FABIUS MAXIMUS: Looking behind Boy Scouts’ decision to admit girls

fabiusmaximus.com

Looking behind Boy Scouts’ decision to admit girls

Larry Kummer, Editor

Summary: The Boy Scouts have decided to allow girls into their core programs. Let’s look at this decision, how it was made, the possible effects, and the vital context. It’s modern America in a nutshell.

Baden-Powell
Sir Baden-Powell.

Boy Scouts of America admits
girls into their core programs.

Attempting to boost their sagging numbers and reduce criticism from liberals, the directors of the Boy Scouts unanimously voted to allow girls to join the main Cub Scout and Boy Scout groups (they already participate in Venturing, Sea Scouting, Exploring, and STEM). Success at the latter is certain (until the next demands come); success at the former is less so. As for the effect on the organization and its Scouts — only time will tell.  It also shows how decisions are made by America’s leaders, and why the results are so often unexpected. Here’s a brief description of this revealing story.

I write this based on my research — and my 15 years as a Boy Scout volunteer leader, at all levels from Den Leader to Council Vice-President and Director.

The numbers

Membership in Boy Scouts of America peaked in 1973 at 4.8 million and has dropped relentlessly since then. In the first decade of this century it fell by 16% to 2.8 million. Since then it has dropped another 18% to 2.3 million. During these decades they tried many ways to “modernize” the BSA, all unsuccessful. The result has been decades of downsizing, a steady sale of camps, and consolidation of its local councils (many of which were financially broke). The problem is structural and probably unsolvable:

(a)  The principles of Scouting have been unfashionable since the cultural revolution of 1965 – 1975. There have been countless rounds of modernization — multiculturalism, admitting girls into four of their programs, accepting gays and transgendered. These have made BSA acceptable but not fashionable.

(b)  The deeper problems are less fixable. Scouting is a middle class organization. It requires extensive parental involvement — far more than competing youth organizations (such as sports). This works well only for two-parent financially stable families. That market has been shrinking since the 1970’s, with no sign of it stopping.

(c)  The demographics are growing worse. The population of young Americans is shifting to groups who are poorer and with higher rates of fractured families. Scouting has found that these families can be reached by Scouting — but only if the local groups are subsidized. Since Scouting can barely support its existing groups, that kind of expansion is not possible.

(d)  America’s youth are changing. Kids are raised by helicopter parents who tightly grip their reins (and so prefer regimented sports teams), raised watching TV in day care centers, whose play consists of pushing buttons and watching screens — have less interest in outdoor treks than previous generations. Offering merit badges in video games won’t attract enough of them.

Venture Scouting

Two things have keep Boy Scouting alive. First, Mormons — themselves outsiders in modern America — use Scouting as their youth program for boys. Without their boys — and more importantly, their adult leaders and financial support — BSA might enter a death spiral (unable to afford their infrastructure).

Second, the reputation of Eagle Scouts has kept BSA alive. The record of BSA’s best and brightest over generations — despite their class — made the Eagle rank one of America’s most respected certifications. (Girl Scout’s equivalent Gold Award has, unjustly, not developed the same reputation.) As David Halberstam said in The Best and the Brightest

“In a nation so large and so diverse there are few ways of quantifying intelligence or success or ability, so those few that exist are immediately magnified, titles become particularly important.”

This has brought in many parents seeking to bolster their boys’ college applications. Troops become Eagle “factories”. Parents complete the projects. Outdoor treks are done only as needed. All this is antimatter to Scout spirit. Sometimes the parents run troops like schools; boys grudgingly cooperate, and bounce out after getting the little eagle pin — depriving Troops of what should be their Scout leaders.

STEM scouts

The research

The Directors have research showing that opening BSA to girls will produce a bounty of new members. They commissioned two nationwide surveys. They found that many parents not now involved in Boy Scouts wanted their daughters in Boy Scouts.

This shows why leaders so often make bad decisions. Such surveys are easy to do and produce clear results. They often do not ask the necessary questions. Large changes affect every factor in the equation. It is not just a matter of how many girls join. How many boys will decide to join boy-only sports teams instead of Boy Scouts? Why will girls join? How many will join for Scouting’s outdoor activities vs. credential-seeking? The answers to these questions will determine the outcome of this change.

So many of these changes in America are made on the basis of ideology. People, left and right, who just know things. Here’s my favorite response to questioning about the BSA decision (on Twitter).

