BSA signs memorandum of understanding with Unitarian Universalist Association

The Boy Scouts of America has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Unitarian Universalist Association that will grow Scouting through new Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Venturing crews, Sea Scout ships and Exploring posts.

On March 24, 2016, at BSA headquarters in Texas, Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh signed the memorandum alongside representatives from the Unitarian Universalist Association, or UUA.

The Boston-based UUA has more than 1,000 congregations with 221,000 members. The renewed ties ensure that UUA congregations can charter Scout units and deliver the life-changing experiences of Scouting to more young people.

“It means that we will be able to grow and develop a strong relationship between BSA and UUA for years to come,” said Gene Butler of the BSA’s National Alliances team. “So ultimately this will give both organizations opportunities to serve more youth, families and communities across the nation.”

The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the UUA, supported the strengthened ties between the two groups.

“We have always acknowledged the many shared values between the Boy Scouts and our Unitarian Universalist tradition,” he said. “I am happy to see our two organizations form new bonds of mutual understanding which will allow Unitarian Universalist boys and young men who want to participate in Scouting to be able to do so within their own Unitarian Universalist community.”


  1. Very interesting since UUA has a lot of atheists, humanists, and agnostics in its membership. With the renewed emphasis on Duty to God in both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, it is an interesting partnership. Definitely signals BSA’s openness to less traditional, less dogmatic approaches to God and spirituality. Not sure how much pressure UUA hopes to be able to apply from within to make BSA more open to non-theists.

  2. Drop the word Boy and just make it Scouts like most of the rest of the world and open it to girls as well. The Mission and Vision Statement posted on the site makes it clear it is youth organization.

    “prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.”

    “prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law.”

    Drop the word “eligible”. Every Youth, we should want to be part of an organization like Scouts!

    • To all the folks that Thumb down my reply. I think you may want to take the time to do the research like I have. You can start here:
      But the message does not any better the deeper you dig. Scouts are a great place for Youth. True it is sad that the Girl Scouts in my area are not what my Daughter would like and that the BSA has made it impossible for her to join at this time. My Bother is an Eagle Scout, I am an Eagle Scout and one of my Sisters Made it to the Highest Rank in Girl Scouts. So with all that being said…. did as I would have expected. I looked at Girl Scouts for my Daughter to include Daisy and Brownie. But the activity they do did not interest my daughter. She would rather be camping, Hiking and to be blunt doing all the things the Boy Scouts are doing. So instead of being closed minded about it I decided to look at the WHOLE picture. Sadly she was right the Girl Scout Troops in our area do NOTHING like the Boy Scouts and that is a disappointing. It also appears that the leadership in this area is more adult driven and not driving by the members so the Girls would not have the same skills as the boy counter part. Take a LONG look around and see that BSA has a lot to offer EVERYONE! But they need to drop the B and just be SA. Let me help you in your research:,_1st_Baron_Baden-Powell

      What I find sad is it is a topic to keep scouting alive today when the Numbers are dropping. When you see it as conversation and you focus on recruiting it is time to consider keeping the foundation in place but not losing the prize. Our youth today both Boys and Girls need a foundation that Scouts bring to the table! I understand the need for Girl Scouts sorta. But as a Father of a Girls that would rather work her way to Eagle like her Dad and Uncle… in this age where we also have Army Rangers that are female ( I think it is time BSA looks at what they are losing by not opening up.

      Just my view of the world… and Never did I think my daughter would prefer to be a “Boy Scout” over being a “Girl Scout”.

      • Just a “few” years ago, I felt Todd’s pain. And, from the opposite end of the daughter-raising process, she voices resentment that those years between 6 and 14 were spent watching Dad taking the boys to scout camp. No amount of family camping, and subsequent venturing, erased that. That said, she grew up strong and good in spite of BSA’s requirements and GS/USA’s inadequate enthusiasm for wilderness upbringing.

        However, based on the declines from the most recent forays into inclusion are any indication, none of us have the stomach for moves that will lead to fewer youth being served. Hopefully, new MOU’s like the UUA’s will be a bell-weather of trends reversing.

