Editor’s Note: We offer another article from the Gentleman Adventurer, Adam Piggott.
The news that the Boy Scouts of America have unanimously decided to begin admitting girls into the organisation from 2018 has been repeatedly described as being an historic decision. Particularly surprising is the use of this term by Australian media because the decision is not historic within the scouting movement at all. Scouting Australia began admitting girls in 1971, which coincidentally was the high water mark for membership numbers. It’s all been downhill since then.
(So much for recruiting girls being a way to halt membership decline.)
Over at Ace of Spades, Ace expressed dismay at the decision but retained some hope of things not being all bad:
This isn’t as bad as it may seem. While the Scouts will admit girls, each particular den will be all-boys or all-girls. (Or mostly; I assume there will be whatever-gender-you-identify-as-this-month caveat.)
One only has to look at the state of Scouting Australia to be able to peer into the future to catch a glimpse of what awaits the scouting movement in the USA. Unfortunately for Ace, his optimism is unfounded.
Here is a video from The Australian Boy Scouts Association. The film was made in 1971, the same year that the scouts not only began admitting girls but also changed its name to The Scout Association of Australia, which is kind of a prerequisite if you plan to admit girls. Note the high level of discipline, formality, group ethos, companionship, and actual team work.
The seeds for the association’s demise, however are prevalent in the film. Note the number of women involved in the behind the scenes aspect of the association. There can be little doubt as to where the push to admit girls originated.
Contrast this film with one produced by Scouts Australia in 2012, (lots of name changing goes on when an organisation strays so far from its original concept).
Girls are in substantial numbers in this particular troop. There is no division between a scout troop being all girls or boys as Ace hopes will occur in the USA. The extra manpower and facilities required to make such a proposition function will be quickly used as an excuse to merge the two sexes, as was done in Australia.
But what is particularly evident in the film is the lack of any type of discipline, formality, ritual, or leadership. The two films may as well show two completely different organisations that have nothing to do with one another. Gone is the pride of being in a scout group. The scout leader doesn’t even wear the scout uniform himself when meeting with his troop, let alone require his charges to wear it.
In the film there are flashbacks to when the troop had an “uncool” leader. These flashbacks show the troop in uniform. The present day shots are of the troop without the uniform. The inference is that the uniform itself is not cool or even necessary. The old leader is shown being incapable of understanding the very basics of the scouting ethos. It seems to be lost on the filmmakers that such an individual would have had to have been approved by the organisation itself, thus making Scouts Australia complicit in appointing substandard troop leaders.
If you think that the film is not indicative of the general malaise, a simple glance at the website of Scouts Australia should suffice to reassure you the that rot is deep and far reaching. The prominent photo on the home page is the following, an advertisement for the scout shop.
In the USA scouts can remain with the organisation in a membership role until the age of 20. In Australia the age has been extended to 25. Perhaps in the future scouts will be octogenarians. There is a good reason why the age is being steadily increased, and it is not just to compensate for the rapidly declining membership.
The Boy Scouts used to be a significant rite of passage for males in a modern society that had seen a decline in such opportunities due to the rise in general living standards. But now with its complete perversion by progressive doctrine and the feminine imperative, the scouting movement no longer offers such a rite of passage. In fact, one could even argue that it achieves the opposite: it infantilises boys.
(To understand just how much SJW progressivism has infected the movement, Scouts Australia recently released a new policy requiring scout leaders to treat members by their preferred gender. This means that a boy can simply declare that he is a girl, not have to wear a dress or anything, and he gets to sleep in the girl’s tent.)
The second video shows a scout troop leader completely divorced of being able to show any leadership or guidance for boys to be able to transition into the role of young men. A decision to ban smoking is taken by the troop themselves without any input from their supposed leader. While the more innocent of you may well surmise that this is a fine example of empowering youngsters to come to their own decisions, it is the process itself which is disturbing. The issue of smoking today is unfortunately one without any grey area; it is an exceptionally simple decision.
But just because young people are able to make a correct decision in such a clear and easy example does not mean that they will be similarly successful in areas that are not so clearly defined. The scout leader does not even get to decide on a suitable punishment for breaking this new rule. The kids themselves decide, (a girl, of course), who then corrects the adult troop leader when he suggests an unsuitable method of communicating the punishment.
In other words, the leadership of the troop has been completely inverted, which ultimately means that there is no leadership at all.
The first video from 1971 ends with a scene of an enormous scout meeting somewhere in Australia. A speech is made and at the end the scouts celebrate by cheering and throwing aloft their hats. The camera pans over the large crowd of scout members as the sun begins to set on the day. The majority of those members did not know or understand just how badly their own leadership was at that moment failing the very organisation whose charge they had been entrusted with.
This is what awaits the scouting movement in the USA. An organisation betrayed and hollowed out from the inside, a shabby reminder of what once was, and ultimately a clear embarrassment to everyone concerned. But more than that; a failure of boys and our future men.
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This is an excellent depiction of what BSA will become after admitting girls into the program. I have over 50 years registered Scouting experience as a youth and as a leader and have seen the ebb and flow as the National BSA attempted to become part of the perceived changes to society. This is an appeasement to Liberals which will not end well. Our boys will suffer and the girls will suffer. Society will suffer the loss of Boy Scouting’s influence in developing strong, independent, and resilient men. This American experiment with Scouting will end just as Australia’s, not well.
For Boy Scout units to be successful, in my humble but experienced opinion, they need to focus on outdoor activities and field skills. Few girls are interested in rough and often arduous outdoor hikes and primitive camping. Few parents of teenage girls want their daughters camping in the wilds with boys. So Scouting for boys when girls are mixed in will lose the outdoor emphasis that it has always had. Putting pubescent and hormone raging boys and girls into the same organization which is intended to be youth led will become a nightmare for adult supervision and will destroy the unique experiences needed by boys being around other men than their fathers that helps them become men. Co-ed units will become like a school club or perhaps a church youth group with no real involvement between boys and men for the boys to learn from and emulate. Behaviors of boys and girls change when the other sex is nearby. The loss of face that teen boys fear in the presence of girls will limit the boys and it will certainly encourage unnecessary bravado/risk taking by boys trying to impress the girls. Girls may suffer as well from intimidation or natural coyness from attempting adventurous activities with boys present.
Mixing girls and boys who are under eleven years of age in the Cub Scout programs will not cause too many problems or loss of membership since Cub Scouting is more family activity oriented which are and have been adult lead. And as shown by numerous Explorer Scout units, which have been co-ed for 30+ years, are groups focused on a career field (medical, fire service, broadcast media, law enforcement are typical) or particular interest (such as Revolutionary War Re-enactment, ham radio, high adventure climbing or boating) have been successful to a limited degree. We are talking of less than 2% of total available youths who participate in Exploring programs. Even so, a large percentage of boys in Exploring units maintain membership in their Boy Scout troop to continue advancement to Eagle, leadership opportunities or to enjoy outdoor activities not available through their Explorer post.
I want my grandchildren to be Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, not Co-ed Scouts. I know what these programs did for me, my brothers, my peers in school and my two sons, both Eagle Scouts. I saw what Girl Scouts did for my sisters, their peers and for my nieces. These programs worked well and it is foolish to destroy either by attempting to merge them. In this case the whole will not be stronger than the parts…
I have generously supported Scouting in our Council area with significant donations over the past 30 years, but no more. Any money I donate will be only to my town’s Troop, or the local scout units of my grandchildren.