“Because they’ll be harder workers and better scouts, especially at a young age?”

Needless to say, this person offered no evidence for this claim. Scouts entering existing co-ed programs have not shown this extraordinary jump in performance.

Explorer Scouts

A larger context

This can be seen as another step in the end of American exceptionalism. Just as women are being integrated into America’s Armed forces, as they already are in the militaries of other developed nations — girls are being integrated into Boy Scouting, just as they already are in Scouting of other nations. World Scouting claims to have 33 million youth, with America the largest (but still small) component — and one of the few that is not coed.

So letting girls into more BSA programs is nothing unusual. The default expectation should be that nothing happens. Perhaps a few more Scouts. Perhaps a few less. Only small changes to Scouting.

But every society is unique. America is in the midst of unusual change in its society. Boys losing ground in school and drugged in incredible numbers (summary here), while gender roles are rapidly evolving. We are conducting a social experiment on a scale seldom seen in history. That is the context for this change in Scouting. Lots of potential for unexpected outcomes as we tinker with the deep mechanisms of our society.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Perhaps we should expect the unexpected, with many small changes producing large effects.

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all post about women and gender, and especially these…

  1. A brief guide to the new war of the sexes. Both sides are 100% right.
  2. America’s war of the sexes gets worse. Here’s why.
  3. Disturbing next steps in the gender revolution.

The context in America.

The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies are Harming Our Young Men
Available at Amazon.

I recommend reading The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies are Harming Our Young Men by Christina Hoff Sommers. For an intro to it see her 2000 article in The Atlantic. From the publisher…

“An updated and revised edition of this controversial classic — now more relevant than ever — argues that boys are the ones languishing socially and academically, resulting in staggering social and economic costs.

“Girls and women were once second-class citizens in the nation’s schools. Americans responded with concerted efforts to give girls and women the attention and assistance that was long overdue. Now, after two major waves of feminism and decades of policy reform, women have made massive strides in education. Today they outperform men in nearly every measure of social, academic, and vocational well-being.

“Christina Hoff Sommers contends that it’s time to take a hard look at present-day realities and recognize that boys need help. Called “provocative and controversial …impassioned and articulate” (The Christian Science Monitor), this edition of The War Against Boys offers a new preface and six radically revised chapters, plus updates on the current status of boys throughout the book.

“Sommers argues that the problem of male underachievement is persistent and worsening. Among the new topics Sommers tackles: how the war against boys is harming our economic future, and how boy-averse trends such as the decline of recess and zero-tolerance disciplinary policies have turned our schools into hostile environments for boys. As our schools become more feelings-centered, risk-averse, competition-free, and sedentary, they move further and further from the characteristic needs of boys. She offers realistic, achievable solutions to these problems that include boy-friendly pedagogy, character and vocational education, and the choice of single-sex classrooms.

The War Against Boys is an incisive, rigorous, and heartfelt argument in favor of recognizing and confronting a new reality: boys are languishing in education and the price of continued neglect is economically and socially prohibitive.”

AMSPEC: Good Bye, Boy Scouts

spectator.org

Good Bye, Boy Scouts – The American Spectator

Melissa Mackenzie

October 13, 2017, 2:03 am

So Girl Scouts is not good enough for girls?

Boys will not be boys. Boy Scouts will not be Boy Scouts. Boy Scouts will be Boy and Girl Scouts so says a new edict from the leadership of the Boy Scout organization:

The Boy Scouts of America agreed Wednesday to start admitting girls into the Cub Scouts next year and to create a program for older girls in 2019.

The change calls for Cub Scout dens, which are the smallest groups, to have either all boys or all girls. Larger Cub Scout packs could accept boys and girls.

The program for older girls is expected to allow them to earn the top rank of Eagle Scout.

“The values of Scouting — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example — are important for both young men and women,” said Michael Surbaugh, the group’s chief Scout executive. “We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and life-long experiences for their children.”

The plan was adopted unanimously by the organization’s board in Irving, Texas. The Boy Scouts has 2.3 million members ranging in age from 7 to 21.

This is a sad day for boyhood.

Boys will have no place to just be themselves on their way to learning to be a good, decent leaders. While they traverse puberty, they’ll hike, camp, climb, and test their limits amongst girls. It will change their behavior. It will restrain them.