      • In my humble opinion some may be reading too much into the word “boy”. The bsa has units that are co ed once the boy or girl is 14 and older….venture crews, explorer posts, sea scouts and varsity. Eligible would mean that a 2nd grader cannot join a troop since he is not old enough….eligible. he would be eligible to join a pack with other 2nd grade boys. Girls don’t join cub scouts and boys don’t join boy scouts. At younger ages, the needs and interests for most do not make it logical to have them working on the same books and requirements. But as a Cub scout leader I always invited the sisters to do everything that the brother was doing if she wanted. We just could not give her official awards since she was not a member. We did acknowledge her and usually gave her unofficial awards instead. The bsa changes some things over time and unfortunately for some, the change is not fast enough. Peace be with you.

      • I attended a long established all boys preparatory school. About ten years ago the decision was made to admit girls. All sorts of negative outcomes were voices. Today the school is larger, better and more competitive to get into. My son is lucky to be attending next year and after touring the school I wish it was this cool when I attended back in the 80’s.

        My point is allowing girls to join the BSA will strengthen Scouting.

        • If girls were allowed to join Boy Scouting, parents with boys and girls could enjoy one organization as a family — instead of being split between Boy Scout and Girl Scout activities. It would also save such a family time and money.

      • Men can be leaders of Girl Scout Troops so start your own if you are unhappy with what’s offered by other troop leaders. As Girl Scouts get older their activities are supposed to be increasingly girl led so it sounds like you already have that in mind. It saddens me that you got the impression otherwise. I grew up in a Girl Scout Troop that didn’t just learn camping and outdoor skills, but went to the extreme of winter camping just like the Boy Scouts in our area.

  3. While you are at it, why not change the scout law to say “A scout is [pick any 6] trustworthy, loyal, …” {although some would say 6 is too many}.

    The Scouts have certain requirements…instead of making others conform to your likes, form your own organization, and leave ours alone.

  4. While I support the inclusion of girls as well as the ability of anyone to join regardless of any religious affiation, I find your methods and tactics self-defeating. The best way to change an organization is from within. The official inclusion of UU is an OUTSTANDING move in the right direction.

    If there were no gay scouts (or openly gay scouts that wanted to join), then BSA would have never changed. BSA was not legally required to do so.

    Want BSA in be more inclusive? Support your local UU scout pack/troop.

  5. I do not think Susanna is opposed to Boy Scouts, she just wants to share quality Scouting with all youth.

    Personally, I’ve never understood why a girl can’t be an Eagle Scout. When scouting started in 1912, women were not allowed to vote, so it wasn’t surprising that women weren’t allowed to be in scouting. But women have been allowed to vote since 1920 so maybe its time we changed our view on women in scouting as well.

    Not only would it benefit the girls, but I would like to see my boys learn their leadership skills in a co-ed environment that mirrors what they will encounter later in their careers or in the military.

    My guess is that most people on this board will tell me that if I don’t like things the way they are that I should just leave your private club, but I will point out that all great social change in America came not from people who were happy with the things the way they were, but people who stood up and said why can’t things be different. The abolitionist, suffragettes, civil rights workers were all hated in their time by the majority. Fortunately, these brave people did not leave the country but helped ended slavery and obtained the vote for women and African-Americans.

    Maybe you don’t like Susanna’s language, and personally I’m partially to a more diplomatic approach, but just remember that the national Boy Scouts did not vote to fully end racial discrimination until 1974. The Boy Scouts of America is never at the forefront of any social issue because too many boy scout leaders are too comfortable with the way things had always been to step out and consider alternatives.

    • Doug, you are wrong. Women were not forbidden from voting, as a matter of fact, there was a woman in the Senate prior to the 19th Amendment being passed and ratified. But there is GSA Gold. Why not participate in GSA ? Or, how about BSA and GSA merge ? Boys and Girls tend to process differently. Ignoring that just to meet the fad of ignoring gender differences and the obvious manifestations of the sexual dimorphisms of humans does not change the facts.

      • The 19th amendment was passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920. The first woman to serve in the Senate was for a single day in November 1922.

