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Changes In Scouting

One would like to think that changes to principles, process, or programs are targeted to better serve the target audience of an organization. Advances in technology increase processing speed and power. Improvements in management techniques or coaching lead to more productive teams.

Unfortunately, not all change is good and many serve to impede achievement of the organization's mission. The recent decision by the Boy Scouts rescinding their exclusion of openly gay Scouts is one such example.

For those unfamiliar, the Scouting program is focused on development of young boys into men. As a key component of its goals to instill leadership skills into America's young men, the program is youth-led. Adults guide and coach the boys, but a main principle is providing opportunity for boys to lead other boys.

This simple fact leads to one of the key fallacies of this decision.

No rational person would put 16-17 year old boys in authority relationships and close sleeping / showering quarters with 11-12 year old girls. No one would even suggest this as a good idea. Frankly, very few would even consider the alternative (16-17 year old girls in the same situation with 11-12 year old boys)!

Scouting's model has worked successfully to develop character and maturity for over 100 years. This decision is not congruent with and creates unneeded risks / problems in that program. This does nothing to improve the program and creates more constraints trying to deal with situations that a program for boys should have no involvement.

The Boy Scouts of American should reverse this decision.

Note: Discussion of the BSA continued ban for gay adults is a red herring. For nearly a decade, adults have not been allowed to sleep in Scout's tents or shower in the same facilities as Scouts. In situations where adults are interacting with Scouts, there must be line-of-sight for other boys and adults as protection for both the Scouts and their adult leaders.


Sure this will not be the last chartering organization to make this decision. Can we expect the political activists to pick up the slack?