Meanwhile, the Girl Scouts, the organization created specifically for young, growing women will continue to wither. They’ll lose girls to the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts will lose boys to boy-only groups like Trail Life USA.

By attrition, both organizations will be diminished. Worse, boys and girls who could benefit by having a place to grow and develop inside the safety of a same-sex environment won’t. Or, they’ll go to other organizations.

Anyone who has witnessed the joy of a boy between the ages of 10 and 12, knows the delight of unselfconsciousness of a group of them rolling around like puppies. They play, giggle, wrestle, and just breath. My son said it best, “Even smart boys are dumb when a group of them get together.” He said this while laughing at the thought of him and his buddies goofing off.

Introduce a girl into that mix and awkwardness descends.

What is wrong with the adults of America that they don’t see the value in protecting that innocence and delight? Why must everything be ruined on the altar of inclusion?

Girls have a fine organization — made by and for young women. Admittedly, the Girl Scouts lacks some of the stature of the Boy Scouts and has lost its soul pursuing progressive politics instead of preserving leadership development among girls. The solution to this is to make the Girl Scouts better.

The Girl Scouts don’t have an Eagle Scout ranking. So make one — or make an equivalent to one. Incorporate survival training and all the rigors of the Boy Scout training or more and different training. Physical fitness is a big part of the Boy Scouts. Include more physical rigors into Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts tends to peter out after the “Juniors” level, which is fifth grade. Girls get the badges and then move on to other interests and organizations. My own daughter and I joined a mother-daughter service organization that started in 7th grade and continued through High School. The girls had leadership opportunities and opportunities for community service. There is no shortage of ways for girls to serve their community and learn good citizenship and leadership.

Boys, too, have opportunities to grow and lead. However, Boy Scouts provides, or did provide, something unique: leadership by Christian men and learning amongst boys.

What will happen, for example, at overnight rock-climbing lock-ins with boys and girls? This is a concrete example as my son attended just such a Boy Scout event last year. Imagine a bunch of pubescent boys and girls in this situation. Imagine the liability.

What about the camping arrangements? The majority of scout leaders are men. Who wants their daughter to be on a camping trip led by men? Right. So that will mean that moms will be going with daughters to boy-dominant camps. The dynamics change.

Boy Scout camps will be the coming of age drama of every church and band camp across America. Boys were spared the social pressure before today. They could exuberantly not shower for a week and offend no one except their mothers when they returned home. Boys had a place to do boy things and to learn how to be a good man from men.

In a bow to social justice warriors or to economic pressures, the Boy Scouts decided to lose their competitive advantage, which was catering to boys. Now, they’ll be nothing special.

Another American institution has “progressed” to obsolescence.

Photo credit: Boy Scouts of America

SURBER: The Left never liked the Boy Scouts / Jamboree 2017

donsurber.blogspot.com

The Left never liked the Boy Scouts


President Trump went where Barack Obama dared not go: Glen Jean, West Virginia. Obama shirked his duties and failed to attend the quadrennial jamborees in 2009 and 2013.

For shame.

But Trump went, and was honored to do so.

Trump pointed out that 10 of his Cabinet members are former Boy Scouts. A few are Eagle Scouts.

They are men of honor and integrity — squares in a world that needs stand up men. You start by building square boys.

The press seemed alarmed that Trump

From CNN: “Trump to Boy Scouts: ‘We could use some more loyalty’ “

From the Hill: “Boos for Obama as Trump speaks at Boy Scout jamboree”

From Time: “President Trump Brags About His Election Victory During Boy Scout Jamboree Speech”

From the Hill: “Dem senator: Trump’s ‘icky’ Boy Scout speech left ‘my stomach in knots'”

Hahahaha.

They crack me up.

The BBC got outright indignant:

Parents have expressed anger after President Donald Trump delivered a highly politicized speech to tens of thousands of Boy Scouts.

Mr Trump started by saying: “Who the hell wants to speak about politics?”

But his speech to the Jamboree in West Virginia railed against Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the “cesspool” of politics, drawing whoops and cheers.

One parent wrote: “Done with scouts after you felt the need to have my kid listen to a liar stroke his ego.”

Did the BBC ask any parents in 2009 or 2013 how they felt about Barack Obama stiffing the Boy Scouts and ignoring their jamborees entirely?

This is the same pack of that hounded the Boy Scouts for decades as “homophobic” because they tried to protect their wards from openly gay Scout leaders.