        Rebecca Ann Latimer Felton (June 10, 1835 – January 24, 1930) was an American writer, lecturer, reformer, and politician who became the first woman to serve in the United States Senate.[1] She was the most prominent woman in Georgia in the Progressive Era, and was honored by appointment to the Senate. She was sworn in November 21, 1922, and served just 24 hours. At 87 years, nine months, and 22 days old, she was the oldest freshman senator to enter the Senate. To date, she is also the only woman to have served as a Senator from Georgia. Her husband William Harrell Felton was a member of the United States House of Representatives and Georgia House of Representatives and she ran his campaigns. She was a prominent society woman; an advocate of prison reform, women’s suffrage and educational modernization; a white supremacist and slave owner; and one of the few prominent women who spoke in favor of lynching. Bartley reports that by 1915 she “was championing a lengthy feminist program that ranged from prohibition to equal pay for equal work.”[2]

      • From Wikipedia:

        The first woman to serve in the Senate was for a single day in November 1922. She was appointed by the Governor of Georgia. The 19th amendment was ratified in 1920.

  6. Girls are allowed to join Scouting – Girl Scouts of America will gladly let them join.
    Venturing allows for girls, as does STEM Scouts.

    Here’s what you’re asking for…
    If a local school has a boys soccer team and a girls soccer team, you’re saying that a girl should be allowed to play on the boys team, regardless. Same exact thing.

    There are reasons why there are separate teams or organizations, and I can tell you that if the situation were reversed, people would not be okay with it.

    If you want to make the Girl Scouts program better, then get involved.

    • Firstly, there is no organization known as the “Girl Scouts of America,” it’s Girl Scouts of the USA.

      Secondly, this isn’t like a school having a “boys soccer team” and a “girls soccer team”… just because both organizations have the word “Scouts” in their name, they are not equivalent programs. It’s like a school having a “boys soccer team” and a “girls dance team”… sure both are teams, but they are two totally different programs, so if a girl wants to play soccer, she’s out of luck. Both the Boy Scouts (BSA) programs and the Girls Scout (GSUSA) programs have value…both are worthwhile but both are very different in their aims, methods, focus and approach.

    • First, girls regularly play on boys teams across the US if they have the skill, stature, and will to do so. The difference between such teams is to protect the competitiveness of the girls league. Second it is a misnomer that girls process things differently, they develop differently. How a brain processes information is a learned behavior, and is engendered by the way a person is taught to see themselves in the world. For example boys still get teased for playing with dolls, but action figures are fine despite being in essence the same thing. Most of the difference in development is a shorter and earlier development in girls. Third, strengthening/adapting the GSA is really no longer an option. For anyone that worked with them in their structure sees how they now function as a business and thus unable to function in scouting. Troops are designed to die when the girls age out, and the entire funds automatically get passed up the GSA ladder. A significant part of the program is about selling cookies, and they are one of the top cookie producers in the US. GSA is broken. On the note of separate but equal, the Gold award is far less recognized both domestically and internationally, and since the value of the award comes from its recognition it is inherently lesser. Hence unequal, period. That really is not open for debate, that is fact.
      As for BSA, as an Eagle Scout I like to say we have a fantastic program. That said there is no good reason not to at the very least allow girls to get the eagle through venturing. If they do the same requirements (which is possible) they should get the same reward. Arguing against that point is also a waste of time, doing so simply shows bigotry so stop whining. Same requirements=same award, that simple. The only real question is whether or not girls should be allowed in BSA cub and Boy Scout troops alongside boys or if they should be participating in a semi segregated manor within the program but doing the same activities. Personally I think they should be integrated because it reduces the stress on the adult leaders that manage the troops. That in mind there is the problem of preventing hanky panky from occuring. For cub scouts it isn’t much of an issue, but Boy Scouts is a bit more difficult. Overnight activities would probably need to be segregated. As for why this is not yet already the norm is BSA having its tail between its legs. BSA made a deal with GSA to not compete for the most part with GSA and is afraid to shake it up with GSA. I’ve been in the management of both and this is a constant in their dealings with each other. GSA has tons of money and a bad program, BSA is in the poorhouse with a fantastic one. Contrary to popular belief the current separation has NOTHING to do with the gender delineations, and all about keeping GSA happy so they don’t make a mess in BSA’s backyard. Eventually GSA will die off.
      -Eagle Scout

  7. Steve M. – Please share with me the reasons that you believe young women are unqualified, unfit, or unsuited to earn the rank of Eagle scout. I have met several young Venturing women instructing young boys at Boy Scout summer camps who were clearly Eagle worthy in character and skills, yet they will never be allowed to earn the award. I think that is unfortunate.

