2017 is wrapping up in a crappy way, especially when it comes to American culture. Lately, every issue that creeps up reeks with ambiguity. This happens to be the case with the recent Boy/Cub Scout announcement that soon girls will be allowed. So, what’s the truth here?
Yes – as children go back to school next year, girls can elect to join the Boy/Cub Scouts of America. However, in theory, girls will have their own scouting group. That is . . . unless a current Boy/Cub Scout den elects to allow girls. I know this sounds ambiguous and perhaps confusing because it is and unnecessarily so.
Recently the Cub Scouts were “thrilled” to announce that beginning in 2018 girls can join the program. In addition, by 2019 girls will be able to advance all the way to Eagle Scout. On cue, wild speculation and outrage took over, but, for kicks, let’s look at the facts of what this traditionally known boys’ program is trying to do here.
The main claim is a focus on the family and core principles of scouting which benefit everyone. As to that argument, who could disagree? Scouting is a family event. My son and his father attend biweekly den meetings during the school year to earn achievement badges and they camp with the group quarterly. These activities serve as excellent bonding experiences. When Dad isn’t available, I step in as needed. My son loves scouting and is reminded constantly of the organization’s core values that scouts are “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” All youth would benefit from chanting and practicing this mantra.
If we stop here, almost everyone could agree that girls joining the Cub Scout program is a positive. However, the organization doesn’t stop here. It goes on to make the argument that research “indicates boys and girls together at the Cub Scout age in a nurturing environment have more benefits than single gender.” Funny thing, though. No research is cited; no further explanation given.
At the Cub Scout age, boys differ greatly than girls in their play and styles of learning. Most parents realize this and are probably curious as to how it would benefit blending the two sexes in scouting activities. Now, this is just me thinking aloud, but it’s almost as if with a wink and a nod, the organization is giving credence to advocates who push gender equality, while completely denying biology (i.e. those of the mindset that boys and girls are essentially born genderless and can choose which sex they want to be).
In the next breath, the organization attempts to placate parents who don’t buy into gender-bender Unicornism theories, those who might possibly think of abandoning Cub and Boy Scouts altogether. Yes, girls may join the organization next year but no they will not necessarily be co-scouting with boys. After just claiming research indicates benefits to boys and girls scouting together, it acknowledges the following:
“There is research that shows strong single-gender benefits . . . so we want to provide options with what best meets their needs. When girls join Cub Scouting in fall 2018, packs may welcome them right away. An existing pack may choose to recruit girls or remain an all-boy pack.”
Another blanket statement given not backed by actual research, preceding the logic of choices given.
Basically, if specific dens are of the He-Man Woman-Hatin’ kind, girls will not be welcomed. This deflects responsibility to a specific den and its leaders (parents) to tell the girls they aren’t allowed and to create their own. But . . . they did create their own – Brownies and Girl Scouts. Which leads to a more interesting question . . . has the girls’ version of scouting degraded to the point where girls no longer wish to belong? Possibly, but let’s save that discussion for another day.
The more relevant issue is what will happen in 2018 in smaller communities where a handful of boys sign up for scouting along with the one girl who wishes to join them. Imagine the fireworks when she’s told she can’t join her local “He-Man Woman Hater’s Club” and doesn’t have the numbers to form a girl’s-only den. Cue the misogyny-laced accusations and bullying tactics to force that den to welcome a girl.