But forcing the Boy Scouts to have a few gay leaders was just an excuse to go after a group that develops some of the best leaders in the world.

There is a reason the jamboree is in West Virginia. The Scouts used to hold their jamborees on public land, but the Left — the cowardly Marxists that they are — protested and politicized the process of site selection.

Philadelphia tried to evict the Boy Scouts from a building the Boy Scouts gave the city.

The ACLU sued to stop government agencies from sponsoring the Boy Scouts.

There is a reason for this hatred of the Boy Scouts by the Left.

“Boy Scout values are American values,” Trump said.

That is why the Left hates him.

That is why the Left hates the Boy Scouts.

And that is why the Left and the rest of the Democratic Party can write off the Boy Scouts for the rest of their lives.

By the way, West Virginia hosts the World Jamboree in two years. It will be awesome.

 

EXAMINER: Does the Boy Scouts’ acceptance of girls mean the end of men?

washingtonexaminer.com

Does the Boy Scouts’ acceptance of girls mean the end of men?

by Nicole Russell  | October 12, 2017 07:55 PM

The Boy Scouts announced Wednesday they will let girls into the Cub Scouts in a bid to “evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children.” As benign as this may seem — after all, it’s just camping and knife skills, right? — few things demonstrate societal goals more than the choices we make regarding our youngest generation: from education and child care to parenting and community, what we show and teach our young people reflect societal values at large.

This decision is not only indicative of the toxic hold third-wave feminism has on large organizations and the people who run them, but demonstrative of a consolidated effort to eradicate the influence of boys and men on society. Simply put, it’s not enough to emasculate men or categorize them as predators or toxic, now we must equate them with girls in order to remove gender differences, and eventually men, altogether.

Scouts bend to feminist pressure

The decision the Boy Scouts of America made to allow girls into their 100 year-old all-male club shows how much misguided influence feminists have over even large, influential, organizations. NBC reports, “Earlier this year, the National Organization for Women urged the Boy Scouts to admit girls to the entire program, supporting the efforts of a New York teenager, Sydney Ireland, to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, as her older brother did.”

So, one girl, who could have joined Girl Scouts (and perhaps she did?), decided the boys stuff looks cooler — and it does — joined with NOW, and lobbied the Boy Scouts to change a program that’s been functioning as an all-boys group for several decades.

I can think of few other factions of American society that have as much sway as the third wave of feminists who believe it’s not enough that women enjoy equality under the law and equal opportunity in the workplace, but they must be a force in all aspects of society simply because of their gender. This is not only contrary to what feminists of yore hoped to achieve — equality due to personhood, gender notwithstanding — but is quite harmful today. Women should be involved in organizations either based on merit, or in this particular case, not at all, simply because they fail to meet the correct criteria or qualifications (in this case, the right gender).

The Boy Scout decision seeks first to remove gender differences

Part of the reason NOW was no doubt successfully able to pressure the Boy Scouts into allowing girls into their group was the simple fact that they believed it was a form of discrimination based on misrepresented thinking. As fun as the Boy Scouts might have looked to Sydney Ireland, it sounds as if NOW took her sentiments and pushed them a bit farther in a way that would benefit girls and hurt boys. Girls have Girl Scouts and other organizations they can be apart of, should they wish to join similar organizations. Still, progressive feminists don’t believe equality is enough — they want entitlement, even if it means shunning biology. This decision is reminiscent of that old Gatorade ad with Michael Jordan and Mia Hamm? The lyrics blasted, “Anything he can do, I can do better.”

Feminists and many other progressive groups continue to push the idea that there are few noted differences between boys and girls, so why should they learn and play in separate organizations?

If there are few, if any, measurable differences between boys and girls, surely they don’t need separate clubs or organizations. This is both false and wrongheaded. There are countless differences between the sexes which should be recognized and celebrated, and which are hardly a detriment to society, but often a boon. As a mother of four kids — two boys and two girls — I’ve seen this repeatedly in my family; I hate to see propaganda force biology to be disregarded or abused in either case.

Pretending girls would be interested in all the same things boys are, and thus demanding they should belong to the same club, is to ignore the vast biological differences in favor of the latest feminist propaganda de jure. It doesn’t mean girls can’t want to do some of the fun things the boys do in Cub Scouts — archery does sound more fun than selling cookies — but they don’t need to interfere with male bonding, which is vital, to accomplish that. Simply petition Scout leaders to add different activities to the docket or banish other things altogether.