    I believe young women can do anything a young man can do and should have the same opportunities young men have, but if you feel differently, please educate me.

  8. Yes, young woman can do anything, but by making our world the same for everyone then we are doing an injustice to the youth who are making their journey towards identifying who they are and what they are. Let boys have an opportunity to grow and develop in a group of just boys (and the same goes for girls). There comes a time in life where messing with the creation of why we are different and forcing us to all be the same will eventually screw it up for everyone in the end. Let it go and worry about your little world and leave the character building to those who still have character.

    • “Let it go and worry about your little world and leave the character building to those who still have character.”

      I hope you are more courteous and kind when speaking to scouts who share differing opinions as they might be mistaken in what character lesson you are teaching.

  9. What is so wrong with a “Boys Only’ organization..For That matter a “Girls Only” organization? There unique learning opportunities when it is just all boys or all girls. Why are people trying to force things on people that they may not want? there is value in girls only and boys only organizations. I think There is also value in co-ed organization. But I I don’t like the everyone does the same thing all the time….Funny how you don’t see l boys and their families knocking down the door to join the Brownies or Girl Scouts..Everyone seems to want to take a pound out flesh from the BSA.

    Has it occurred to anyone that the BSA is special because they do things a certain way? Is it possible that forcing a Co-Ed on people that you might destroy that organization?

    • I appreciate your comments. I especially appreciate hearing an argument that is not “separate but equal” type response. Your concerns are certainly valid, some organizations have to change to thrive, while other organization cease to thrive if forced to change.

      I never gave much thought into the girls issue in scouting myself until I met two female Venture scouts of superior character and skills last year working at a summer camp instructing our boys. I would like to see young woman like those two be able to earn an Eagle badge. It may be impossible,but if there is someway to do it without disrupting the whole program, I think Venturing would be the place. I’m sure religious charter organizations that didn’t want to have coed Venturers could get an exemption.

      With this post, I will stop posting on this thread as I don’t think anybody is going to change anybody’s opinion here and we will just make each other mad. Have a great day! See you on the trail.

    • It is demonstrably true that BSA is special because they (we) do things a certain way. But the experience of our international counterparts suggests that gender segregation is not one of those things that makes us special.

      Before passing judgement, I urge you to spend some time with Scouts and Scouters from countries that have integrated. Ask how it works and compare their experience to your own.

      • Mike, I am not passing judgement. But I also reject the “one size fits all” approach as well. There is the continuing reference to how people do things elsewhere. Around the world. I think how we have done things in American has been right more times that it has been wrong and feel the rest of the world can learn from us…..

        There are scouting organization in America that are co-ed such as “Navigators USA”. If there was such a demand for Co-Ed programs for children in America an organization like this should take off and go into orbit. For that matter why hasn’t the Girl Scouts gone Co-Ed?..Same reason..It would be train wreck in America. This nation doesn’t have a major demand for co-ed programs in the early youth level.

        This is a cliche, but boys will be boys and girls will be girls and they needs adult leadership (which I question how much they get at home) in these early ages to learn how to conduct themselves properly before turning them loose on opposite sex kids.

        I personally like the Venture Scout Age of 13. That is a very transitional time for boys and girls and I like the ideal of interaction again with adult supervision.

        I am merely saying there is value in both boys only and girls only programs. This is more about LGBT inclusion than anything else and the activism has forced this on the BSA because it is a easy mark with deep pockets.

        • Is it not true that every scouter here expressing support for co-ed Scouting in the USA demonstrates that demand? That every cub pack with sisters tagging along and participating demonstrates that demand? That those young women participating in Venturing (and the other older-youth co-ed programs) demonstrates that demand? That EVERY SINGLE TIME it comes up in the news that there’s a group of dissatisfied girls seeking to join a pack or troop but cannot, is demonstrating that demand?

          Scouters hold up the canard that “it’s designed for boys” or “boys only spaces” and other misplaced gender essentialism as an excuse to exclude girls, but ultimately, why couldn’t we extend the model of Venturing and let individual units decide if they would be boys-only, girls-only, or co-ed?

