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UL Scouting for Girls
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Mireille Halley
(tinyscrafts) - F - MLife

Locale: So Cal
boys vs girls on 04/29/2010 22:48:52 MDT Print View

I'd agree the girl scouts is much less outdoorsy than the boys. Sad really. My 11 yo dd has to go on a "backyard campout" next weekend to "trial run" for the overnight campout at the KOA/resort place they picked. "but they can still use the bathroom and kitchen" LOL she's not too excited and I don't blame her...

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: boys vs girls on 04/29/2010 23:49:21 MDT Print View

This is the reason I've never had my kids involved in either (I have a 6 year old daughter and 8 year old son).

My son was the first to comment that he didn't think that the activities for his age level sounded very challenging and I know for a fact that my daughter is pretty well beyond the girl's activities for her age group.

I've had them both climbing outside on toprope since age 4-5, both have been backpacking numerous times (even in snow), and we already hike/fish/mountain bike together quite a bit. We'll also be camping for about a month straight this summer...as they have since birth.
Not to be cocky, but I'm not seeing what either the boy or girl scouts would offer them in the way of outdoor skills at this point. In fact, I think it would seem quite tame compared to their previous experiences.

Is it a liability issue or simply a matter of not having leaders willing to push harder activities? Would you be allowed to push for more?

Acronym Esq
(acronym.esq) - F

Locale: TX
Re: Re: boys vs girls on 04/30/2010 00:06:58 MDT Print View

> Is it a liability issue or simply a matter of not having leaders willing to push harder activities? Would you be allowed to push for more?

The stated purpose of the BSA is to teach moral and physical fitness, character, citizenship, and leadership. Outdoor activities are only one of many (8?) methods of teaching those things.

The BSA is not the program to teach your kid to live in the woods. The BSA molds young men into responsible adults. If your son can light a matchless fire and tie a square knot with his eyes closed, he is not an eagle scout.

It sounds to me like your outdoor gifted son has a lot to offer the BSA as far as raw skills, but the BSA has much more to offer him.

acronym 4/30/2010 1:05 AM

edit: fixed spelling so I don't look like a chump. 4/30/2010 11:50 AM

Edited by acronym.esq on 04/30/2010 10:50:38 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: boys vs girls on 04/30/2010 00:22:55 MDT Print View

I'd hardly call my kids "outdoor gifted". They're just kids, we just try to do a lot. I trust them and I try not to be too conservative in what I expose them to. I think kids are resilient and often capable of far more than they're allowed to do or given credit for.

I guess you just nailed the main reason we're not involved in these groups- I think we're all more interested in the outdoor activities. I'm not saying scouts have nothing to teach- far from it- I just don't know if the focus is on what my kids are interested in.

As for leadership and creating "responsible adults", it's just not something we're looking for, at least not in the scouts.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Student Conservation Association on 04/30/2010 00:47:27 MDT Print View

Several people have suggested groups such as NOLS and Outward Bound. Both are very worthy groups, and I will chime in with another group, albeit with a slightly different mission.

One area that fueled my sister's interest in the outdoors as a teen (to her credit, she got me involved in backpacking many years ago) was a summer stint with the Student Conservation Association (www.thesca.org)

As part of a volunteer National Conservation Crew, she traveled to Idaho to build trails for six weeks with other 15- to 19-year-olds lead by one or more crew leaders.

The SCA is an organization that's been around for more than 50 years, sending teens into national parks, wilderness, and other federally protected lands doing a bunch of the work that we, as backpackers, often enjoy.

The cost is pretty nominal - there is a small application fee and on top of that, a plane ticket to wherever she is sent (they generally try to get kids to go to a different part of the country). The application process makes allowances by the experience of the applicant - in my sister's case, she had back country experience and they sent her deeper into the woods. My friend’s son, on the other hand, had little experience in the woods and was sent to work on trails at Cumberland Gap National Historic Park.

