A scouting friend of mine recently used the term “co-ed” outside of a scouting discussion. The movie Animal House immediately came to mind. Admittedly, I found his usage a bit dated, but nonetheless correct in its context. We’re both ‘old’ guys, so I at least got where he was going with it.
There has been a lot of talk about the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) dropping ‘boy’ from the name. They are going co-ed, much to the chagrin of the Girl Scouts. Personally speaking, I am mystified why in the first place as a country we didn’t do co-ed. I suspect there was more than just religious views of the day influencing the separation of the sexes, not sure. (Read Charles Taylor Gatto’s books for clues about this). There is a view of why separating boys and girls works ‘better’ for learning. I’m not sure I am on board with that for a host of reasons. At any rate, it is good that BSA will be more inclusive going forward. As fellow scouters I wish them well. However, the USA Today story accurately points out that there were co-ed scouting groups even prior to BPSA-US. They too are fellow scouters.
Originally I was attracted to BPSA-US because my daughters could participate with me (but their participation didn’t stick). However, BPSA-US follows the ‘traditional’ scouting model, which means that as a kid-at-heart I get to be a Rover Scout as Lord Baden-Powell intended all along. I continue to be a Scout. The “game of scouting” is a fun one. I mean, in the BSA to be an adult scout you have to be an administrator (perhaps it will change?), sometimes missing out on the trail fun. Learning by doing (and serving) is great for me somewhat due to my Aspergers. The same Pathfinder skills expected of the children are expected of me. Not all of those skills are so easy to learn I might add. Try starting a fire with iron and flint and see what I mean. (I found fellow Rovers were quite patient with me learning knots and camp craft at my Brownsea). I mean, who wants to just be an adult administrator when camping, woodcraft, and hiking are involved?
You can’t be good at everything as as an adult. But Rovering in scouting provides me a fun structure, be part of something bigger with like minded scouters (regardless of the hang-ups about sex, orientation, religion, etc). I like that. And I like that USA Today saw the value in reporting that too.