          There IS demand by girls for the program content, why the fight to restrict access to that content?

        • The answer to why other programs haven’t taken off is simple. Scouting has an economy of scale problem. You need to have a lot of land for camps spread across the US most of which is donated. Philmont and other camps make up a large portion of the scouting experience, and that type of donation was a lot easier to get in the time of Baden Powel and Juliet Gordan Low. BSA is not an easy mark, it is the only mark. GSUSA (gonna say GSA from now on) has a program that even their target audience is not interested in. Hanky panky is always gonna be an issue but we can find ways to mitigate it and provide the same opportunities for girls. Keep in mind this is about opportunity, troops have always and will always decide which activities they participate in.

    • One person’s “bondage” is another thousand peoples’ liberation.

      As I mentioned earlier, this push to be broader based is correlated with decreasing membership. If we are open to all, but they all go elsewhere … the activism that makes us that way reeks of scorched earth.

    • The BSA has been doing a great job for over 100 years and they have been boy only. Nobody is forcing any family to join this movement. You do realize parents choose this program for their kids because the time-honored values the BSA has stood for is what they want. Parent can join co-ed or more open programs if they so choose. This is more about force the BSA to change than anything

    • Scott said:
      Has it occurred to anyone that the BSA is special because they do things a certain way? Is it possible that forcing a Co-Ed on people that you might destroy that organization?


      Are Scouts in other countries less special because they are coed? Are they “destroyed” because they allow girls to join? Is the Venturing program a “destroyed” program?

      BSA belongs to the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). The WOSM allows for each country to be coed at their choice.

      Nearly all countries that participate in WOSM are coed at some level. BSA is no different in that regard. Some are coed at the lowest ranks while others like BSA, only become coed for certain age groups.

      • Hawkwin said to Scott:

        “Are Scouts in other countries less special because they are coed? Are they “destroyed” because they allow girls to join? Is the Venturing program a “destroyed” program?”


        Every country has their own unique culture that is both special and unique. The United States is a pretty special place as well in my humble opinion. The BSA and GSA programs have been established based on the American culture and not the rest of the world.

        Again, there is this attempt to force on “One Sizes Fits All” on the BSa and that is not going to be met with open arms

        • Let me add one more point…I am not against co-ed programs. I think some younger kids (and parents) can handle such a program. But I also respect the vast majority families in scouting that like the Boys only or girls only curriculum that the BSA and GSA offers.

        • Scott said:

          Every country has their own unique culture that is both special and unique. The United States is a pretty special place as well in my humble opinion.


          And I would counter that what makes BSA and the USA so special has nothing to do with the exclusion of girls. It might make us unique but it isn’t what makes us special.

          Recall, BSA used to exclude female leaders. Are we less special for their inclusion?

          I also take issue with the assumption that:

          the vast majority families in scouting that like the Boys only or girls only curriculum that the BSA and GSA offers.


          I would bet money that if parents were surveyed, they would support, in vast numbers, the inclusion of both genders – if for no other reason than the logistics of it. I have both a cub scout and a Brownie and I would save a lot of time a money if they were combined. I feel quite confident that there are more parents like me that would be motivated for the inclusion than parents that are committed to exclusion.

          I also feel this strongly because when BSA surveyed their membership on the ban on gays as it pertains to the top award, parents and members strongly opposed the ban:

          Accord to results released by the BSA, 78% of parents felt it was unacceptable to deny the Scout his Eagle award simply because of his orientation, while only 18% felt it was acceptable. Teens and Scouting Alumni who completed the survey responded similarly.[97]


  10. You know that there are Girl Scouts, right ? You act as if you have the right to put yourself where ever you want to, not respecting the wishes of others. Your father (or mother) could have taken on camping trips with the girls ! Boys and Girls do process things in fundamentally different ways, and gender specific training has been shown to have positive effects. The world does not (and should not) revolve around the most demanding potential member of a group. Extrapolating your point, BSA might as well let scouts design thier own path to Eagle, regardless of the existing requirements. Instead of weakening BSA (which is what I think folks like you want), why not strenghten GSA ! I would welcome it.