I don't know if you can make a kid enjoy the outdoors. But I do know my sister still speaks glowingly of the SCA. I ran across a group from the SCA last summer building trails in the Desolation Wilderness (pretty good gig, huh?) and I got a chance to visit with them for a while and thank them for their work. Most of the kids seemed to enjoy the opportunity to spend their summer with others their age. Most were enthusiastic about the woods and camping. The summer of volunteer work, while demanding, gave them a great sense of accomplishment while introducing them to the outdoors.

Dirk

Edited by dirk9827 on 04/30/2010 00:57:37 MDT.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
religious organization, exclusive on 04/30/2010 13:41:42 MDT Print View

I don't know about national BSA policy, but yes my troop says the pledge of allegiance to the flag, which mentions "under God". So does my Rotary club. I have heard a prayer or two in our activities, but not very often.

Our troop leader (scoutmaster) is chosen by the parents who are on the troop committee. The BSA doesn't have any idea whom we select. I can't think of any scout parents in our troop who are homosexual, so its not really an issue. We don't recruit outside the troop for scoutmaster. Not having a homosexual scoutmaster is the least of my worries, and not even a particular goal of mine.

Scouts is a great way to get kids out in the outdoors. We have a coed Venture crew also. They do whatever kinds of trips the kids want to do. I know they are going to a BSA scuba camp in Florida, and plan to climb Mt. Borah this summer. They did a 50 miler in Canyonlands over Spring break.

I'd check into Venture crews for a fun outdoor group for girls. Be careful, she'll probably have to say the pledge of allegiance and won't have homosexual leadership. Are there a lot of homosexuals wanting to be scoutmasters of boy scout troops?

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
troops with different programs on 04/30/2010 13:47:52 MDT Print View

The activities of a troop are determined by the scouts, their parents, and the scoutmaster. Some are car camping troops, others are more backpacking troops. One guy who wants to upgrade from car camping to backpacking can make a difference, if some other parents want to do it also and help him. I have led a change in our troop in that direction, and now our boys are pretty competent at backpacking type trips. It took about 3 years, but our calendar is mostly backpacks now. See our troop blog at

http://boisetroop100.wordpress.com/

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
homosexual volunteers on 04/30/2010 13:53:32 MDT Print View

As an adult scout volunteer, nobody has ever asked me my sexual orientation, nor is it on the application for membership for adults. I don't know how anyone would know a person is an atheist or agnostic unless they got on a soapbox and broadcast their views.

We have had childless male adults go to a few meetings and trips. They were closely watched on the trips, and when they found out the rules forbid them being alone with a kid, ever, they went away.

James Patsalides
(james@patsalides.com) - MLife

Locale: New England
re: UL Scouting for Girls on 04/30/2010 14:51:42 MDT Print View

Bob et al,
Since the GIRL scouts of usa does not agree on the whole "homosexuals, atheists and agnostics" stance taken by BSA, I would say we should all put our soap boxes away about that and focus on options for the OP which are actually relevant...

To the OP,
You could consider the teenage trail crews managed by clubs like the Appalachian Mountain Club here in the Northeast (or other similar volunteer organizations around the country). I know several of the trail crew leaders (men & women) in the AMC - most of them are graduates of the teen programs they now run.

My experience is that these are really astonishing people. Amazing work ethic, wise beyond their years, experienced in the backcountry, focused on "leave no trace/outdoor ethics", and really excellent models of humble leadership. The programs are also doing something positive for the outdoors community.

Just my 2cs... I think it might be worth investigating for your daughter. Good luck!

Peace, James.

brian talbert
(brian_crypto) - F
Consider 4-H on 06/04/2010 14:33:29 MDT Print View

Sorry to chime in a bit late to the subject, but just came across the thread. I thought I would put in a plug for 4-H. They have many different project opportunities for members, ranging from rocketry to backpacking along with the more traditionally thought of agricultural programming. And they have a framework that allows you to organize and create your own clubs/groups with very specific purposes in mind.