Boy Scout decision teaches young people to devalue boys

If a society which has been warning the end of men is near for decades decided to slowly devalue men to the point of extinction, where would it start? Certainly not in politics or the private sector but in school, when kids are malleable. Colleges have been touting that masculinity is toxic, and Generation X and the millennials already believe men should be obsolete, so it’s no surprise they’d stoop to school-age children to inform them there are no differences between boys and girls and in fact, boys aren’t all that important. Certainly not enough to keep their own club.

The Boy Scouts aren’t just allowing girls into their clubs, they’re barring boys from having their own boys club, removing an essential aspect of boys’ development, including emotional maturity, self-confidence, and self-awareness. This will further evolve into boys feeling they must either conform to act like girls — even though the Boy Scouts promised the male and female “dens” would be separate — or slowly lose value as their own entity altogether. Either (or both) results are damaging for boys’ self-esteem as it affects the men they will later become — and as such, how they will further influence society at large as adults.

It’s disappointing to see an all-male organization, tasked with helping capable boys become strong, independent adults, succumb to the pressure of a feminist organization, which seeks to neutralize gender differences and devalue boys and men altogether.

Nicole Russell is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. She is a journalist in Washington, D.C., who previously worked in Republican politics in Minnesota. She was the 2010 recipient of the American Spectator’s Young Journalist Award.

If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.

RETURN OF KINGS: The Boy Scouts Is No Longer A Place For Young Males

returnofkings.com

The Boy Scouts Is No Longer A Place For Young Males – Return Of Kings

Wayne Star June 26, 2017

Back in the 1970s, my big brother was a cub scout and our mom was den leader. We put paper bags on our heads and beat each other with rolled up newspapers and went to the state capitol in Salem but that is about all I remember. Never once did I think, “How can my mom teach boys to be men?” The scouts have rapidly changed for the worse since then.

My experiences hiking near scouts

At sixteen years old, after a lifetime of my super dad teaching my brother and I to hunt, fish, shoot, fight, hike and swim, I took a seven-day hike alone in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness prior to my senior year in high school.

There, one afternoon, as I set down my lightweight, streamlined pack to set up my small tent, a scout troop of pudgy kids my age showed up. The entire twenty-boy group showed up in a delicate pristine alpine lake meadow and dutifully began attacking every tree in sight with the hatchets they had carried in their clunky, falling apart ancient-ass backpacks.

After thoroughly destroying the meadow full of trees that took a hundred years to grow ten feet tall in order to build a bundle of sticks they called a “raft,” they all tried to light the remaining trees they had cut down on fire to cook the cans of beans they had brought.

Eagle Scout material

Since I had been hiking alone for a week I hung out with them and learned that they were all Mormon boys from the same “ward.” The ones who could swim jumped off some cliffs with me into the lake. One ran off because there was a bee chasing him (recall that we were all about sixteen). Out of the twenty, maybe two were interesting.

All of them had no idea how I was hiking the Alpine Lakes Wilderness at sixteen alone for seven days. Their minds were blown. Most hoped that, someday, their moms might allow them to camp alone overnight someplace near their homes. Most had never killed anything larger than a fish and, though all had dozens of merit badges, not a single one had any practical outdoor skills.

As night came so did an amazing thunderstorm. As I enjoyed it in the comfort of my tent, two of the boys who thought it would be cool to “sleep under the stars” came to my tent asking for shelter. I let them in because I wasn’t an asshole yet back then. A moment later their leader came and took them back to his tent because they weren’t allowed to share tents with strangers. No doubt those boys learned a lot that night.

I hike and climb a lot and the scene I just played out, in one form or another, repeats itself everywhere I go. Fat leaders hiking with shitty, Walmart gear lead equally clueless kids with full garbage bags over their shoulders, miserable and breathless after three flat miles on easy trails. They camp in groups larger than the sites can support and proceed to trash the place, leaving shit everywhere.

The new and improved boy scouts

Welcome to scouting in the 21st century. A white-knight factory of political correctness where odd-ball omega boys are sent by their uninvolved parents to learn “scouty things.” If the boys are lucky they will get trained by a merit badge counselor who learned the task they are teaching from YouTube the previous week using the most outdated methods and gear possible. This five-minute exposure to a task earns them a little patch for their sash.

