend camp.  They were kept in their own group and had a blast.  Our council also has had sister's camp, later girls camp, at their resident summer camps for one or two sessions for years.  DD attended every year when she was eligible.  Last year they started doing a girls week at boy scout camp as well for the older girls.

 

I don't see troop camping as a huge issue.  The BSA already had to work through the logistics for Venturing several years ago.  The BSA already has policies in place for camping situations that I am sure will crossover just fine for adding girls into campouts in boy scouts.

 

The one thing that will make things potentially frustrating is if they decide to go with boy troops and girl troops to keep them separate.  It will mean that for our charted organization we will have to either stretch out current leadership more than they already are or recruit a lot of new adults to help out.  Having women who are willing to camp has not been an issue, but trying to staff and whole separate troop is more challenging.  I think that the reality will be that our pack will meet with the girl den and boy dens meeting together and the troop meetings being together as well at least to begin with.  We have enough parents with girls that are excited at the inclusion of girls that I can't see us not allowing them.

 

Honestly though, I think that the BSA branding this as making the program more "family friendly" is silly.  It is not more family friendly if it is adding more meeting nights a week. I really think the reason they took this step is the decline in membership in the last few years even though they keep insisting that it isn't. 

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We aren't in scouts, but today I got an email from our 4H program director saying that some parents of boys in scouts have called to ask about 4H because they are unhappy about the decision.

 

I did not say much. The program director does not know that we are considering retiring in 2018 from the organization, giving our notice of intent on the day we graduate ds, and serving for only one last county fair. We aren't ready for the office to know yet, but I suppose they are wondering because we did say that at this time, we would not be accepting new members into the club indicating that the 17 we have is the most we can handle.

 

Otherwise, I think it is possible that our club would be expanding. We are the only club in the county that is involved in STEM and nature studies, does nature hiking, wildlife tracking, ecological studies, etc. all of which would be things that I think boys in scouts might be interested in doing. So the effect could have been significant IF we were allowing the club to expand.

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Evidently the point of the two awards is different. The point of Eagle is not the complexity of the project done. It is gaining the Leadership skill to navigate the process, get other people to work with you on the project, raise the money, etc. The point of Girl Scouts (at least at the gold level) is the project itself, and its level of sustainability (IE that it mantains itself after the girl leaves)

 

Leadership is required for silver and gold.  They just also require a project to address a community issue and that the project be sustainable. Silver can be done as a group of 2-3 girls or individually.  Gold is an individual project.

 

This is the paperwork for the silver award.  Then it goes to council approval.  The project is completed and then a whole packet of paperwork goes back to the council for approval.

 

 

 

Girl Scout Silver Award Project Proposal

Please type your answers to the following questions in paragraph form on a separate piece of
paper and attach your answers to this form. Please write clearly.
A. Describe your project, the community issue your project will address and what you hope to
achieve. What are your goals for your project?
B. What are your reasons for selecting this project?
C. Outline the strengths, talents and skills that you plan to put into action. What skills do you
hope to develop?
D. Describe the steps involved in putting your plan into action, including resources needed.
How will you carry out your project? Explain your project as if you are speaking to someone
who needs all the details.
E. If you are working in a group, what are your individual roles and responsibilities?
F. How are you going to display active leadership in your project? Remember: active
leadership means involving other people in your efforts. How will you lead, coordinate,
educate or inspire other people to make your project happen?
G. How is your project sustainable? How will it continue after your role is complete?
H. Describe how you plan to tell others about your project, the project’s impact, and what you
have learned (website, blog, presentations, videos, articles, etc.).
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Leadership is required for silver and gold.  They just also require a project to address a community issue and that the project be sustainable. Silver can be done as a group of 2-3 girls or individually.  Gold is an individual project.

 

This is the paperwork for the silver award.  Then it goes to council approval.  The project is completed and then a whole packet of paperwork goes back to the council for approval.

 

 

 

I have never been involved in Eagle scout project, other than sitting on a bench or something, but I am currently helping a student with her Gold award.  As I understand it, she needs to research the community issues to figure out a real need, design and carry out a project, including fundraising and involving others, and then make a plan to make sure her project continues after she's done.  I'm not sure what's missing from that that's present in the Eagle Scout.

 

On the other hand, if Eagle Scouts aren't looking at real community needs, or addressing sustainability, I'd have concerns. 

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We aren't in scouts, but today I got an email from our 4H program director saying that some parents of boys in scouts have called to ask about 4H because they are unhappy about the decision.

 

 

Color me confused.  So, are they leaving just because they are mad about the decision?  They do realize that 4-H is a co-ed organization, don't they?  They do realize that 4-H values equality.  What are they running away from?  

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