FEDERALIST: If Not Even The Boy Scouts Can Celebrate Boys, They’re In Serious Trouble


If Not Even The Boy Scouts Can Celebrate Boys, They’re In Serious Trouble

In a world where masculinity is too often thought of as toxic and men disappear from the labor force and marriage, scouting was a place boys could be taught as boys, by men.
Lori Moylan

By

Every other Monday evening, a chaotic scene erupts at our local Presbyterian church. Young boys of all ages dart around, happily calling to each other across the room, alternating between sprints, tackles, and boisterous discussion of the latest update from Minecraft or their favorite YouTube star.

Eventually, a man in a tan shirt steps to the front, his hand held high in “the quiet sign.” A few minutes later, with the boys settled down, the ritual begins. It starts with the pledge, and is followed by the sacred words: “On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

Next comes: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”

When they are young, they struggle with the words, their faces scrunched as they try to remember the order. When they are older, they recite in monotone, the words slipping off their lips in a way that makes you wonder if they are internalizing the importance of the words.

Rituals for Becoming Men

The rest of the meeting slips by. If it’s just a den meeting, focused on one age group, the boys work on a practical skill with a moral backdrop. They might identify leaves and plants while learning the importance of conservation. Or they may practice whittling, learning the importance of care with a knife and the “blood circle” for maintaining a safe distance from others.

Regardless, each lesson provides each with an opportunity to speak up and share a story, serve as a group leader, and develop mindfulness in helping (or staying safe from) their fellow scouts. The meetings are loud, energetic, and more than a little disorderly. After eight long hours in school, the boys are obviously intoxicated by this one hour of hands-on, rough and tumble time with their pals.

Full pack meetings are different. They provide practice in public speaking, get the boys out of their comfort zones through funny skits and songs performed for all, and frequently have a program one particular den took responsibility for planning and practicing in advance. The boys always leave full of smiles, proud of their participation even if they are too cool to admit it.

As a mother and an assistant den leader, these bimonthly rituals have a place of sacred significance. I remember watching my older brother advance to Eagle Scout, admiring the practical skills, sense of greater responsibility, and strong self-motivation he developed. I eagerly waited for my son to come of scouting age, and relished watching him throw himself into the activities with reckless abandon.

In a world where masculinity is too often thought of as toxic and men disappear from the labor force, marriage, and self-sufficiency, scouting was our safe space, a place boys could be taught as boys, by men, on the importance of developing into strong leaders with outstanding moral character. I’ve watched the men who lead our troops sacrifice so much of their lives, hoping that their tireless work imparts some nuggets of wisdom to help these young men follow the right path.

The Costs of Adding Girls to a Boys’ Space

The Boy Scouts of America’s  decision to begin allowing girls raises many questions for me. The first are practical. Despite the directive to allow separate dens at the Cub Scout level and forced separation at the Boy Scout level, it’s hard to imagine enough young girls joining Cub Scouts to fill a tiger troop on their own. The Boy Scouts have struggled with declining membership, experienced even by our local troop as we’ve increased recruitment efforts at local schools and community events. Recruiting a few girls across a wide age range seems more likely to yield mixed dens at the young ages, similar to my son’s Little League teams, which frequently had one or two girls in the mix.

Even if it remains separate at the den level, will full pack meetings continue to be separate? If so, it seems to cut into the argument that the program wants to be an inclusive one-stop-shop for busy parents with separate meetings to attend, award ceremonies to photograph, and weekend activities, even assuming they occur simultaneously. It either will require the same additional parenting time something like Girl Scouts requires, or require the busy families and single moms the Boy Scouts claim to be catering toward to be in two places at once. It seems likely, then, in the end, for more things to be combined than not, both for practical reasons and because everyone knows separate but equal really isn’t equal.

Overworked leaders would find additional recruitment for separate dens, increased logistical challenges, and to some extent, additional burdens on the churches and community organizations that host these troops if everything runs on separate tracks. As an assistant den leader, the possible challenges to running some combination of separate and single tracks makes my head spin.

So, What’s the Point of Scouting?

But certainly our girls and the development of their moral character is worth some additional logistical challenge. That is, after all, why so many families already do both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, or put their girls into whatever program they think will best develop them into strong women capable of taking on the world. My parents chose both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, as well as other mentally, spiritually, and physically enriching activities, from debate club to piano lessons to church clubs and soccer. The real question cuts to the heart of scouting itself, and its purpose in the modern age.

When my son was two, we moved hundreds of miles from home in Georgia to the DC area. I was excited for the many opportunities he’d have living in our nation’s capital. The good local schools, the countless enrichment activities, and the cultural experience would all provide him an excellent foundation.