It wasn’t always like that.  At one time, scouting represented traditional American values of dignity and honor, so the left decided it must die. They won. Not only are your boys being taught by the nice old man down the street who just so happens to have a lot of extra boy-sized backpacks (child molester?), but today’s boy scouts can also be mentally ill girls who think they are boys or they can be gay boys who want to touch other boys’ naughty parts.

“Daddy, why don’t we do scouts?”

Once, one of my five kids asked why we didn’t do scouting and I said it would interfere too much with our mountaineering, hiking, hunting, and fishing trips.

My kids and I have climbed the highest volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest, skied down them, caught salmon, killed deer, ducks and pheasants and at eleven they begin belaying each other as we rock climb. We built our damn tree house together and they all received their own pocket knives at age eight. My boys can fold an American Flag and my girls cook better than most twenty somethings. The LAST thing my kids need is some pansy, milksop chi-mo scout leader teaching them to become the fat kid from the movie UP.

Most of my acquaintances who have odd-ball, nerdy kids send them to Boy Scouts meetings (after karate practice, we’ll talk about THAT joke another day) where they learn things like how to tie a sheepshank (a knot that can get you killed) or how to start a fire using anything and everything EXCEPT the way we all do it with—a $0.99 Bic lighter.

Craig knows how masculine men father their boys and he is missing a leg. What is your excuse?

A sampling of what scouting has become can be seen in their rule books: “Water guns and rubber band guns must only be used to shoot at targets, and eye protection must be worn.” And, “For water balloons, use small, biodegradable balloons, and fill them no larger than a ping pong ball.” We used to beat kids up who said faggoty shit like that.

Conclusion

If I could design a factory to produce beta losers, I could do no better than the Boy Scouts of America. So if you need babysitting once a month and you are worried that your son isn’t becoming enough of a mamma’s boy you can send him to scout meetings and sleep peacefully knowing he will never see female genitalia without supplying his credit card number first.

Read More: 15 Ways Masculine Schools Can Turn Boys Into Men

EASTMAN: Boy Scouts No More: A Mother’s Lament

Boy Scouts No More: A Mother’s Lament

By | October 14th, 2017

When I heard the news of the Boy Scouts of America allowing the admission of girls, I wondered if they would rename the organization the Bee Gees. They would have to get permission from that staple of 60s and 70s rock to avoid copyright infringement, but it would be consistent with the BSA’s efforts to overturn many of their longstanding traditions. The significant policy change was announced on October 11, which also happens to be the “International Day of the Girl,” as designated by the United Nations in 2012. The new policy allows girls in 2018 to enter the Cub Scout program, which is currently limited to boys ages 7-10. There are also plans for a program to begin in 2019 for older girls to attain the rank of Eagle Scout (the highest rank in Boy Scouts) which is now limited to boys ages 11-17.

BSA officials claim they will maintain the integrity of the single gender model by allowing Cub Scout packs to establish a new girl pack consisting of girl dens and boy dens or to remain an all-boy pack. The dens will be all boys or all girls. Packs and dens are the basic organizational elements of the Cub Scouts. The changes, according to BSA, were driven in part by requests from families who wanted programs that would serve all of their children. Prior requests to allow girls to join have been denied as recently as 2015 when five girls in Santa Rosa, California submitted applications for membership. There has also been a significant drop in membership; currently there are over 2 million in scouting programs, down from 4.6 million in 1997. Corporate sponsors as well have pushed for significant changes in recent years.

There are other BSA programs that currently allow co-ed membership. Venturing, founded in 1998, offers high adventure outdoor activities. Sea Scouts offer high adventure water activities. Both are open to teens who have completed the eighth grade through to the age of 20. A career exploration program, Exploring, is now open to young men and women, ages 10 – 20. There are also several high adventure bases in the United States (Florida Sea Base, Northern Tier, Philmont Scout Ranch, and The Summit) that offer co-ed and family programs in addition to their Boy Scout programs. Jobs at these bases are open both to young men and to young women. My son, an Eagle Scout, participated in a ten-day trek at Philmont as a Boy Scout and worked there as a summer ranger. He was paired with male and female rangers, all of whom had to meet the same physical fitness and application requirements. Female rangers were allowed to lead all-male Boy Scout crews. These speak to the many opportunities that young women have to participate with young men in a variety of programs already in place.

