“co-ed” inclusive scouting

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.

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Serving others and getting out and see stuff.  It’s what being a Rover Scout is all about. (Trail location – near Berea College, Berea, KY).

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.

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Scout Law

It’s autumn.  It’s time for scouting.  Let us hike, make knots and figure out how to survive in the cold together! You can learn to do this by being a Scout.

Lord Baden-Powell (BP) is credited for starting the scouting movement.  The following Scout Law is taken from the 1908 edition of Scouting for Boys.  It’s important to understand that this is the traditional scouting law as envisioned by BP.

The BPSA-US is a traditional scouting organization.  And it’s inclusive; so regardless of your sex, how you identify, religious or not, or even if you’re an adult (like me – BP wanted adult Rover Scouts), you can be a Scout with BPSA-US.  But the BPSA-US improved upon the idea of ‘traditional scouting’ making it inclusive, without all the colonial and other unfriendly trappings of Victorian Era scouting.

Traditional Scout Law 

  1. A Scout’s honor is to be trusted.
  2. A Scout is loyal.
  3. A Scout’s duty is be useful and to help others.
  4. A Scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout.
  5. A Scout is courteous.
  6. A Scout is a friend to animals.
  7. A Scout obeys orders.
  8. A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties.
  9. A Scout is thrifty.
  10. A Scout is clean in thought, word, and deed. 

 

The BPSA-US is not affiliated with the BSA or Girl Scouts.  Despite not being affiliated, we are all fellow scouters.

 

Interesting thoughts on inclusivity

Unaware that BPSA-US has a forum? Interesting thoughts posted there about inclusivity and what it means to the BPSA-US and traditional scouting.

Getting along with your neighbors, is, at a minimum, an excellent ‘good will’ ethic, and the most minimalistic ethic of “love your neighbor as yourself” of Matthew 22:39. The intent behind the Christian ethic is a much higher calling than mere tolerance.

 

LNT vs. Bushcraft

Call me naive but I didn’t realize there was a conflict between Leave No Trace hiking & camp ethic vs. ‘Bushcraft’. Hmm.

Gotta ask why one humanist view is ‘right’ over the other. Who says? Does a democratic vote determine one ethic over the other?

To be consistent with the Lord Baden-Powell view of scouting I presume this requires a bit of study.

16 mile hike – clarification on how to do it

The consensus I see forming about this hike specified in the Rover Handbook is that you should do the hike to the ‘best of your ability’.

If you can, you should carry a typical hiking load with enough gear to spend a night on the trail.

But what if a load and foothills doesn’t mix too well with your ability? Ah, that is the question. So the answer is: do your best.

The goal is to get outdoors! Enjoy nature and being a scout.

It was suggested that if weight in a pack, etc are a bit much, it would be ok to leave some of it behind.  A commissioner jumped in and said physical boundaries and disabilities shouldn’t prevent somebody from earning a badge.  After all, the BPSA is about inclusion.  Scouting should be for everyone and is in the BPSA.

 

The Hobbit

So it appears that I dissent with Sir Baden-Powell regarding tobacco, pipes & pipe tobacco specifically.  J.R.R. Tolkien, Bilbo, and Gandolf are kindred spirits in this regard.