But I was also nervous. Although my hometown had many individuals, especially men, experiencing failure to launch, I was also aware I was removing him from family and an established community for the unknown, and that I needed to recreate that community if he didn’t have grandfathers and uncles to pass along life lessons he’s less keen to learn from mom.

Scouting for me was an important part of that plan. The scout oath and law embody what I want my son to become, and stand in stark contrast to the path many men are following. To do his best to do his duty, rather than avoiding hard work and labor. To be trustworthy, loyal, and courteous rather than take advantage of those around him, especially women. To be thrifty, rather than indulgent. To be cheerful and brave, rather than giving in to hopelessness.

Maybe the decline of men in and of itself is a condemnation of the utility and marketability of the Boy Scout program. After all, the program is dedicated to turning men into leaders, not shirkers. Scouting numbers have dwindled in concurrence with men disappearing from social life. But with growing recognition of the problem facing men, scouting is well-poised to serve as one answer.

If Female-Specific Is Good, Why Isn’t Male-Specific?

We all acknowledge the importance of having a safe place for girls, where they can confront and discuss the unique challenges we face as women, learn to be strong and self-sufficient, learn to work together, and celebrate who they are and what makes them unique. The countless programs that have developed just for girls from STEM camps to girls-only running clubs to the Girl Scouts themselves have helped build a strong foundation for female empowerment.

We’ve learned as a society that having female-specific spaces and clubs aids in development. It’s not that girls don’t need to embody the lessons taught in the Boy Scout Oath and the Boy Scout Law, it’s that we know they face different challenges, and displaying those moral characteristics means different things based on different circumstances. Having a place to teach those virtues to girls, by women, creates a unique opportunity for discussion and bonding.

Scouts teaches boys how to process their feelings, channel their emotions, and tackle the world as men.

Boys deserve the same. We can’t simultaneously deride the disappearing man, moan the toxic effects of untethered masculinity, and demand virtue without providing a place to teach it in a way that’s tailored to boys’ learning styles and interests. Boy Scouts provides an outlet where boys push and learn boundaries in their pack, develop integrity and social responsibility, and practice effective leadership.

As I think back on my last five years as an assistant leader, I remember the countless times the boys tested themselves and each other. I remember the boy struggling with his parents’ divorce and the ramifications of new people in his life, I remember the boy who struggled in school with abundant energy and focus issues, the boy who moved so frequently due to his family’s military status, and how scouting gave them all a home. For a few hours a month, they could let loose and learn.

I remember how they opened up about things on their minds, how their forced boyish emotional guards would come down, even if just for a few minutes, as they worked and talked with their fellow scouts and leaders, and how the moments could come crashing down in laughter after very boyish jokes that make a mother cringe. My son has struggles of his own, and I saw scouting teach him to handle them wisely and bravely. Each moment was important. I was grateful such a place still existed.

Scouts teaches boys how to process their feelings, channel their emotions, and tackle the world as men. It teaches them to explore and question in a judgment-free zone. Behaviors too frequently shut down on a school playground are indulged within reason. They learn to appreciate themselves for who they are, but also how to be the best version of themselves. They can connect their impulses and desires to a grander good, and see their places in the social order.

Will that continue after this decision? It’s hard to say. But it’s difficult not to view the recent BSA decision as one that chips away at the most important part of scouting. I doubt the decision will much affect the rest of my son’s experience as he moves on to Boy Scouts. But if the BSA, of all organizations, fails to understand the fundamental importance of its original mission, it’s hard to imagine how we can tackle the problems affecting men in the long-term.

Lori Moylan lives with her family in the Washington DC area. Follow her on Twitter @Lori_SuLin.

GOOD MEN PROJECT: Who Took the Boys Out of Boy Scouts?


Here’s a candid telling of how girls, then homosexuality, were brokered into the UK’s Boy Scouts over a forty year period.

The U.S. is well down this path.

You’ll notice the exact words, rationale, and Soviet-style sex integration objective. Boy Scouts = Young Pioneers in every meaningful sense.

Oh and BSA Inc wanted to rename itself “Scouting” in the 1970s when it tried — and failed — this exact program the first time.

Logo for “Scouting/USA” the original attempt at unisex, de-Americanized Boy Scouting.

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/who-took-the-boy-out-of-boy-scouts/


Who Took the Boy Out of Boy Scouts?

glen poole, international men's movement, feminism, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Scouting Association, Cub Scouts, Girl Guides, Baden Powell, gay rights, Gender equality, Scouting for Boys, diversity,

Scouting is one of the world’s most successful men’s movements. So how did it become a feminist movement in the UK that excludes male leadership and bans boy-only groups? 

