Let the boys be Boy Scouts.
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In light of the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow girls to join the ranks of Boy Scouts many of us are now faced with the decision of what to do next. While it's evident there are many who are in support of this decision, I believe there is a silent majority who oppose and wish to reverse this issue to return the scout organization to its former self. My hope is this petition finds its way to you and others to channel our voices into one.
When the issue first arose I tried to understand and see the benefit of this decision. As a father of a three boys and a girl, I understand the perspective of wanting your child to have or share some of the experiences and lessons learned in Boy Scouts; whether it's the camaraderie, the moral lessons, or travels we get to be involved in. I recognize why a person would want their daughter to be a part of this organization. I would also want my daughter to be treated fairly and equally with those of the opposite gender, so I do understand the thought behind the decision. I ask that before you label every person who doesn't agree with girls being in Boy Scouts as ignorant, sexist, or close minded, that perhaps you take a minute to try to understand our stance on this issue.
As a Den Leader, Scout Master, and parent with two Boy Scouts and one Cub Scout, our family takes pride in being part of this organization. As any leader from either side of this fence will agree, when you choose to be a part of this, it can easily require a lot of time, energy, and focus. All of which we gladly surrender to watch our boys evolve into young men. We have the ability to consult with fellow leaders and volunteers from all walks of life to shape our Troop and/or Den to benefit all of those involved. This unique experience for young boys allows them the opportunity to act funny, or serious, develop bonds, and ultimately help them become young men. We are able to help facilitate this growth by simply giving them an avenue or space where they're unplugged from the normal day to day distractions, such as video games, cell phones, TV, and yes....girls.
Now lets all be grown ups for a moment and recognize that our genetic make up of the two genders is significantly different than the other. There is no denying that girls mature faster than boys and as boys get older they act differently around girls, which happens to be around the ages of Boy Scouts. I firmly believe a typical Troop meeting or scout outing allows the young man a chance to come into his own, if you will. He's not trying to be cool or put on some act to catch the eye of another. He is simply surrounded by his peers, some older and some younger, and the lessons he learns here we pray benefit him later in life. I strongly believe to learn these life skills in an environment where the pressure of the opposite sex could be present is risky and avoidable. As parents of boys, most of us realize they tend to be quite curious of many things, especially their sexuality. Due to hormones and puberty it hits us all at different times, but the 11-17 age group the Boy Scout program was designed to target pretty well encapsulates most of us at that stage. We've all heard the saying "don't throw gas on a fire." I have no doubts the recent change will be the proverbial "gas" some of us will now be forced to deal with in the name of increased memberships.
How will a camp out work? As a leader, if we take our now coed Troop out on a camp out, Johnny and Susie disappear without the knowledge of a leader, and Susie comes home pregnant at 16, then what does that open leaders up to or one of the scouts to from a legal perspective? If I have a 17 year old boy who walks over to a tree in the woods to relieve himself and turns around because of a noise behind him, only to accidentally expose himself to a 12 year old girl scout, then the young scout tells her parent(s) she saw the older boys private area, and parents flip out, then that young mans life could ruined because he simply had to use the bathroom. I realize these are extreme and hopefully rare circumstances, but can you deny they could happen?
It sincerely does not help that the organization has decided to implement and advertise its new venture without first asking a large majority of currently active Den Leaders and Scout Masters their thoughts on these changes or educating them in ways in which to deal with it. When first announced at the Cub Scout level we were told we had the option of remaining an all boy pack or we could choose to recruit girls. The BSA has since released a statement that they will have information in place for the Troop level in 2019, which leaves those of us in the Troop in the dark and uninformed as to what may be required from us in terms of leadership.
I believe there is a place for girls who want to be a part of Boy Scouts. The BSA organization has the opportunity to create a sensible program that would have allowed these young women to participate in the group as their own Troop. The easiest path though was to simply remove the "Boy" from Boy Scouts and open the doors to all, with little regard of the consequences. I believe if we continue down this path, all of those individuals who sat at the table and implemented this decision should be solely and personally responsible for any fallout and litigation that may arise from it.
They have done a fantastic job of selling this to the masses as "we are going to include everyone," when in all actuality they have placed your Den Leaders, Troop Leaders, and sons in harms way to simply increase memberships and their bottom line. Lets pump the brakes on this and develop a plan to include girls into the program as an independent unit. So that we can just let the boys be Boy Scouts.
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