Allowing female participation, while a surprise to many, is among several other significant “social policy” changes in recent years. When challenged by James Dale, an openly homosexual male who sought to become a Scoutmaster, BSA had their status as a private association recognized by the US Supreme Court, thus reaffirming their control over membership and leadership requirements. (See Boy Scouts of America and Monmouth Council, et al., Petitioners v. James Dale). In spite of this victory, BSA subsequently enacted policies permitting the appointment of homosexual scout leaders. Both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts have also enacted policies to allow for participation of transgender youth. Some have called for eliminating the “duty to God” part of the Boy Scout Oath. In response to these changes, other youth groups have formed, including American Heritage Girls and Trail Life USA, both of whom aim to attract youths who seek an experience that is consistent with the original purpose of scouting. And, not surprisingly, membership in the Boy Scouts has dropped precipitously.

One might ask, with so many programs open to females, why is there such a push to make all programs co-ed? Is it a response to families who want a sort of one stop shopping for their children or to girls feeling slighted or missing out on achieving ranks including the coveted Eagle Scout? Is the mission of the Girl Scouts no longer attractive to young girls? Is it in response to BSA’s plummeting membership? Having been a parent involved in scouting for 12 years, BSA’s simplistic formula of girl dens and boy dens is unrealistic. While the new rules allow for separate packs, will a father divide his time between the boys and girls should he have a child of both sexes? Will a mother do the same? Dens are of roughly equal number, but what is the solution if they are unequal? Does the pack send the girls to another pack? There goes the one stop shopping. Regardless of how one answers these questions or addresses these issues, what is being ignored is the desirability of affording boys an opportunity to develop in a single sex environment. One of the few still possible.

BSA has said that they have no plans to change the organization’s name so while it is doubtful that they will seriously consider the Bee Gees, they should recall one of the Bee Gees’ more famous songs, Stayin’ Alive. Time will tell if these changes will contribute to the Boy Scouts stayin’ alive or if they will hasten the demise of an organization that, before it lost its way, had contributed to the formation of many fine young men (and women) in years past. The loss of a place where boys can develop skills and enjoy male camaraderie is unfortunate and sad. In reaction to the new policies, a scout remarked to me that there is always a change of dynamic when girls are present and it is now at the cost of guy time. Guy time (and girl time) in a world that is increasingly confused about “gender” is a great loss.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Eastman
Elizabeth Eastman holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Claremont Graduate School, an M.A. in Liberal Education from St. John’s College, and a B.A. in French Literature and Civilization from Scripps College. She has taught in the Political Science and History Departments at Chapman University and Azusa Pacific University, and in the Liberal Studies Programs at Roosevelt University in Chicago and at California State University at Fullerton.

AMERICAN GREATNESS: Boy Scouts Destroy Themselves

amgreatness.com

Boy Scouts Destroy Themselves – American Greatness

Christopher Roach

The venerable Boy Scouts are now going to admit girls. The organization’s quest to make young boys into men slowly has been chipped away by a combination of legal pressure and the influence of the dominant, liberal culture. It was worn down by litigation and only a few years ago agreed to allow the admission of homosexuals both as members as scout leaders. Then it was transgendered “boys” only in January of this year. Now the Boy Scouts are admitting girls. I’m reminded of Flannery O’Connor’s concept of the ultimate liberal institution: The Church of Christ Without Christ.

The stated reasons for this change aren’t completely important, and I expect there is more than one. But whether it’s financial, to accommodate parents who want “one stop shopping” for kids’ activities, misguided attempts to expand membership, or to allow the coveted title of Eagle Scout for girls, single sex organizations, particularly for boys, have been in jeopardy for a long time.

This is unfortunate. The Boy Scouts began, in part, out of a desire to address the consequences of urbanization and the related disruption of family life that these changes entailed in the early 20th century. Boys, previously working alongside their fathers on the farm, would now be ensconced in factory-style schools, with less exercise and fewer opportunities for adventure.

The Boy Scouts’ founders feared a less masculine and heroic generation in an environment where authority figures were exclusively women and life was less strenuous than in the recent past. They understood that the combination of these trends had the potential to create a society of timid, weak, confused and risk averse men. Scouting, with its emphasis on survival in the outdoors, was supposed to teach character, responsibility, and individualism. In the current age of the millennial—exemplified by the Obamacare propaganda campaign’s “pajama boy”—it appears the Boy Scouts’ founders were onto something. Pajama boys are not the kind of men who create, protect, or renew a civilization.