I’ve often wondered if my interest in gender started in the Scouting movement—it’s where I discovered cross-dressing, had my first kiss and learnt how to start fires.

My mum used to take me on camping trips with the Brownie Guides (for girls aged 7 to 10), where I got to hold hands with one of the girls and experienced my first kiss through the strings of a wooden tennis racket.

I progressed to the Cub Scouts—for boys aged 8 to 11—and took part in an annual “Gang Show” that mostly involved singing, dancing and cross-dressing for the amusement of audiences filled with old ladies.

I’m not sure if my experience was what Lord Robert Baden-Powell (BP) had intended for boys when he formed the Scouting movement—and I‘m interested to know what he would make of the Boy Scouts of America’s ongoing refusal to include gay men—a question made more curious by speculation that BP was a repressed homosexual.

As far as Europe is concerned, we don’t seem to have an issue with gay Scouting—it’s guy-only Scouting we don’t like.

Being “an out Scout” is accepted in the UK, where a dedicated fellowship of Scouts actively supports the recruitment, retention and ongoing support of LGBT adults.

In the country where Scouting began, we’re so progressive that we’ve taken the “boy” out of Boy Scouts and converted the Girl Guides to feminism. So how did that journey happen?

♦◊♦

The worldwide Scouting and Guiding movement now has more than 40 million members and attracts more nations to its global “Jamborees” than the Summer Olympics—and it all began in 1907 with Baden-Powell running a camp for 20 boys on Brownsea Island near Poole in England.

BP was a celebrated war hero and his ‘Scouting for Boys’ book inspired boys (and some girls) across the country to set up their own Scouting groups.

By 1909 11,000 scouts attended a national rally at Crystal Palace and according to the Girl Guiding UK website:

“Several girls demanded a place for girls at the Crystal Palace Boy Scout Rally. They were the very first advocates of the Movement—speaking out and challenging the norms and gender conventions of the time.”

The following year the Girl Guides was formed as a separate body by BP’s sister Agnes, giving girls equal but different access to the Scouting movement. It was another 18 years before all women in the country were given an equal right to vote.

♦◊♦

So how did this global Scouting craze that provided parallel movements for boys and girls from its earliest days, end up banning male-only groups and embracing feminism? It seems that the parallel movements have gone on two very different journeys.

After re-directing the first wave of enthusiastic women and girls into their own movement, women also began to enter the Boy Scouts movement as leaders and helpers, particularly during the World Wars when male volunteers were in short supply.

Scouting continued in this way until 1966 when the Chief Scout’s Advance Party Report kick-started a 40-year process that led to the end of boy-only scout groups in the UK and beyond.

The first step was a name change from “Boy Scouts” to simply “Scouts”. Girls were admitted to the Venture Scout movement for older teenagers from 1976 and after an on-off debate that lasted until 1990, Scouting in the UK decided to admit girls of all ages.

The change was optional at first and the final move from “you can involve girls” to “you will involve girls” happened in 2007.

Scouting in the UK now has around 500,000 members and about a quarter of them are women and girls. The Guiding movement is a similar size and almost exclusively female.

♦◊♦

I spent a fascinating hour chatting with Simon Carter, a volunteer Scouting Manger in Hertfordshire whose wife runs a Scout Troop locally.

Their commitment to youth work is inspiring and Simon paints a compelling picture of a diverse, inclusive movement that is working to reflect society in its membership at every level and every age group.

When you talk to the Scouts, you don’t get any impression of a movement that’s consciously doing gender.

“We’ve reached a tipping point in the movement where it’s less about gender and more about leadership and inspiring people,” he told me.

The Scout movement that Simon Carter describes is about providing young people with adventures that can help to produce good citizens, boys and girls, who grow up to be part of a society where men and women work together effectively.

READ MORE AT THE GOOD MEN PROJECT

1950 Valley Forge Jamboree


Valley Forge and the scouting movement have a natural affinity. It’s a genuine shame BSA Inc sold itself into moral servitude to finance the boondoggle that is The Summit Bechtel Reserve.

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This commemorative stamp was issued by the U.S. Postal Service on the occasion of the Jamboree, which was also Scouting’s Fortieth Anniversary.

boy_scouts_bsa_stamp

NATIONAL REVIEW: Gates, Gays, and the Boy Scouts


from National Review
by Kevin D. Williamson 
May 24, 2015 1:45 PM
@kevinNR

Screenshot-2017-12-28 Gates, Gays, and the Boy Scouts
Would you trust this man with your sons? Your daughters?

