Tradition vs. Progress

Tradition vs. Progress

Susan Neuhalfen, Writer and Editor for Argyle Living,
Lantana Living and Lake Cities Living
972.899.3637 Ex. 101

I recently attended an open meeting where the Boy Scouts discussed including girls in their program starting as Cub Scouts. (They currently include girls in coed programs such as Venturing starting at age 14).

Their numbers are down. They have been for a long time due to the increase of sports and other extra-curricular activities. The more recent decline is due to the loss of organizations that don’t support their decision on allowing transgender youth to join. The LDS church as well as many other conservative churches are pulling their attendance and starting their own organizations as a result. BSA is looking for ways in which to increase their numbers and so they are looking at their target audience. The target audience is telling them to include the whole family.

I was a Cub Scout leader from Tiger to Webelos. All of our campouts included families: little sisters, little brothers, moms and dads. Some non-BSA kids participated, some didn’t. BSA believes if they start a program where the girls may advance as well, earning belt loops and merit badges, the entire organization will benefit.

The phrase “separate but equal” kept coming up in conversation. They are going to keep the girls in their own area at camp and in their own troops but come together for certain activities. Unless there are as many girls joining as boys, that really won’t be possible.

As a woman, I believe that if a woman does a job on an equal level to a man, she should be compensated for that. On the other hand, I’ve seen the growth that my son has made in scouts and the camaraderie among the boys, and I have a hard time believing that this can be achieved with girls in the mix. When boys reach the ages of 11-14 they become awkward around girls, which would change the dynamic of the troop.

The discussion also included whether or not a girl may achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. If girls are allowed to follow the same path, it is inevitable.

So the question remains: is it progress to abandon tradition?

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