At the time of its founding, over 100 years ago, the fact that the Boy Scouts was a self-described boys organization was not controversial. Men and women had more distinct roles and expectations in society. “Co-educational” institutions were rare. But even as society and the economy evolved to include more blurred roles for men and women, there remains value in single sex organizations.

Teenagers in particular live in a sexually charged atmosphere, where competition for mates persists, even if the end result is less often marriage. These organizations remove this potential distraction. Boys and girls also have different physical capabilities; if judged by the same physical standards, boys would win the vast majority of awards and girls may become demoralized. Further, the possibility of sexual relationships undermines the camaraderie of mixed sex groups and opportunities for friendship. Mixed groups, frankly, are simply never as cohesive as single sex organizations for this reason. Thus fraternities and sororities and single sex colleges and activities persist. Both sexes want them.

Feminism, while persistent, seems to miss this point. It invokes sexism as if it were the same thing as racism, but no one thinks of it as such, at least not in situations like this one. While much of racial discrimination was motivated by hostility and self-proclaimed superiority, much “sexual discrimination” is simply another word for chivalry or the creation of single sex spaces to form friendships.

Separate but equal water foundations appear cruel and ridiculous. Single-sex bathrooms, by contrast, are totally familiar and not seen as demeaning to either group, who, after all, are in numerical parity. The same is true of single sex dorms, schools, sports, clubs, and activities. Indeed, there is a very successful organization called the Girl Scouts of America, and it is understandably critical of this decision, as a mixed-sex Boy Scouts promises to poach a significant cohort of their potential members.

This decision will have predictable consequences and culminate in the diminishment of the Boy Scouts of America. There are at least two reasons for this. First, whenever an organization aims for equality explicitly, that goal begins to overshadow all other institutional goals. We have seen this in police departments, the military, educational institutions, and in many other important institutions of our society.

This diminishment flows from the concept of “institutional” discrimination, which condemns the continued use of legacy standards. Those old standards come to be deemed discriminatory because they often produce different results noticeable to those keeping score by race or sex. Standards previously used with no discriminatory purpose whatsoever, and, indeed, which form part of the group’s pride and notions of excellence, become problematic when the demographics of the organization change. The demand for equality becomes all-consuming to the point of organizational transformation.

For example, if women fail to make up more than 5 percent of all Eagle Scouts, will there not be soul searching about the Boy Scouts’ “toxic culture of masculinity,” patriarchal assumptions, and the mix of activities that are designed to match traditional boys’ interests? This will be deemed unfair and discriminatory. Will there be new merit badges for activities now absent and in which boys, over the years, have shown little interest? And will this strenuous attempt at self-reflection and institutional change not stop until at least 50 percent of Eagle Scouts are women?

Here is a news flash: boys and girls are different. Boys like getting dirty and camping and and taking apart engines and climbing through junk yards and rough-housing. Some girls do as well, no doubt, but far fewer. Mostly the two groups are different, and this was obvious to everyone 20 years ago, has been obvious from the ridiculous ways Title IX has impacted schools and colleges, and now this “common sense” regarding the most basic of sex differences is becoming a “hate fact.”

Yet there is second reason this is a bad decision, and it is more subtle. Becoming a man is, in a way, a process, and a tenuous one at that.  Masculinity is more fragile in some ways than femininity. It has long been steeped in ritual. It is not simply a matter of age but of expectations of behavior, independence, and physical courage. Young boys and men are exhorted to “Be a man,” as if it were possible to fail. Part of what makes an activity distinct for this purpose, at least for most boys, is that girls don’t or can’t or aren’t allowed to do it.

In the best of times, these rituals are supervised, recognized, and tied to real achievement. Think of a boot camp graduation or a Bar Mitzvah. In the worst, they’re mere hazing and, in certain communities, include pathological milestones, like your first night in jail. But either way they’re important, they are sought out, and young men who exemplify the Boy Scouts’ code are in need of such ritual for many of the same reasons that they were at the beginning of the 20th century.

We have a fragmented, physically weak society. characterized by disorder and irresponsible behavior, both within and without. Far from an age of political crisis, ours is characterized by a crisis of morale and a crisis of authority. No one knows how to behave any more. Moral behavior depends foundationally on distinctions of what is true and false, of what one owes and to whom. A boy is not a man, and a girl is not a boy. It’s too bad the Boy Scouts—of all groups— have forgotten this.