Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and managing gender


6a0133ec87bd6d970b013486446c7d970c-320wi The Boy Scouts are a dynamic organization.  I found that out after I posted "The Boy Scouts and Girls; a changing relationship" on my Out of the Toy Box blog.  Little did I realize the great conversation this would start both on the comments section of the blog itself but also on various Linked In groups.

I want to widen the discussion to include the Girl Scouts and other interested parties so am reprinting the posting below.  OK, Girl Scouts, let's hear what you think.

Here is the posting:
The Boy Scouts have been having a hard time of it the last couple of decades. At  least that is what an
6a0133ec87bd6d970b0133f320fac7970b-320wi interesting story in the New York Times entitled "Boy Scouts Seek a Way to Regrow Ranks" tells us. Plagued by a dramatically falling membership, the organization's numbers have declined by 42% since 1973.

In order to turn things around, the Scouts have been reaching out to Hispanics and other minority groups. It seems, however, that the one group they are not aggressively pursuing is the one that wants in; girls. Some girls want the more physically active experience the Boy Scouts offer and though the organization is not letting them in to their under 13 age programs they have been letting them into their Venturing program.

Perhaps you knew that the Boy Scouts let girls into their over 13 program but I did not and I have to say I was surprised. An organization that has a 100 year history of being all about boys is to be congratulated for making any move in the direction of rethinking its mission. I guess a plummeting membership tends to focus the mind.

Girls want into the under 13 programs as welll and I find that to be yet another  interesting comment on the changing face of gender in the United States. Here is how the article quotes one 16 year old girl expressing her opinion: "I don't want to sit around and make quilts and sell cookies," she said after she expertly glided down a mountain-boarding course on which a few boys had tumbled. "I want to do stuff."

6a0133ec87bd6d970b013486446d71970c-320wi And what do the boys think? "It would be more cool with them," said Shane West from Jupiter, Fla. Why? "They're girls." Rocky Spiker, from Utah, said girls would "keep us in line." Ben Rosenbaum, from California, said, "Women deserve the same stuff as men do."

It will be interesting to see what the Boy Scouts do and how the Girl Scouts would in turn react to any move of that nature. It's the 21st century and a lot of hide bound concepts are coming into play.

For those of you interested in this subject, we are putting on a Girls and Toys conference on September 21 and 22.  We will be asking the question:  Do the toys that girls play with as children have an impact on the professional and academic choices they make as adults.  Let us know your thoughts.

5 thoughts

  1. Girl Scouts troops are primarily girl led. The girls themselves decide what activities they participate in. As with any group, majority rules, so girls with interests that differ from the troop my not find them met in the troop environment. These girls can find oppourtunites in special interest troops or other Girl Scout pathways such as event and travel groups. However these are not always easy to form due to many factors. One of which is a lack of adult leadership or advisors. Dads and other men need to step up to help these girls explore their interests. Girl Scouts welcomes men as advisors. (A non-related female adult must also be with the group at all times.) Are you man enough to be a Girl Scout?

  2. I think the Venturing Crew is the best place for Boys and Girls to be in the same Troop. I really believe that boys and girls need an organization that is boy or girl only to learn about other boys and girls and how to bond within their same sex. We push the sex game with the kids at such a young age already (look at the clothes – adult designs for little kids), they really need time to figure each other out before throwing them to the wolves. haha
    They have plenty of boy-girl interaction at school, in church, in their extended family environment. I would not want boys in my younger level Girl Scouts just as I would not want girls in Cub Scouting or early stages of Boy Scouts. I have years of experience in both. I watched as the girls came our of their shells and their shyness with girls, much less boys. I have seen the same with boys, but not to such a great extent. We need to let boys be boys and girls be girls for a while before we throw them in together.

  3. Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts are both good organizations. Girl Scouts is faltering in membership more than Boy Scouts. Boy Scouts has stuck to their original plan over the years but Girl Scouts has changed many times over which I believe is leading to declining membership. When Girl Scouts wavered over the years back and forth to be politically correct, I believe that was the beginning of the decline.
    Boys and girls need different nurturing in the younger years. They can all play with the same toys, but I do not believe it makes a difference when they are older. I have BBG triplets and can tell you from birth on, they will pick up things from their environment but still seem to gravitate towards whatever they are attracted to! My daughter excels in sports but is still a princess sometimes. She is a Cadette Girl Scout. The boys really like the boy toys, but they still like gardening and painting and doing things that might be considered feminine. The boys are First Class Boy Scouts.
    I have an Eagle Scout as well and he enjoys his Crew but wouldn’t mind if they had girls in their crew. We will be setting up a Crew for our girls when they are of age and have achieved Gold (used to be 1st Class) as the Girl Scouts here don’t have their residence camp open, do too many politically correct activities, have cut back on all activities, only seem to do girly things. Our girls want more and Boy Scouts provides that outlet!

  4. Why not merge the two organizations into one?
    They could call themselves the sexually ambivilant mutually confused non gender specific people scouts!
    Stalin’s USSR had a similar group for Soviet youth.

  5. Girl Scouts is the premier leadership organization for girls. Not only are girls afforded the oppotunity to engage in sports like snowboarding (as mentioned above), but they also have the opportunity to travel the world and work collaboratively with others on sustainable projects designed to make a positive impact on their community. Quilting and cookies? I think not. Girl Scout programs focus on what girls need to thrive in a rapidly changing world and include science and technology, financial literacy, healthy living, enrivronmental leadership and global citizenship. There is nothing Boy Scouts can offer girls that Girl Scouts hasn’t already been doing for decades.

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