The soul of a bureaucrat

Robert Gates has long been surrounded by men in uniform, first as secretary of defense, now as president of the Boy Scouts of America. His time at DoD coincided with the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on homosexual soldiers — a repeal effectively imposed by the courts — and as the leader of the Boy Scouts he is calling for a repeal of that organization’s policy banning homosexual adults from serving as troop leaders or in other leadership roles.

Gates, whose likeness appears in Webster’s with the entry for “bureaucrat,” says that the Boy Scouts’ policy on homosexuals is “unsustainable.” He warns that attempting to maintain it would mean “the end of us as a national movement.” This sentiment expresses a great deal of what is wrong with the leadership culture of the United States.

Read more at: NR: Gates, Gays, and the Boy Scouts

Girl Guides: grown males to sleep with their girls?


From Eowyn at the superb Fellowship of the Minds blog comes this lunacy from mother England.

Madness: British girl scouts to allow adult ‘transgenders’ share toilets & beds with girls

In the UK, girl scouts are called Girl Guides or GirlGuiding— a 107-year-old organization founded in 1910, with a total membership of 553,633 in 2013.

The Girl Guides recently updated its rules that are a boon for pedophiles.

According to the new rules, male-to-female (MtF) “transgenders” will be allowed to share toilets, changing rooms and beds with girls. Since Girl Guides members are aged 5 to 25, that means adult biological men will share toilets, changing rooms and beds with little girls.

The Telegraph reports, November 26, 2017, that the new guidelines, published on the Girl Guides’ website, say that because “the use of gendered facilities,” including showers, toilets and changing rooms, “can cause anxiety . . . members are allowed to use the facilities of the gender they self-identify as.” That is because “girl” is “based on gender identity. This means that any child who self-identifies as a girl should feel safe and welcome in our girl-only space regardless of the sex that they were assigned at birth.”

Girl Guides’ CEO Julie Bentley said the organization follows the requirements set out in the UK’s Equality Act 2010, which states that organizations providing single-sex services must treat people according to their acquired gender, and allow people to legally challenge their gender without facing “demeaning” rules that force them to undergo a formal medical diagnosis.

Bentley said:

“In line with our values of inclusion, we welcome any young person who self-identifies as a girl or young woman. If a young person doesn’t feel comfortable sharing accommodation, for whatever reason, we encourage them to talk to their leader about alternative accommodation and facilities.”

There are concerns, however, that sharing accommodation and personal facilities will threaten the safety and privacy of girls, especially as.

The guidance states that it is not “best practice” to inform parents that a trans person will be attending a residential event, and so parents of younger Girl Guides members would not be automatically told if their daughter will be sharing facilities with people “who self-identify as girls” — that is, with biological males who claim to be females.

David Davies, Conservative MP for Monmouth in South Wales, told The Mail: “If transgender girls who are physically male are going to be sharing facilities, it’s going to make some girls threatened and uncomfortable and the Guides shouldn’t be doing that.”

It is not known how many “transgender” members are in the Girl Guides.

~Eowyn

Comparison of the 1911 and Centennial editions of Boy Scout Handbooks


Scouting Then and Now.
The Boy Scouts of America: Then and Now — A Comparison of the 1911 and Modern Handbooks and Merit Badges

I stumbled on this today looking for material to train our Webelos scouts for their Arrow of Light award.  The present handbooks are simply awful — the Soviets wrote more inspiring manufacturing reports, translated into English than the soul-killing, mind-numbing awful that is the Boy Scout Handbook series today.

The Art of Manliness blog — one of our favorites! — took a close look at the Centennial edition of the BSA Handbook and compared it to the classic original. This portion was largely inspired by a 2013 Clairmont Institute essay by Kathleen Arnn.

The Boy Scouts of America: Then and Now — A Comparison of the 1911 and Modern Handbooks and Merit Badges

 

What has been dropped or reduced in the modern handbook is telling. Gone is the section on chivalry, which traced the Boy Scouts’ heritage back through the pioneers and Pilgrims, and to the knights of the Middle Ages. While the 1911 handbook has a lengthy chapter on Patriotism and Citizenship (including a letter from Theodore Roosevelt on “Practical Citizenship”), which outlines the history of the United States, the meaning of the flag, and the purpose of various governmental bodies, the modern handbook has greatly shrunk the discussion of such things in both length and detail. The original is also generously peppered with references to great men in history for young boys to emulate, while the mention of such “heroes” is almost entirely absent from the one published in 2009 (being inspired by history isn’t much in fashion these days).

