The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

Integrated Scouting

Valley County Voices

 

October 18, 2017



The Boy Scouts of America made what many seemed to think was a controversial announcement this past week. The National Scouting Office said that they would open the Cub Scout and Eagle Scout path to girls. This seemed to shock some and it lifted what has been a long-time barricade for girls in scouting. The announcement had been signaled for some time, and in my opinion is a great thing for scouting, boys and girls.

To dampen the scandal scouting has had coed programs since the early seventies with Venturing and Sea Scouts, and in fact the United States is the only modern country with segregated scouting programs. Concerns about the gender identities and integration are over-blown and unproven. So to put it lightly, this is not likely to destroy the scouting program. And in fact, should improve it. Life is integrated and if we begin at a young age to foster respect, equality and cooperation amongst boys and girls would seem to transfer into the real world at a later age.

The other argument I hear is that there is already a Girl Scouts, but comparing the two is strikingly hard. Girl Scouting programs are not typically outdoors or adventure based. They are leadership based, but I would claim to be ignorant of the base factors of their program. I have learned anecdotally that they are more individualized in their programming towards women’s issues. Whereas boy scouts teaches teamwork, outdoor skills, bush craft, leadership, citizenship, spiritual life, and high-adventure activities such as back country canoe trips, high seas sailing, rock climbing, and wilderness camping. Feasibly the two programs are non-competitors in their base forms.

Personally, as a Scout, women and girls have been in the Venturing scouting program so long that I don’t think it will be a culture shock for many. Summer camps already contain a good mix of men and women counselors, and the leadership of scouting is entirely integrated. I feel personally that it opens up an opportunity to broaden the horizons of boys, girls and leaders through the experiential learning that is the scouting program, and to encourage more girls, of which I am a father of three, to be interested in and excel in life, in work, in the outdoors, in leadership, in education and in scouting. Life is integrated and these opportunities should be open to all youth.

 

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