(this is long but I hope you can find time to read).
Let me preface this conversation than I am a conservative. I fight the good fight for constitutional rights, small government, and a Jesus first lifestyle.
I’m not claiming I am some saint or that I think we should accost people for their sins. Just that generally most would say I am politically conservative guy.
So when Boy Scouts said that they were going to start accepting girls, I like many of my peers really objected to that. I mean it’s Boy Scouts right? I can see the argument, there’s a girl scouts for a reason right? There’s other organizations for girls right? And so I was against it.
I’m still not sure it was the right decision to make but I’m getting there
First let’s talk about the geopolitical situation.
When we talk about the Organization of the Scouting Movement— the worldwide governing party that deals with 169 countries, the United States along with such wonderful places as Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, Barbados, and Papua New Guinea – are the only ones that worried about gender.
I mean really, is there any other situation where conservatives would say they want the United states to be more like Saudi Arabia?
Maybe on oil production.
But certainly not on women’s rights.
As a conservative I might believe that it’s my duty as a man to provide and protect my family, and that is my wife’s duty to nurture our family, but no means do I believe that she has any less rights than I do.
In fact every conservative man I know would tell you that he is the king of his castle and his wife gives him permission to say so.
I mean come now, we’re conservatives… the party of respect your mother. So how is it that we’re lumped in with countries that don’t believe in women’s rights when it comes to scouting? That’s definitely cracking the shell for me.
Second, the boy scouts have often been a pathway to the military service. Which I think is Honorable, but let’s face it there are a lot of women in the military these days.
( Now the scouts believe in actual equality of effort and earning the badge requires doing the skill. It’s not one badge for girls and one badge for boys. You either can do it or you can’t. The military can learn a lesson there…)
But the fact remains that I would not be disappointed if my daughter join the Navy someday and following the steps of family like my brothers, cousins, uncles, dad and my grandfathers, and great grandfathers. Hypocritical of me to say she’s good enough to join the Navy but can’t join Boy Scouts. In both cases she’s a girl in a boys world.
Third – there’s the Girl Scouts. Common misconception, the Girl Scouts has nothing to do with the Boy Scouts. They are completely separate and now competing organizations
I was ok with girl scouts as a conservative, or at least as much as I could be… so we investigated
The local troop near me told us flat out that they’re expecting kids to sell thousand box of cookies. Now I understand those cookies are damn good, and it probably isn’t that hard to sell a thousand boxes. But is that really the focus that I want my daughter to deal with? I want her to be an anesthesiologist or a financial Trader. Not yet another pretty face selling something. No wonder every sales rep out there is a former Girl Scout… They learn it at a young age.
I didn’t give up on GSUSA… my mom said when she was a girl scout they did camping. My wife says she did camping with her mom. I wanted to keep a girl in girl scouts…
A little bit of research and I find a number of discussion boards where parents are fighting the same problem. The Girl Scouts in their area I’ve become about being a social club, with very little in the way of outdoor skills or activities.
And girl scouts are recognizing the problem… They added 23 badges in STEM and Outdoors. Wow… It’s 2018 and you finally think girls can do science? How progressive of you GSUSA.
I am glad GS are changing in response to Boy scouts…but i would have been a lot happier if it was proactive to create better women for the future – rather than a response to a drop in membership.
So I am sure there are Girl Scouts out there that or just as adventurous as Boy Scouts. They just don’t seem exist in my area. the affluent in my area, probably don’t have any desire to go camping. So they’re not having their kids go camping or fishing or tying knots or playing in the mud. And the poor in the area can’t afford boy or girl scouts ( the start-up fees is about $300 all said and told)
Lastly – it seems the girl scouts have taken a stance on politics that is just to the left of BSA – which is already too liberal for my tastes. I think kids organizations should stay out of politics..
Maybe in a few years we can reevaluate GSUSA.
Fourth; We also looked into some of the other christian-based organizations like American Heritage girls and Frontier girls. Unfortunately none of them have chapters in our area. Kind of makes it hard to join if I have to drive an hour and a half to meetings. Not going to happen on school nights.
My daughter on the other hand keeps asking about camping and fishing and going places. I just had just given up, I figured I’d take her a couple times a year and we’d make do with just that. I mean after all, I felt like i had exhausted my options and I knew how to teach some of what she wanted.
And then 2 weeks ago my daughter came home from school and said I want to join Boy Scouts.
” There’s one at my school.” she says….
It turns out that at least in my area – now that boy scouts is open to all.. It’s OK to promote it at the public schools.
When my 6 year old asked.. I suddenly knew that my life is going to be utterly changed, and that my stubbornness might have to be compromised to give my daughter the support that she deserves. I was going to have a daughter in an organization I felt should be boys only. Man did I feel like a hypocrit.
So Egg on the face – I go to the meeting. After all I am a dad first, and as a conservative I believe in participating as a parent. What kind of man would I be if I let my pride keep her from what she saw as a solution.
How do we teach our girls to fight gender stereotypes if we’re unwilling to get outside of our own comfort zones and do the same? Lead from the front by setting the example.
Besides Pride is a sin ya’ll.
So we went to the pack meeting and we joined, there are about eight girls and about 12 boys in total. Certainly not a large pack. It seems they where kicked out of the previous church over gays… (different story – skip the comments please). So I am joining a pack right in the middle of literal chaos caused by much of the decisions like letting my daughter join.
So far it’s been an uphill battle.
The first night we joined I get told by a pack leader – “they didn’t want girls in Boy Scouts.”