Perhaps most striking is the different way in which the two guides address the idea of good character. The original didn’t shy away from strong admonitions like, “It is horrible to be a coward. It is weak to yield to fear and heroic to face danger without flinching,” and “The honor of a scout will not permit of anything but the highest and the best and the manliest. The honor of a scout is a sacred thing, and cannot be lightly set aside or trampled on.”

vintage illustration from boy scouts handbook helping old lady

In contrast, the modern version frames its discussion of character in terms of its inoffensive modern equivalent: leadership and personal development. Instead of being couched in the absolute language of moral virtue, doing the right thing becomes a matter or “making the most of yourself” and “getting along with others.”

Arnn’s original essay — well worth the five minutes it takes to read completely — may be found here. Perhaps we shall post on it later.

AOM’s contribution was to compare merit badges from 1910 to merit badges of 2010. As there are a number of badges that survived the century, this was a straight forward task. The results are a side by side set of graphics with the requirements of each.

what stands out for all the modern badges is how much longer and more involved the guidelines are today than they used to be. In the 1911 handbook, earning each badge involved the completion of a short list of one-sentence requirements. Modern badge requirements, on the other hand, run to as many as ten paragraph-long sections, the first of which is always a discussion of the need to discuss safety considerations with one’s leader. The gardening badge for example, requires the Scout to discuss with his counselor what hazards he might encounter if he happened to unfortunately plant his tomatoes near a beehive.

All old time Scouts see this. The result is that Scouting is perhaps more boring even than school, so the handbooks become expensive bricks, heeded mainly in the breech.

Why? Observe:

Camping

Camping is the activity for which the Boy Scouts are best known. In comparing the original camping merit badge to today’s, one can see how the hands-on requirements have been loosened; for example, Scouts formerly had to sleep out for 50 nights, know how to build a fire without matches, and construct a raft. On the flip side, the modern badge has decreased that requirement to 20 nights, and has greatly expanded the more mental requirements — making checklists, creating plans, and describing different camping guidelines and pieces of equipment.

boy scouts camping badge requirements 1911 versus 2012

Perhaps the most compelling contrast is found in the Inventions merit badge:

boy scouts inventing badge requirements 1911 versus 2012

Yes, you read that correctly.  Our boys were expected to invent something and patent it.

Arnn captured the cucking self-abnegation of BSA honchos since the Improved Scouting Program nearly destroyed it in the 1970s.  Here is an extended quote:

Today, there is a different approach to leadership: “success begins with a vision—picturing yourself where you want to be.” And because anyone can have a vision, anyone can be a leader. “You are a collection of wonderful talents, ideas, and experiences,” the new handbook’s Leadership chapter begins. “What do you want your future to look like tomorrow?”

The old handbook spoke proudly of the chivalric tradition; the new apologizes for the antiquated example of the knights. It sandwiches a few cursory paragraphs on moral virtue between a lengthy discussion of drugs and alcohol and a section on sexual responsibility. Moral choices are reduced to healthy choices. Doing the courageous thing becomes equivalent to refusing a cigarette at a party.

Instead of an exciting chapter on Patriotism and Citizenship, the handbook now offers a perfunctory discussion, re-titled just “Citizenship.” In the new handbook Scouts are citizens of their country, but also of the world. There are the same detailed instructions for folding and flying the flag, but the accompanying history lesson has been shortened and stripped of its vividness. There are, by my count, four heroes in the book. They are the founders of Scouting: British founder Robert Baden Powell, the naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton, outdoorsman Daniel Carter Beard, and James E. West, who led the BSA through its first 30 years. Each gets a sentence and a picture. American heroes, so numerous and colorful in the original handbook, are almost absent. Washington and Lincoln are each mentioned one time. Here is their sentence: “We remember the sacrifices and achievements of Americans with federal holidays, including observances of the birthdays of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

BSA was and remains a hollow shell of its formerly unquestioned status as the premiere training ground for our sons. Pandering to POCs became its own priority, even to the neglect and insult their core audience.  Membership is in free fall because BSA doesn’t want white boys.  They don’t want patriots or Christian believers.  They want your money and are willing to extract it from you by the extortion of your sons.

What would the knights of old do?

 

Words Have Meaning


It seems long ago for those of us in the trenches of the American kulturkampf.  But it really hasn’t been long at all since BSA actually believed the words they spoke, starting with the Scout Oath and Law.

Check it out. Then hold them to it.  Every. Single. Letter.

Because words have meaning.

Scouting Magazine: Maintaining BSA Standards (September 1992)

Congressional Report in Support of Act to Incorporate Boy Scouts of America February 7 1916