What a difference a day makes. The Czar commented only just yesterday about the mystery surrounding the Boy Scouts of America’s consideration of allowing girls to join, and here we are with a full decision to do so.
The Czar could summarize the reaction his local Muscovy troop (the boys, not the adults) had to yesterday’s announcement, but he doesn’t have to: GorT already has to a perfectly matched degree.
The move is extremely controversial, and so far nearly all the negative commentary the Czar has seen on social media seems to be from individuals with no affiliation to scouting whatsoever. Not to rehash GorT’s excellent summary of the decision—which you should read—but in an attempt to quash some myths, here are some items to understand:
- The changeover is not immediate. Cub Scouts will begin admitting all-girl packs in 2018 at a very early age level only. Boy Scouts (ages 11-17) will not be affected until at least 2019, and then only for ages 11. In short, the girls have to climb up as well.
- Because the structures of Girls Scouts and Cub/Boy Scouts are so fundamentally different, girl scouts should not expect that they can just leap over to the other organization. Badges will not carry over, so any parents thinking their 16-year-old daughter can just cross the street, as it were, and pick up an Eagle rank are extremely mistaken. Boy Scouts hasn’t said too much about the transition operationally, but has assured all members that the Eagle rank must be earned from the ground up. This is going to be a major hit to the thousands of parents who asked the BSA to enact the admission of girls to the ranks, because any girl over age 9-10 today will not be eligible for the Eagle. Sorry.
- As GorT said, packs (Cub Scouts) and troops (Boy Scouts) will not be integrated. The Czar has mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, it’s a great way to keep things moving efficiently. As GorT said, the younger scouts probably won’t feel comfortable with mixed gender packs (icky girls vs. stupid boys), and there will be inevitable sexual tension for older scouts. But on the other hand, this segregation is going to be hell to maintain. For example, if the girls here in Muscovy want to join Cub Scouts, they can’t join our existing pack so easily. They have to form their own “den” within the pack, or form their own pack entirely. If there aren’t enough girls to sustain a den, they’re going to have join another community’s pack or organization, or merge different all-girl packs—which isn’t easy since the more you travel, the less likely you stay in the organization. The Czar is curious as to how this will work, but not any more so than our local pack leader—who’s terrified of the politics that will result either way.
- The BSA knew this was coming; the Czar expects that the organization is much further along in its transition plans than it’s letting on: manuals, training tools, etc., are likely already well into updates to remove the boy-only references. This is a minor thing.
- The BSA has had girls in its programs since 1969. Contrary to the outlandish claims the Czar read this morning from a Girl Scouts of America spokesperson, the BSA is vastly better suited to accommodate the changeover than the other way around. Youth Protection Training (YPT), which is among the very best in any child-centered organization on Earth, already covers both genders. YPT trains adults not only how to spot signs of child physical, emotional, and sexual abuse from adults and other children, but even how to prevent false claims from malicious outsiders. It must be renewed every two years, and BSA monitors the status of every adult affiliated with BSA. As the Czar’s own expiration date nears, he will be bombarded with formal notifications that he either re-takes the training program or else sever all contact with the organization and its charges. Contrary to the charge in the press that allowing girls will increase child abuse, the Czar expects this to be a false concern.
- A major concern is the watering down of material. The BSA rarely changes its requirements, overall, but the comment has been fairly made that many military, law enforcement, and fire fighting training programs made the same claim—only to lower standards when women joined. Whether or not that’s had any real effect on net results it’s another argument, but the point is taken that time and again, blending genders inevitably affects requirements. Again, the Venture Scouts have allowed girls into the program since 1969, and this high-stakes, often-dangerous training program has not softened its core values. Probably that’s because scouting’s requirements depend more on psychology, determination, leadership, and personal drive more than physical performance. They have to—the BSA has a large percentage of members who are physically disabled. Scouts generally worry more about the mindset than physical ability, which is genderless. Let’s wait and see some concrete examples of watering down before we throw our hands up on this one.
- Finally, one repeated concern is that the liberals have totally taken over scouting, now, and this is the end of the BSA. This criticism has been around since probably the 1930s, and generally doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Most of this stems from the poorly managed allowance of gay leadership and transgender scouts, but guess how many gay leaders and transgender kids have joined scouts since this ban was lifted? The answer, as many of us predicted, is effectively none. Scouting, long a target of liberal hatred, still doesn’t appeal to liberals, who would have to pay money to join the organization, sit through monthly lectures on patriotism, service, and do-it-yourself attitudes, demonstrate reverence and piety to God in public, and promote a sense of inclusion. These aren’t lip-serviced guidelines, but are stipulated requirements. Boy Scouts remains a fundamentally libertarian organization, which is why it has survived so much political backlash over the decades. Sure, a liberal can join and subvert the organization from within, but it would take more work than liberals can usually tolerate.
On a related note, the Czar received this email from MM:
|Surely you understand that what’s causing the hissy fit by the Girl Scouts is that the Boy Scouts are not likely to teach any girls in their organization that abortions are the highest achievement for a female. Losses to such an organization will harm the Girl Scouts relations with “Planned Parenthood”, aka the “Baby Butchers”.|
There’s a lot to unpack in this letter. The Czar regrets to say that the Girl Scouts’ quoted responses to the decision are ill-conceived, factually incorrect, spurious, and overly dramatic. “Hissy fit,” yeah, could be a good way to describe it. The responses we’ve seen, either official or unofficial, are doing the Girls Scouts of America absolutely no good in terms of public relations.
The Czar has been monitoring the training material and actions of his local pack and troop for several years now, and abortion just doesn’t seem to come up as a subject—ever, assuming kids under 12-to-13-years of age even understand it that well. The Czar spotted a tweet yesterday that echoed a bit of what he’s heard over the years: a dad asked his daughter if she would be interested in joining Girl Scouts, but she replied in the negative, stating that all they do is have sleepovers and talk about abortion. That’s probably not the case (we understand Girl Scout troops vary wildly in what’s emphasized, just as with Boy Scouts), but that this is so widely repeated means the GSA has a serious PR problem on their hands prior to yesterday’s decision.
Now, to MM’s real statement: the Czar isn’t sure that any parent has openly stated that the GSA’s not-very-secret involvement with Planned Parenthood is driving them to the Boy Scouts. If so, the parents have kept that to themselves. What the BSA is hearing in huge amounts is that the GSA just isn’t offering the girls enough to keep them involved, whereas BSA does some pretty cool stuff.
But doubtless, there are political influences at work here, and parents might agree to MM’s statement as an “and anyway” statement: “We want Catelynne to benefit from a hard-earned Eagle rank, with all the grants and perks and everything that can come with that…and anyway, Boy Scouts won’t be pushing all that abortion talk.” That’s possibly quite true.
Girl Scouts of America isn’t going away anytime soon, thankfully. Nor does it need to—the Czar would have vastly preferred GorT’s solution—the BSA could help the GSA revamp its entire organization and program and make GSA the organization for girls 5-17. But it’s pretty clear the GSA doesn’t want to work or play well, based on its ill-tempered press releases.
But as the girls-oriented programs start up over the next several years in BSA, the GSA will be sorely hurt by this. Maybe its affiliation with Planned Parenthood and documented incorporation of pro-abortion materials in its training, along with its restructuring in the 1990s and 2000s to water-down material and eliminate religious belief, was not a good idea.
Perhaps it’s even too late. Time will tell, and that’s what the Czar advises everyone on the BSA decision. Let’s see what happens: we have many years to watch and wait.
GorT: go become a merit badge counselor.