  11. The BSA will proberly join the rest of the modern world, like the scouts have in many other countries. They are just a bit set in their medieval worldwiev. Much of the problem are proberly that BSA is more of a franchice to be lent to fundamentalist religious organisations, than a scout organisation.

  12. I’d be willing to bet that a majority of the thumbs down folks have never experienced Male and females in their scouting units. I have, I been a Venturing Crew Advisor for 8+ years having both males and females in the unit. I’ve also attended a World Scout Jamboree as an advisor and watched how our youth and how most every other country in the world that has scouting interacted with each other with both male and female scouts in the units. VERY POSITIVE for everyone in the unit. BTW, females do very well, and in most cases better than their male counterpart. (I have one of each so I’m not biased)

  13. As a Gold Star recipient from Girl Scouts, a Wood Badge recipient as an adult leader in my sons BSA programs, I have seen both programs from the inside. I was lucky that our Girl Scout leaders must have had BSA experience, because we were run like the Cub and Boy Scouts and our activities were the envy of the Boy Scouts in our area. In fact, they tagged along with us on many of them. Which shows me, that even 20 years ago, boys and girls could participate in the same activities, with the same goals, without issues. With that being said, my friends who were in Boy Scouts got to go on and earn their Eagle and get all the recognition in society that that brings with it, while my Gold Star is relatively unknown and unremarkable in society. Yet I was doing most of the same activities, same level of leadership, etc, that my counterparts did. But my Girl Scout Troop does not appear to be the norm. Perhaps it’s based upon the location of the groups. In the Midwest, farming community, where everyone is expected to do everything to help the family, our Troops were active with camping, with outdoors activities like navigation, white water rafting, etc. Yes, we still did sewing and cooking, but so do the boys. My experience in my current location (southern and city) is that the Girl Scouts is more into fashion, and not getting their nails dirty, than into fixing cars or roughing it. So I know of several young girls who are not participating in a local GS Troop because of this… they’re likes are more along the lines of activities the Boy Scouts do. And… I’ve seen boys forced into a BSA pack, who would have been better suited to the GS Troop, as their interests don’t run to the rough and tough stuff. I do believe that there is a reason for both groups, but I’m not sure that delineating it by “boy” vs “girl” is the way to do it. And why can’t you have Packs and Troops that run under BSA guidelines that are All Girls and/or All Boys, if you must have them separate by sex? Recognizing that the program that BSA has put together is superior and wanting to share it with more of our youth should not be a bad thing, yet understand that the program isn’t even right for all boys, which is why we have so many drop out at various levels, or not join ever. Why not have 2 Scouting Organizations (or more) that both take both sexes, but the focus of the groups are different and let the youth select the organization that best suits them and their goals. Then those girls who want to go camping, to learn orienteering, etc can go through a great program to attain a goal just like their male counterparts. If you want to liken it to sports… you don’t have a girls soccer team playing under one set of rules and expectations while the boys soccer team is playing under a different, more strident, more world-wide accepted set of rules and consider those 2 teams as being “equal”. If you have a great soccer playing female, who wants to compete in the world, then she is going to want to be on the team that is running on the rules and expectations for the world, not the lesser team. Why should Scouting be any different?

    • There are multiple co-ed organizations out there that do pretty much what you are proposing….It is just a plain and simple fact that there is no big demand for this in the US or the BSA and Girl Scouts would have merged a long time ago….

      If the Venture scouts grow and do well then an argument could be made to expand. It is up to the 13-20 year old’s and their families to recruit more and grow the program.

      The Girl Scout could drop the “Girl” portion just as easy and the BSA could drop the “Boy” portion but neither are doing for a reason…..

  14. The drive toward a co-ed movement will not come from denominations.

    Girl Scouts USA have one item keeping themselves unisex. Girl Guides around the world are unisex. Their jamborees are all unisex. They have no exposure to doing GS activities with anyone but, you guessed it, girls.

    Boy Scouts, however, are repeatedly exposed to the World Organization of Scouting Movements. In 2019, our boys will host them in record numbers in partnership with Scouts Canada and Mexico (both of whom are co-ed). More BSA youth will work and play side-by-side with co-ed scouts from around the world than have ever done so before. After that, the “Ivory tower” arguments about the importance of being segregated nation-wide will probably fall flat with these boots on the ground.

