Today the BSA announced Family Scouting starting next fall with girls in Cub Scouting, and “a program for older girls, which will be announced in 2018 and projected to be available in 2019, that will enable them to earn the Eagle Scout rank.”
There are certainly a number of things to discuss but today I just wanted to post links to key resources about the announcement:
BSA Press Release
Family Scouting Factsheet
Family Scouting Website
Bryan On Scouting Post
Family Scouting FAQ
Also check out my two recent posts on the subject:
Girls in the BSA?
Gender and Scouting (Podcast 354)
I want to reiterate that I am not a BSA offical, nor sponsored or endorsed by the BSA. This announcement is as much of a surprise to me as it likely is to you.
I’ll be reading through the resources, start there to answer your questions, I won’t be much help because I don’t know any more about the specifics of these plans than anyone else.
The best advice I can offer is just take a couple of deep breaths, there are always a lot more questions than answers at first.
Dave B. says
This just confirms to me, kind sir, that you are indeed a time traveler! 🙂
My pack already has 83 boys in 10 dens, so our biggest challenge will be the logistics of meeting space. We are taking a “wait and see” approach until we get more details from BSA before deciding what we will do.
This is an interesting article (from 2013) showing Lord Baden Powell addressing a young girl’s request to join scouting. There is also an image of an all female patrol from 5 years before Lady Baden Powell established Girl Guides and a revision of Scouting for Boys that included uniform requirements for Girls.
Cubmaster/CoR/Commissioner Dave says
Semper Gumby. We’ll make it work. But, is this scoutlike (friendly, courteous, kind) towards the GSUSA with whom we’ve had a ‘parallel’ program for over 100 years? I fear one of the organizations will lose ‘critical mass’ and whither. Not sure it had to be this way. There might have been a win-win scenario in there like some in the American Vietnamese community and others have done with parallel BSA/GSUSA units. But, we’ll cheerfully forge ahead following the Oath & Law.
Clarke Green says
I am unsure of exactly what transpired between the BSA-GSA prior to the change, but there was a letter from the GSA to the BSA national executive that protested this move strenuously back in August. What I have said about gender cuts both ways, I donlt think an exclusively all-girl program is any better than an exclusively all-boy program.
Frank Godek says
The Girl Scout and Boy Scout programs have not been “parallel” for a long time. I was, simultaneously, a Boy Scout Assistant Scoutmaster and Girl Scout Troop Co-Leader not too long ago. I have read early Girl Scout Handbooks and their current material as well early Boy Scout Handbooks and their current material. I can tell you that Boy Scouts is still very much the same program as it was 107 years ago: The Oath and Law, Patrol Method, boy-lead troops, rank advancement, earning merit badges, etc. Girl Scouts started off much the same but they have diverged tremendously. Especially with the Journey program that they started about a decade or so ago, they just arent’ the same at all. When they started Journeys, they did away with the badges. They’ve brought them back but in a much more limited way. Unlike Boy Scouts in which requirements are generally very objective in nature, Girl Scout Journey requirements are very loose guidelines. I had a nice chat with another leader after an event and I remember that her big complaint was that her girls would work really hard on a task in a Journey only to find that another troop did almost nothing because they interpreted it differently. My older daughter stayed in the Girl Scout program until she graduated from high school. She was on the local camp staff and loved that aspect of Girl Scouting but hated everything else. My younger daughters just stopped being interested. One of them said that troop meetings just felt like another day at school. The outdoors is not a required part of the program. There are good troop leaders who run an outdoor oriented program but most of the time it’s all indoors. Because there aren’t leadership requirements or even established leadership positions, a lot of troops are adult-led rather than girl-led. Because I was an adult leader, I got the opportunity to speak with girls in troops that were older than my daughters. A group of them approached me and begged me to start a Venture Crew. There were just too many activities that they couldn’t do in Girl Scout – like any kind of shooting sports. I ended up starting a Venture Crew and we had no problems having the boys and girls together in the unit. I think that with separate dens for the cubs and separate troops for the boy scout-aged girls, it will be just fine.
Dawn Heyse says
Frank, thank you for sharing these details about the differences in how BSA and GSUSA structure their programs, and especially the leadership opportunities for the youth. I have been approached repeatedly since the announcement by co-workers who are curious about the situation, and I don’t feel like I’ve been able to give anyone satisfactory answers because I know little about how GSUSA operates. I’ve been limited to explaining my experiences as a Sea Scout leader and as a Cub Scout leader who knew many siblings who wanted to participate in the program. So thank you!
I am excited that we now have to opportunity to fully fulfill BSA’s mission, to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. I believe these are values for everyone–not just boys and older girls.
It disheartens me to see that so many people seem threatened by the idea that girls can and should be taught these values using BSA’s time-tested methods.
I am especially perplexed by female Scouters who feel allowing girls of all ages to be Scouts is wrong. If boys need to be shielded from female influence in the program, how does allowing women to lead them support that?
I truly believe this change will benefit our young people and our society as a whole. I don’t think anything positive is going to be taken away from any of our Scouts, and a lot more young people are going to have the chance to be a part of something that could change their lives for the better.
Just a sad day. The ongoing watering down of the organization and program is very disheartening. BSA never contacted existing scouters. You are feminizing the true essence of BSA. On top of that, by allowing parents, you are also promoting helicopter parents. Just sad.
Helicopter parents have been around forever, and so have female leaders. As an Eagle Scout, a father of an Eagle Scout, and a father of two young girls, I am happy to see my girls offered the same opportunity as my son,
Clarke Green says
In the olden days we called them whirlybird parents! :>) I am equally happy to know this is now an opportunity available to my granddaughter and my grandson.
Clarke Green says
The BSA did, indeed, conduct a survey of Scouters.
Based on the conversations I’ve had with scouters across the country, I seriously doubt the legitimacy of the survey results.
Scouters that received the presentation and completed the survey complained that the questions were loaded and biased. Some received the presentation at this month’s roundtable and are still waiting to get the survey link.
I never heard a peep about it from my council or either of the two districts I’ve been involved in. Yesterday, I was told by someone in my council that the townhall and survey only were by invitation only. Who those invitations were sent to, he could not tell me.
Paul Niedens says
We all know who was behind it. AT&T and their Board of Directors I seriously doubt anybody involved in scouting was asked anything the PR machine was in full swing before they even announced I have not talk to one person that agrees with this. I will say it would be easy to throw in the towel and say I quit but I don’t think that’s what Baden Powell nor our American founders would want us to do too many good people have given too much for scouting to let a few that are pushing progressive politics change the original mission of Scouting.scouting was never meant to be a family camp out its mission is to help young man be confident leaders good Christians good fathers and good husbands.