REI: Our new commitment to the climate
The climate crisis is the greatest threat to the future of life outdoors. We’re committing...Read more
I’ve been a Boy Scout leader for a decade (Woodbadge trained). I have a 17 year old son who’s an Eagle Scout. Now my 13 year old daughter and I just joined a girl’a troop (Troop 28G) in Raleigh,NC. What and awesome experience for girls. It’s about time, Girlscouts just didn’t offer the same outdoors experiences that Scouting BSA offers. We’ve already been spelunking and now they are off to Summer Camp, doing everything the boys are doing. There are over 2300 girl troops and over 15,000 girls in Scouting BSA..just since February 2019.
I could not disagree more. Being a second-class BSA is no substitute for being the whole focus of the Girl Scout program. My Girl Scouts have gone rock climbing, backpacking, canoeing, and horseback riding, so it's not like they are just selling cookies. The problem is, girls are socialized to be "polite" and boys are socialized to be pushy. In mixed groups girls tend to hang back. By contrast in Girl Scouts the girls set the agenda and learn leadership and self-confidence. I hope that someday my Girl Scouts have the skills and confidence to be the leader themselves. I doubt that could ever happen if they were copying "everything the boys are doing" instead of learning to lead the way themselves.
For several years I taught Red Cross Avanced First Aid. one of my most gratifying experiences was instructing an Explorer Post with both ladies and guys -all active and involved and attentive. They were an excellent group.
In various contacts with BSA groups over the years, i have had varying results - some groups were great, and a few were ignorant and undisciplined, so pick your group carefully and pay attention to what is going on.
BSA isn't the only path to outdoor proficiency. At the very least, augment BSA with other approaches.
A ery formative experience for me when as a senior in college, I spent time searching for three Boy Scouts attempting to climb a local peak to celebrate birthdays, encountered a sudden snowstorm, and perished. Subsequent analysis revealed that they were essentially untrained and didn't know squat.
That led to decades as a olunteer SAR and a long career in the National Park Service, where again I witnessed tremendous variability within BSA groups. About all they had in common was the uniform.