We didn’t live that deter us. They meet practically right next door to our home and so my wife and I certainly can’t argue with the convenience, and besides, I do believe in equality under the law , and so I will be damned if I am not going to defend my daughters right to have fun.
In the two weeks we’ve been members I’ve been told three or four times by friends and family that they just can’t support the girl in Boy Scouts.
On the other hand I’ve had people jump out and say “you go get them!”; “She’s a trailblazer!”; “I’m so proud of her”; “I know she’s going to do great things!” (thank God for those friends)
My kid just wants to camp and do things outdoors. She’s six she’s not thinking about boys and girls. To her there’s no difference, I mean she knows that boys stand up to pee and that girls sit… but to her a kid as a kid. She doesn’t care if the people she’s playing games with or competing against are boys or girls. She just happy to be part of the adventure.
Our first camp out I got to talk to some of the other parents and leaders from other troops. It’s interesting … Boy Scouts is allowed troops to choose to be either traditional or coed. And there are separations between the Boys & Girls by Den, remember this is Cub Scouts not Boy Scouts, and once there the 12 and up age bracket, they have to be in completely separate packs in their own campsites excetera.
One parent told me they where okay with girls being Scouts so long as “the boys and girls camped on different weekends”, after all she said we know teenagers are “going to sneak off in the middle night and end up in each other’s tents” .
I am not dumb enough to think that teenagers don’t think about other teenagers or sneak off in the middle of night… But let’s face it there’s some parental responsibility on raising your kid correctly in the situation.
There are things you can do to ensure that the girls stay in the girls camp in the boys stay in the boys camp. And if that means I need to stay up all night and watch over them, then so be it. That’s called being responsible parent.
Besides you don’t think your kids going to the mall to play Pokemon go do you? We can’t prevent our teens from interacting with other teens.
I’d much rather that interaction be in a structure where somebody said hey these are the rules and you need to follow them. Learning to respect the girls will go much further towards making good men out of our boys than isolating them. We can teach them to respect women without demasculating them too. I still understand that boys need to be boys and girls need to be girls.
Another parent told me that they had kept their pack traditional. Ironically that particular parent had a Boy Scout with a younger sister who was a tag along for the weekend.
In Cub Scouts the parents are required to attend campouts. You can’t leave your child with a leader until they’re a weblo.
So in deference to all the parents who have no choice but to bring their siblings along, Cub Scouts has generally allowed siblings along so long as they obey all the rules.
Entire generations of girls have grown up alongside their older and younger brothers, doing scouting activities, learning the same knots, building the same fires, sleeping in the same tents, playing the same games and and being held to the standards of a scout, but they didn’t get any of the credit or reward.
And no parents were complaining about it because it was expected of the parents to keep their children in line with the Boy Scout standards.
This huge irony just screams to me … I mean is Boy Scouts really just for boys If we’re already allowing female siblings to attend?
And what kind of message is that sending to the girls that the boys can earn Badges and rewards the effort, but you’re just a tag-along. Wow that’s a little too 1950 even for me as a conservative.
Lastly I looked around and realized that probably 80% of the leadership was women. So we’re okay with boys being raised and lead by women… Women that themselves couldn’t be part of the program as kids. I talked to several of them and they all told me a similar story. As a child they attended Cub Scouts with a brother, and loved it. So when their child asked to join Scouts and their request for leadership was asked of them they volunteered. Because they love what the program is about.
Another gentleman who was listening in to my discussion, told me that he was a 4th generation Scout. He was a leader in Scouts not because he really loves scouting, because like any family tradition it was nearly expected of him.
He said he had grown to love it as his son had grown to love scouting, it was their time together and for that reason alone, he said he would do anything necessary to make sure his pack was a success.
So we have women in the same generational situation, the children of scouts, but couldn’t be Scouts themselves.
Maybe in the future my daughter’s great-grandchild will look back and say hey I’m a 4th generation Scout.
The last argument that I had to deal with was among corporate culture. It’s ironic that in a world where people talk about the glass ceiling, it’s the women who are telling me most often the girls don’t belong in the boys club.
I understand that boys and girls have differences. My daughter has physical limitations compared to some boys for sure, but nothing in the terms of equality of spirit or intelligence that will limit her from doing anything a boy can do. And let’s face it, women have a higher pain tolerance and a better at multitasking in general than men. It’s okay that not everybody is meant to have the exact same skill-set.
But I have to wonder if her near future of obstacles in relation to her gender as a minority girl in a boys club, might prepare her well for a world where she may be a woman truly breaking into an industry that is mostly male whatever that might be. Maybe so, it certainly isn’t going to hurt her to have to learn to deal with the opposite sex.
Our first camp out ended with two boys and a girl playing in the rain. I don’t think any of them cared about the others gender. They were much more concerned about when the burgers would be ready to eat. And how much longer they would be allowed to stay before having to head out . Those are the memories I hope all of our kids take home. Friends family food and fun – and maybe they will never have to know about the geopolitics that their parents were dealing with…
In closing, I would love to see my daughter go all the way to Eagle… Though I’m not sure it will open the doors for her that it would have if she was a boy, but I’d like to think that 12 years in the future people have gotten over the issue of the fact that it’s Scouts now and not just boys.
We have a long way to go, she’s just a kindergarten “lion” today, and I’m not sure if we’ll stay with Boy Scouts forever.
But if we leave BSA it won’t be because Dad wasn’t willing to swallow his pride and support a girl in “boy” scouts.
Time will tell and I hope you all can give us your support.