I lead an "Outdoor Adventures" group which does have specific curriculum which advances from hiking to camping to backpacking, but we also throw in a mix of rock climbing, kayaking, etc. It's flexible enough to become what you want it to become and you might already have a group organized in your area. They are typically part of a university or county extension program.

Matti West
(Onslow) - F
Australian perspective on 03/14/2011 21:06:22 MDT Print View

Move down under, scouting is co-ed here.

I grew up in Boy Scouts and have to say that girls in scouts was a bit strange at first but it can work.

On the weekend I had 10 scouts go on a hike and 8 were girls! Our troop is made up 50% of girls, this is pretty high compared to the norm but it really can enhance a troop if you have the right female leaders

Wesley Witt
(weswitt)

Locale: Northwest
Re: homosexual volunteers on 06/10/2011 11:02:42 MDT Print View

There are no atheist scouts; adults or youth. The BSA requires a belief in a higher power, but does not stipulate any specific religion. In the oath you swear to "do you duty to God" and the 12th point of the scout law is reverence. None of this is possible for an atheist. If a scout is an atheist then he is lying every time he takes the oath. A scoutmaster and/or committee could not advance a scout who is an atheist.

In terms of homosexuality you're right that it is not on any application or specifically part of the scout oath or law, but the BSA does not allow it. If it is discovered that a leader is homosexual that leader will be removed and in fact this has gone to Supreme Court. The BSA policy states that homosexuality is inconsistent with the scout oath and law and will not allow an avowed homosexual to be a registered member of the BSA. With the current changes in training and the requirements for having trained, registered leaders on outings this means that an avowed homosexual cannot go on outings with the unit.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: UL Scouting for Girls on 06/10/2011 12:00:04 MDT Print View

In this day and age, it's not altogether difficult to start your own, if your daughter has friends that are as interested in being challenged outdoors as well.

Start a local Meetup group for that purpose. Have your daughter spread the word through her Facebook page. Get a couple of other parents interested as well. Consult an attorney for a good liability waiver.

And then have fun.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: UL Scouting for Girls on 06/10/2011 12:43:55 MDT Print View

Get a couple of other parents interested as well.

Absolutely essential.

Consult an attorney for a good liability waiver.

Yes, and also consult with your insurance agent about how to add a sizable umbrella liability policy without breaking your budget.

Koby Morrow
(TWOMORROWS) - F
Re: UL Scouting for Girls on 06/30/2011 14:25:00 MDT Print View

Girl Scouts can be just as challenging and outdoorsy as BSA. You need to find a Troop that camps often (contact your local council). Girl Scouts handle summer camping differently than the boys. Girls register for camps that they are interested in i.e. horseback riding, backpacking, sailing.

Check out the following link the Houston Texas council and look at the different themes they offer at their 3 different camps.
http://www.gssjc.org/residentcamp/index.htm
and their camp catalog
http://www.gssjc.org/residentcamp/docs/rcg2011.pdf

In addition the council has an Interest Group exclusive for backpacking:
http://www.gssjc.org/program/programactivities.cfm

I know BSA troops who seldome go outdoors....I know Girl Scout Troops who camp monthly....it is all in the leader and what the children and parents want.

Good Luck

Carl Holt
(Sundown) - F
Re: UL Scouting for Girls on 07/03/2011 11:49:48 MDT Print View

Starting off, I spent 3 years as a District Executive for a large Boy Scout Council and can tell you that individual troop leadership makes all the difference.

Now that applies to Girl Scouts as well. I've had my daughter in it for a number of years and the leaders can influence whether it is an "inside" or "outside" type troop.

IMHO - scouting (boys or girls) is a great program and the outdoors is one component if it (very important but still only one part). Ask to visit some local troops (if your daughter has some friends in various ones) just to check it out. You (or in conjunction with other parents) could always offer to be the "High Adventure" people and organize some of the activities if the normal troop leadership either doesn't feel comfortable or know what to do.

We are having that very discussion right now with my daughter's troop. My daughter came home from resident camp and raved about the group that just came back from "backpacking camp" where they spent 2 weeks in New Mexico. She asked immediately if she could go.

