I get lots of email questions about…
… troop conflicts. It may be volunteers arguing with each other, parents arguing with Scouters, volunteers arguing with Scouts, they all have a common thread, and most have a common answer.
I also offer my simple advice for welcoming girls into troops, so simple you may not like it very much!
I also talk about what’s next at Scoutmastercg.com
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Andrew Colclough says
I wanted to share the recent sea change of my thoughts on the BSA inviting girls, as I hope it could help other scouters. Apologies in advance, but it’s hard to write about this topic briefly.
Some quick background: I just started as a Den Leader for my oldest’s Tiger Den. Scouting has been mostly (and sadly, I add) dormant in my life, since I aged out of my troop in Bend Oregon, at 18. Life, kids, job…whatever kinda crowded it out I guess. Regardless, I’m pleased to find many fond memories returning, and feel a renewed passion to give back to Scouting. I’m a tad late to the podcast, having just found it about a month ago, and have been working my way through episodes from the beginning, etc.
Regarding the BSA opening the program to girls: I have to admit, initially the news of this came to me second (or third) hand, and my gut reaction was negative. I quickly ran through all the typical objections in my mind like: Why not Girl Scouts? Is the BSA going soft, or trying to be politically correct? Don’t Boys need their own space? etc…
However, my thinking here shifted based on several things: First, your podcast, then reading the actual BSA’s plan for inviting girls (rather than people’s reporting on it), and your Dispatches from Kandersteg. Most important though, since I was getting back into Scouting, I decided to finally read Scouting for Boys, and BP’s Aids to Scoutmastership. I found myself wondering – how is this “jolly game” of Scouting (as BP envisioned it) not a fantastic thing for girls also?
For the record, most of the reporting on the BSA’s decision seemed to be irresponsible, incorrect, or alarmist. All of my initial mental objections above were based on incorrect assumptions, answered satisfactorily, or frankly, unimportant or ridiculous. Unfortunately, for many girls, including my sister, the program of the Girls Scouts just doesn’t seem to fit their interests. But it seems the Scouting Movement is bigger than all of that anyway. (It was great to see your Scouts just roll with things in Kandersteg. Like, Hey – these girls are Scouts too? Cool. When’s the hike…)
I could be wrong, but it seems like the world, and America specifically, is in desperate need of solid men and women of real character. Not to mention, there is certainly a great deal of positive character development that can, and actually should occur between the sexes. So long as this is undertaken responsibly, what’s the real objection?
My takeaway from BP is this: The Scouting Movement is about developing the heart, rather than the veneer of youths. I think that’s a profound and noble mission that should be extended to all young people, and the world would be better for it. I would encourage more people to skip the ‘outrage headlines,’ and read Baden-Powell’s writings, for a look into the heart of scouting. At the end of the day, I’d say he changed my opinion.
To that I say, Good luck, and good camping!