    A few more years, and they may very well be the parents and scouters who usher in at the very least a local option of co-ed scouting.

  15. I think that the BSA has a pretty broad outlook on God. It is more along the lines of “a power greater than the yourself.” Buddhists are Scouts, but they don’t believe in God in the Judeo-Christian sense.

    • The actual words of the Declaration of Religous Principles would exclude Buddhists who are not theistic. Fortunately, enough troops aren’t hung up on the wording so Buddhist can participate even if they don’t believe in God

      • No, National Council isn’t so hung up – they allow charters with Buddhist churches and temples across the country, along with having Buddhist religious awards…

  16. I am looking at the comments and the up thumbs and down thumbs. Every post about girls has 5 to 10 times the number of down thumbs as up thumbs. What are you all scared of when it comes to opening up scouting to girls. Boys need to be able to form relationships and respect female contributions other than as objects of sexual attractions.

    • I would first ask you why are you trying to force parents that want to keep the traditional boy’s only format to co-ed when it is not wanted?

      Secondly, If a boy is taught to be respectful to parents, teachers, adults, law enforcement God, country and himself then there is a pretty good chance he will also be respectful to girls.

  17. Several reasons:

    1. Most American parents find that boys flourish in this little “space away from girls”. They don’t like anything upsetting the apple cart. The cost of accommodating the few girls who are not flourishing in their “space away from boys” is too great.
    2. Some of these posts crassly allude to phallic worship. That’s demeaning to the opposing side. We are not an unenlightened 1st century pagan culture. (Not judging post-modern pagans, just saying that reduction to body parts undermines any good that may lie in feminist arguments.)
    3. Picking on the largest organization with the most resources seems disingenuous. Few, if any, folks have sincerely requested that GS/USA open its doors to boys. That undervalues girl guides everywhere. I have seen girl scouts and boy scouts come together at the local level to do great things. (The BSA venturing program being one of them.) So clearly all of those GS troop moms are doing something right that perhaps we should want for our boys.
    4. Existing co-ed outoor organizations’ membership pale numerically to BSA and GS/USA. Lesson learned? Go co-ed: serve fewer youth.

    The transition to co-ed is an easy sell for the few of us whose daughters envied boy scouts. But those girls are still rare. Currently, the majority of parents in this country when they think of scouting look for segregated programs. The majority of American girls, when they think of camping, ask specifically for “flushies” and “electricity.” They don’t think of hiking and camping independently with your mates nearly every month.

    • Q states:

      The transition to co-ed is an easy sell for the few of us whose daughters envied boy scouts. But those girls are still rare. Currently, the majority of parents in this country when they think of scouting look for segregated programs. The majority of American girls, when they think of camping, ask specifically for “flushies” and “electricity.” They don’t think of hiking and camping independently with your mates nearly every month.


      Still rare based on what? Assumptions? How do you know that the majority of parents look for segregated programs? Do you think a top search on google is “segregated scouting programs” or is it just “scouting?” I would think that the vast majority of parents really don’t care. I also find it disappointing that your assumption is that the majority of girls, especially those intersted in any scouting program, are too “girly” to handle camping without electricity or modern plumbing.

      Your assumptions about the majority of girls in scouting says more about your stereotypes than it does about the girls in scouting.

      I can only speak from personal experience but my 7 (now 8) year old Brownie loves to play dress up and wear play makeup but she is also the only girl on the BOYS folk style wresting team and at the age of 7, hiked 10 miles up the top of the Smoky Mountains (Mount Le Conte). She has hiked over 50 miles in the Smokies – all before she was 8. She can do anything the boys can do – and she would love to be a cub scout just like her older brother.

      • I think the best “Assumption” is that there are 4 all-inclusive scouting programs in America that have NO traction:

        If there was a demand for co-ed scouting in the US any of these programs would be do well. I dare say most people have never heard of them.