The outdoors is a tremendous place for kids to learn and have fun. Good luck in whatever you decide.

Matti West
(Onslow) - F
Atheists in scouts on 08/04/2011 23:50:50 MDT Print View

Looking from an Aussie perspective:

Wesley is right in that Scouts do swear to "do my duty to MY God". The important part is My God. Why? Well a young person will have a fluid view of god and what this means. Some will think that the literal Bible God is real, some Allah, some Ganesha and some will even point to physics as their God.

All Scouting asks of you is that you acknowledge there is something beyond this mortal realm, it does not have to be any flavour that is approved. I have had scouts that will say they "worship" nature, they may well be atheists if pressed but they are still struck by the awe that is nature.

Sexuality in Australia is not an issue at all. We simply don't care but then again we are the country that has a female, atheist, living in sin. childless and red headed Prime Minister!

All I will say that ANYONE who is overtly sexual in Scouting will be shown the door. This applies to anyone....

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
backpacking for girls on 08/05/2011 13:15:32 MDT Print View

I guess there is not an organization like Boy Scouts for girls. Too bad, maybe someone should start one.

I would definitely avoid scouts, because they say "God" at least once at each meeting (in the pledge of allegiance), and because they don't have a ggay scoutmaster to take young boys camping and impart useful social skills. Plus to be an Eagle Scout you have to acknowledge some sliver of belief in or possibility of existence, however vague, of a supreme being. Plus each time they say the scout oath, they swear to be "reverent" of all things. How can they be reverent without a ggay scoutmaster taking young boys out in the woods for learning manly outdoor skills? Sounds like hateful close minded fanatic religious fundamentalists to me. We should close our public lands to them.

Michael Sagehorn
(msagehorn) - F
Sonless with daughters on 08/06/2011 22:17:27 MDT Print View

I have a son and have been a Scoutmaster and an outdoor educator for near 15 years. Early in my career, I knew very little about girls or young women. I grew up with brothers, played sport, hiked, fished, and lived in the mountains and valleys of California

I'm a teacher and have incorporated camping, snowshoeing, and local natural history in my teaching practice. My class-California History is popular among young Latinas. I have taken them camping and hiking to historic sites and they have always enjoyed themselves. I make sure they have access to water, good food (which they prepare themselves), and good equipment-warm bags, tents with rain and bug protection, and warm clothes. I have also given them plenty of time to relax-sled down a hill, gossip in their tents at night, and enjoy the delight of chocolate, marshmellows, and crackers.

We treat young women in American society with a weird set of gloves. American women are far tougher and stronger than the Hollywood and New York fashion set leads us to believe. Girls enjoy the freedom of outdoor activities and what educators must do is incorporate more outdoor experiences in public education.

Roger Heward
(green1) - F

Locale: Alberta, Canada
Canada on 10/28/2011 22:26:31 MDT Print View

Here in Canada Scouting is a little more open and accepting. Scouts Canada has been completely Co-ed for 10 years or so (no group is allowed to exclude girls) and was partially co-ed 10 years before that (groups could allow girls at their discretion) Scouts Canada has programs for youth of both genders aged 5-26 (Beavers through to Rovers) As of this year Scouts Canada officially accepts Atheists (unofficially they have for quite a while), and I know several openly homosexual scouting members.

As for what they get to do... well that depends on the group and the leaders, I have seen groups that are no more than an indoor soccer league, and others that push the boundaries of all sorts of outdoor activities from hiking and camping to rock climbing and caving, to sailing and scuba diving, and all sorts of other things.

The general rule of thumb is that Beavers and Cubs (ages 5-7 and 8-10) are adult led, Scouts (ages 11-13 (sometimes 14)) are adult led, with good groups allowing substantial input from the youth (especially the older ones) and Venturers and Rovers (ages 14-17 and 18-26) are completely youth run (My old Venturer advisor described his role as keeping it legal, moral, and non-fattening...)