Troop Concepts Depend on Charter Organization Sponsors
Depending on the style of the troop women are sometimes told they can only serve on the troop committee, or in some clerical or support role only. That they are typically not welcome on campouts or hikes. Various excuses are given about having only male bonding, or privacy, but during the first few years our troop membership has observed these excuses have not been an issue. There have been bath and toilet facilities for both sexes wherever we camped and since wilderness camping does not occur immediately there is plenty of time for such a transition to male-only campouts.
Troop 333 adult leadership would like the active mothers out there who want to work closely with the scouts that the Boy Scouts of America® has no policy prohibiting women from leadership roles. BSA policy states that parents are allowed to go on Troop campouts no matter what gender. It also states the change in policy (1988) that women can be Scoutmasters or an Assistant Scoutmaster.
Ideas of exclusion are formed within the individual charter organizations (CO) that sponsor each boy scout troop, i.e. a church or civic group. For our homeschool troop we already have two moms out of five actively pursuing scoutmaster training. They will serve as assistant scoutmasters both at meetings and during camping trips, events, and hikes. One of the moms has lived in the country most her life and has a lot of core skills most men don’t. Another of the moms is a retired police officer from a metropolitan city, and has all the ability she needs to perform in any camping situation. We've unfortunately read about troops that lose credible, highly qualified leadership because they won't allow women to lead. This makes no sense to us.
In other groups, the idea of excluding female field leadership has been explained to our scoutmaster in the past as achieving distance between the scout and his mother. While we believe this idea does have merit in some sense, we also believe that most scouts and mothers are mature enough to maintain distance during trips where necessary according to the activity being performed.
Benefits of Active Female Leadership
One of the great benefits of having female leadership as scoutmasters is that they bring a wide range of skills where men are typically lacking. Most fathers do not sew, except in an emergency, and often don’t even do something as basic as cooking. It makes more sense to have seasoned assistant scoutmasters to demonstrate concepts and help with shopping, preparation, cooking to show new scouts how to tackle certain tasks on their first attempts. We do not believe in setting a scout up for failure due to lack of support. Most new scouts need help in learning how to budget, control food portions, buy the correct amount, and create balanced meals. We let the patrol do this as much as possible but where their skills end the adults can step in with advice and guidance. We have noticed that mothers are generally better at guiding younger scouts and handle interpersonal relationships, in fact, better than some men. Why wouldn’t we utilize those skills?
There are also troops where they don’t want any adult demonstrating methods and skills. While the ideal of boy-lead troops are wonderful at some most basic point the scouts that are going to be in leadership roles have to gain the knowledge and experience of how to execute tasks. There are many items just not covered in books. They require real world instruction. Often that means an adult showing everyone how to do something. Women are just as capable and depending on their background may be more so. We have one mom we know that was a girl scout leader and is a certified canoe instructor. Having such valuable help and not using it would be unreasonable.
Succeeding At The First Camping Trips
On the first camp-outs our troop encourages adults to work with the new scouts to get them grounded in basic skills. We require a father or mother to join the scout at first if only to monitor behavior and transition them into taking trips by themselves with the troop. If an older scout exhibits the skill and knowledge to teach any subject, we promote that first. But we will not allow scouts to flounder simply in deference to obtuse rules. Successfully attaining and managing basic skills is very important, especially when considering hygiene, first aid, safe cooking methods and food preparation, and fire building and tending. It is those building blocks upon which more complex tasks are conducted. If the basic skills are lacking, scouts will not progress with confidence. Once older scouts are able to take over full aspects of teaching younger scouts, adults take a back seat and watch the scouts work solely with each other. This is a continuous process. As a scout in a each patrol begins instructing other scouts in something they have mastered a natural learning process occurs. Competent adults can disengage as soon as that critical mass is achieved.
This usually happens faster when scouts have a solid grounding in how to achieve goals. Where needed, adults will reinforce what is taught by scouts. Where correction is required due to safety concerns it is perfectly acceptable to inform the scouts. That is the main job of any adult - to keep the scouts safe. If during a first aid lesson a scout gives wrong instruction that could have serious complications, it is important that the adults correct them. Everyone benefits when the information presented in a critical task is accurate.
When Joining A Boy Scout Troop, Ask The Right Questions
When researching troops to join, it is incumbent upon the family to ask pertinent questions and not just assume their participation will be honored.
If the mother wants to be an active scoutmaster this needs to be addressed first. Most troops will turn mothers down or try to encourage them to take another background role. There is the unspoken implication that mothers are not capable or desired as scoutmasters. We believe that this may set a poor example for boys, teaching them early that women are subservient to men and not true partners in familial decisions and events.
Then there are troops like Troop 333 (Huntersville, NC) - We welcome moms into the scoutmaster ranks and hope more women are able to fulfill that role. We value all their contributions.
About Us: Online efficiency at our troop!
Troop 333 encourages interactive online meetings through our unique private scout server. Meal, menu, duty roster and camping planning can all take place in live chat, forums, with complete forms upload and editing capabilities. This way scouts can concentrate on more fun physical activity during meetings and hold administrative meetings online in off hours.
To learn more about the flexible homeschool troop visit http://www.thefamilytroop.org.
Serving the counties of North Mecklenburg, South Iredell and West Cabarrus, all families in Charlotte, Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville, Kannapolis and surrounding areas are invited to make inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Boy Scout Troop 333 is in the Hornet's Nest District, Mecklenburg Council based in the Charlotte, NC metropolitan region serving Huntersville, Davidson, Cornelius, Mooresville, Kannapolis, South Iredell County, West Cabarrus and North Mecklenburg county.