        This argument appears to be more about forcing an agenda on the BSA than anything because this nation has alternatives

        • As someone who has a degree in societal and political systems the other organizations don’t have traction because they simply cannot. Facebook stinks, why aren’t there any alternatives? Because everybody is already on Facebook and you need a Facebook for all sorts of things. Your argument is like saying the FBI and the TSA can both carry guns, but the TSA deals with airplanes which is why the TSA is not as prestigious. The problem here is not “forcing” programs to become integrated. The BSA is not the Supreme Court. The problem is getting BSA to allow troops that want to integrate to do so, and allow them to use BSA resources such as philmont, sea base, and local camps.

      • It’s presumptuous to dismiss boots-on-the-ground observations as “assumptions”. Like you, I was blessed with a daughter who envied Cub and Boy scouting and loved hiking and camping any month of the year. But, in spite of recruiting her best friends (some of the finest women in our district, IMHO), she was on her own — or pulling resources with a crew on the opposite side of town — when the temps dropped or the distance doubled.

        I met with dozens (by now, perhaps hundreds) of young women and their parents over the years promoting our crew … including many, many girl scouts who voiced dissatisfaction with their outdoor program. The majority are content to complain and leave the co-ed organizing to somebody else. On the adult side, our crew is always short of females who will backpack with us — especially if snow is likely.

        I don’t think my experience is anomalous. They are reflected in BSA’s most-rapidly declining membership statistics: Venturing.

        I do hope that your personal experience will be opposite mine … that each girl like your daughter will find another 20 or so who are equally enthusiastic about BSA’s methods of scouting. If that is the case nation-wide, it would be a sea-change worth regarding highly.

  18. Does this mean a UU boy can earn a religion merit badge? For many years now, as I understand it, no UU religion merit badges were recognized. However, many years ago, there was a means of earning such a badge. Can u enlighten on this point?

  19. I remember a UUA religious knot in the 90’s when I was a scout. I was disappointed as an adult volunteer to learn that they had removed it. This article is not saying the religious emblem will be recognized. The Baha’i knot is probably as close as you’ll get.

    Those of us from traditional units have learned to keep quiet about the level of religious involvement within the organization. I made a personal push as a commissioner to try to get more traditional volunteers and professional staff was more than disinterested in the fact that there is a clear correlation between the shrinking program and the shrinking number of traditional units. This article proves once again that scouting is still much more interested in becoming a religious movement than in helping youth in the US. The statistics on chartered organizations and youth involvement don’t lie. Unfortunately, this program has too closely tied professional performance to short term growth. If you think growth is a strategy then you probably lost a lot of money in the housing bubble. Scouting is becoming “The Big Short”.

    I can only hope someone with strategic vision can see it.

    • Jerimiah wrote:

      “This article proves once again that scouting is still much more interested in becoming a religious movement than in helping youth in the US.”

      “A Scout is Reverent” has been part of the Scout Law since 1911. Where have you been for the last 105 year?

      The real issue is that the secularist movement is trying to destroy the BSA from within.

  20. I have to shoot my 2 cents worth in here… I am a woman who was VERY active in leadership of my son’s Cub Scout Pack, earning several knots including the District Award of Merit. I am currently the Advancements Chair for my son’s Scout Troop. I was raised Catholic, and currenlty attend UU as a guest, though I may join. On the issue of UU and Scouting, I believe the memorandum allows UU members who DO believe in God to be active and have the option to earn the Religious Emblem. It’s about inclusion! My son is the first to volunteer or help anyone in need, expresses gratitude, prayer before meals, etc. etc…. a reverent a Scout — but is active in UU as well.

    As for girls in Scouting, again my thoughts… I was pretty offended when I was asked to step down from camping with when my son advanced to the Troop level after being the certified camp chair for 5 years — because it was all about me, right? NO! This was a request from the boys. Out troop is a boy-led troop, as they all should be. Pubescent boys are not comfortable with women or girls in their troop during the years they are learning to be men. And honestly, I don’t want my son going on campouts with teen girls in the tent next to him, it opens the door for problems. Like it or not, teens don’t always make the best choices.

    I get it, Girl Scouts are pretty uneventful from what I have heard, but there IS a scout program in place for girls, it just needs some life breathed into it. Quality programming is all about LEADERSHIP, so if we want girls to have better experiences, it’s time to jump in and lead a movement for change. Last, BSA does address girl inclusion with Venturing, which is open to both boys and girls age 14 to 20 that utilizes all of the scouting program resources.

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