The Real Inclusiveness of the Girl Scouts

 

Although I have lots of great memories from my time as a young Boy Scout, the organization isn’t quite held in the same high position of public esteem that is used to be. Once known as a place for young men to learn knot tying and manners, it’s policies prohibiting atheists and legal battles to retain it’s right to ban homosexuals from it’s ranks have left a tarnish on the Rockwellian picture of young scouts extending their arms to elderly women at crosswalks and performing daily “good deeds.” The ban was lifted in 2015 and earlier this year the BSA announced that transgender boys would be allowed participation but for many the idea that they fought so hard to resist inclusiveness has caused a withdrawal of support for Scouting.

 

summer camp, 1985

 

The Girl Scouts have never had such a policy, openly supporting LGBT rights and stating that “our mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.” Like much in modern, fractured America, for every liberal demanding the the Boy Scouts no longer be able to camp on federal or municipal land there is a conservative calling for a cookie boycott.

 

Inclusiveness in scouting
proud Daisy Scout

 

As happy as I am to involve my daughter with an organization that actively promotes fairness and equality, I’ll confess that it’s another example of their inclusiveness that has impressed me the most – their willingness to include me. From roller skating outings to hikes in the woods, every time that I tagged along I was welcomed warmly.

Should I have been surprised? Probably not. Dads everywhere are more involved in their children’s lives, in their daughters’ lives, than every before. In many cases it is only through the efforts of fathers that these young girls would be able to participate.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but sadly I was. As far as society has come in recognizing that dads are a just as important  component of parenthood as mothers, there are still instances such as the one in Lakeland, Florida where a man trying to help a lost little girl find her parents was subsequently beaten and vilified for his efforts. A man at the playground is still looked at suspiciously, his motives questioned, a potential predator or kidnapper until proven otherwise.

As this post is scheduled to go live Alaina’s troop will be settling into their sleeping bags, preparing for their first camping overnight. Unfortunately, she will not be there, my wife and I both at work. As much as we trust the leaders and chaperones that would be tucking her in, Alaina has recently developed a new penchant for sleepwalking, nocturnal wanderings that it seemed unfair to burden others with in the middle of the woods.

She was disappointed, angry even, but placated by assurances that there would be plenty more of these trips and that one of us would be sure to plan our schedule accordingly.

It’s a promise that I’m happy the Girl Scouts will allow me to keep. According to their rules, men are welcome to stay overnight as long as they have a separate tent and bathroom area.

How this will differ from the trees and fallen logs that we used as bathrooms when I was a Scout is yet to be determined, but good for the Girl Scouts for recognizing how much more enjoyable a walk in the woods can be when everybody is allowed to go.

 

the inclusiveness of girl scouts

 

20 thoughts on “The Real Inclusiveness of the Girl Scouts”

  1. When I was in scouts, I went to the Meribrite Daycamp, but my brothers got to go to the overnights at Deer Lake. It looks like Deer Lake is now a day camp, but back in the 60’s and 70’s, they would be there for a week at a time.

  2. It’s sad that guys are often more viewed with suspicion, but at the same time, it makes sense – it’s the world we live in. However, I am glad your daughter’s Girl Scout troop welcomes you to take part! I know my dad wasn’t involved in my troop growing up, but him and his friend (another guy) coached my all-girls soccer team – and that’s pretty normal too!

    -Lauren

    1. Thanks for reading Lauren. I’m not sure how much it “makes sense” though. A lot more men aren’t child molesters than are

  3. I was a GS leader for 10 plus years. I like them. The one thing I don’t like is how much they push cookie sales, and so very little actually goes to the troupe. I made it kind of a fun and non pushy sales deal. If girls and their families wanted to do it, cool. If not, cool as well. Some troupes though are waaay intense! Other than that, I always liked the organization.

    1. My wife and I are fortunate enough that we have a built in customer base at the hospital that we work at. We can get sales without having to be pushy about it, because I don’t think either of us would be inclined to do so

  4. Amen from one GSA dad to another, the GSA rocks! When I was going through my divorce, and my ex-wife completely abandoned her assistant troop leader duties I was never judged once when I would show up at GSA events. I connected with all those girls and they kept my spirits up while I was in a dark place in my life at the time. Unfortunately, my daughter had to relocate and I’m not able to be as active as I used to be with the GSA, but my daughter still gets to “drop” in with her old troop sometimes. In 2015 (granted for all the wrong reasons) my daughter was the top cookie seller and we out sold her mom 4-1. #dadsrule

  5. I think you’re right, people do still seem genuinely surprised when dads are actively involved. I love that you and your daughter get to enjoy these things together! #AnythingGoes

    1. I’m sure it varies from troop to troop, but that was a concern of mine also. It hasn’t been something pushed at all

  6. I was never in the girl scouts and my brothers were never in the boy scouts so I never knew any of this. I’m glad the girl scouts are more open and I find it sad that the boy scouts have such a bad reputation because of what a bunch of suits who made those rules did to the organization. I hope that one day the view on boy scouts will change for the positive. #anythinggoes

    1. I think it will. As leadership at the national level gets younger, I think there will be more changes. Its kind of what we are hoping for all over I think

  7. Good luck to the person trying to persuade me to turn my back on the cookies…I’m just sayin.

    I sleepwalk also. What a giant pain in the ass. Tell Alaina to keep being fab. 🙂

    #AnythingGoes

  8. It really is a sad sign of the times when people are surprised that dads are welcome to join in with their kids’ activities – it really should be more of a surprise if that isn’t the case. Good on the Girl Scouts for actually realising that parents aren’t just mums!
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Debbie

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