Yeah, back in 1982 the world didn’t hate Boy Scouts because they were exclusively boys when they built this trail. That’s about as many hours as I’d work at a full time job for almost 2 years. Many tons of dirt and rock moved over many miles. I can just picture a line of dirty sweaty exhausted scouts, slaving away with picks and shovels and saws and prybars, and singing this:
I never did understand why all the hate was dumped on the Boy Scouts, even after they dropped the ‘no atheists’ policy and let gays be scoutmasters. Now they are just “The Scouts” and allow girls in.
They still get hated on, only now from both sides. The left hates them (and always will) because they still promote civic and personal virtue and responsible behavior. And now the far right hates them because their definition of “civic and personal virtue and responsible behavior” gags and vomits at the thought of a secular & diverse organization.
Actually there were quite a few Boy Scout functions where girls (usually sisters) also participated. Scouts BSA simply formalizes them as members and gets them on track for rank and merit badges.
I suppose it would have been a big win for may daughter who was terminally envious of what her 4 years younger brother was doing. But Daddy, understanding that kids need to challenge themselves & engage in slightly risky behavior under adult guidance, got her riding lessons, taught her to shoot, taught her to 4WD off-road, explained a bit about wilderness survival, and went on long hikes with her.
But there was something important to be said for having a group of boys out on exclusively male expeditions. Ditto girls. These are young kids entering puberty. Kids in their early teens with their hormones going nuts. And now there’s attractive girls in the troop. All the time. Not just li’l sis tagging along for fun but females with breasts and pheromones. What is wrong with a vacation from this? I remember well sitting in 7th grade and thinking about the pretty girl sitting next to me, smelling her hair, having fantasies and knowing she was all sweet for someone else. Any time you mix in boys and girls and puberty you get tension, desire, competition, and despair. An all-male (or female) scout group was a break from this.
Every primitive society has male and female bonding rituals where the other gender isn’t allowed. It meets some kind of primal need.
It isn’t like Explorer troops aren’t gender mixed. These kids are a bit older, more focused on exploring career paths and have had a little time to learn to handle their urges. So it isn’t like we are segregating males and females for some nefarious oppressive reason.
The great evil here was not that Boy Scouts didn’t let in girls, it was that Girl Scouts had so little to offer my daughter. She wasn’t into arts and crafts or sewing or cooking or selling cookies and there was no GS troop anywhere near us that actually went backpacking. I recall reading an article about a GS troop near San Francisco that tried offering .22 caliber target shooting. They got stomped on by both the state and national organizations. So much for diversity.
Where is all the hate for the Girl Scouts? Their policy is not to allow boys to join. Why don’t equal rights activists attack them? In Colorado there was a boy who wanted to join the GS. Immediately shot down by the local but the parents appealed and the state organization said that they had just enough flexibility to allow a boy in but only if he self identified as a girl. Well isn’t that just precious? You boys can all stay out except for the tiny number of potentially transgendered ones. Gotta keep our girls pure?
The Girl Scouts have criticized the “Scouts BSA” for going coed, despite it being a supposed feminist victory. They will lose members to them. Scouts BSA simply does more interesting things. Getting your Eagle rank still has some importance in your early adult life. There is nothing in Girl Scout that denotes the same character that the Eagle rank does. It requires ambition, discipline, perseverance and a high level of fundamental intelligence, the ability to calculate and take risks, the desire to be of service to the community. A belief in something more important than oneself. It is difficult and competitive. Most boy scouts never try for it and many who do try fail.
Who, outside of scouts themselves, have even heard of a Gold Award? “A Girl Scout can earn Gold without ever learning to swim, tie a square knot, cook or having spent a single night camping.”
What is tragic here is that the Girl Scouts couldn’t or wouldn’t do the same things for their girls that the Scouts BSA did with their boys and now may do with their mixed gender troops. That is assuming that enough girls sign on with Scouts BSA for it to make a difference. Young girls might not want to jump into that particular mixer yet.