Mar 31, 2010 at 11:06 pm #1257186
@biointegraLocale: Puget Sound
So I am sonless and am wondering what options there are for the fairer gender that would get them out in the wilds with others their age, rather than selling cookies.Apr 1, 2010 at 10:47 am #1593217
@sckuhnLocale: Mountainous Ohio
As soon as she is 14yo sign her up for Venturing!!!Apr 1, 2010 at 11:05 am #1593219
@angelazLocale: New England
This isn't scouting and is not year round… but over the summer there are some really cool outdoor adventure programs you can sign them up for. I don't know what is in your area but I'm sure with some internet research you'll find options.
I wish my parents had signed me up for backpacking and rock climbing over the summer, instead of the girl scouts!Apr 1, 2010 at 11:18 am #1593221
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
We had one of each gender. Our son went the BSA route to Eagle; our daughter went the Girls Scouts USA route to her Gold Award. I'd suggest you expose your daughter to all age-appropriate groups and let her choose which she wants to join. She can always change later. What organizations are her friends in? Which organizations are you willing to support with time, money, and/or effort?
My wife and I both served as GS troop leaders and I also served as a BSA Venture leader and Unit Commissioner.
We didn't have any young women in our Venture Crew, but the local BSA Sea Scout Post and several of the BSA Law Enforcement Explorer Posts were about 50% female. The only restriction BSA adds for co-ed programs is that there must be adult female leadership present on all outings.
As with any organization, the quality of the program and it's value to the participants is directly related to the effort exerted by the adult leadership and the support and participation of the parents.
Our daughter's Senior Girl Scout Troop travelled world-wide for decades under the loving mentorship of a very charismatic, dedicated female leader. They visited all four of the Girl Scout/Girl Guides houses around the globe, as well as international GG events and jamborees. Rarely did they have a girl drop out, and there was always someone waiting to take her place. Even today,a dozen years after graduation, the women stay in touch with each other and still get together whenever possible. The bonds formed were that strong.
The program levels in the other local Sr. GS troops were far less intense, and membership levels fluctuated. The same has been true with the BSA troops and packs with which I'm familiar.Apr 1, 2010 at 11:47 am #1593227
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
Isn't BSA, and Venturing too, basically a religious organization? The oaths mention God prominently, and they exclude athiests and agnostics. (I'll give them credit- they do admit Hindus, Muslims, Wiccans, etc.) And there is the issue about excluding homosexuals from leadership roles including as adult volunteers because it "conflicts with the oath" which, I have mentioned, is religious.
The National Council has commanded local chapters to revoke nondiscrimination policies where they have instituted them, and chapters have had their charters revoked for refusing to do so.
BSA v Dale has upheld the right of BSA to be exclusatory. This does limit their ability to access government funding and other resources, now, though. They're had to abandon sponsors like military bases and public schools. And their right to use public lands has been challenged.
I want to point out that I find most of that last paragraph a bit extreme. Heck, prayer groups can use public spaces. There are religious organizations using office space on every US military post. Why not BSA?
I would love to find an outdoors group for my daughter when she is older, but I doubt that scouts is what I'm looking for. I recognize it as a basically positive organization, and thus I'll support it, but not by admitting my daughter. :(
I know that Girl Scouts is a different animal entirely (they accept gays and allow an alternate oath that omits the word God) but, as aaron mentioned, I really don't see a need for my kid to spend more time selling cookies than hiking…
So, I guess all I'm saying is that I'm rather interested in alternative for girls, too. :o)Apr 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm #1593241
@bleanLocale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Isn't BSA, and Venturing too, basically a religious organization?
Some verbiage, yes. For example one point of the Scout Law is that "A Scout is Reverent".
The actual religious impact is minimal in many units. I was a scout growing up and do not recall anything overtly religious about my troop, even though it was sponsored by a church. And even less so in my Explorer Post (would be Venturing these days).
You might want to find a good-quality local unit and see what religious impact there is in practice. You may be surprised by how little there is in many units.
— BobApr 1, 2010 at 1:40 pm #1593259
@biointegraLocale: Puget Sound
Thank you for your responses.
I was not aware of Venturing. Are boys and girls participating together in most activities? What are some examples of outdoor pursuits practiced in Venturing?Apr 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm #1593280
I am an Eagle Scout, and have done some stuff with Venturing. It is basically a co-ed, high-adventure version of Boy Scouts, with their own awards, ranks, etc. For ages 14 – 21, male or female, most Venturing crews are an extension of a specific Scout troop that has some older boys that want to do more than what the 11 and 12 year olds can do.
– BenApr 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm #1593298
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
"You might want to find a good-quality local unit and see what religious impact there is in practice. You may be surprised by how little there is in many units."
Fair enough. But, again, those are BOY Scouts. No good for my daughter until, evidently, she turns 14. :o)Apr 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm #1593346
@bleanLocale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
But, again, those are BOY Scouts. No good for my daughter until, evidently, she turns 14. :o)
Lucky you :)Apr 1, 2010 at 5:49 pm #1593360
@cameronLocale: The WOODS
I was under the impression some Girl Scout Troops got out in the woods more. Even if they don't it might be a good place to make a few friends for her and maybe you could meet some like minded parents and do a trip together.
I'm sure you could find a few good summer camps if you want. I think I recall one that had a couple of girl only trips.
Whats wrong with cookies? They taste great and who can say no to a cute little 8 year old? Gotta admit its a good marketing strategy.Apr 23, 2010 at 8:22 am #1601211
As others have said look into Venturing. I am the crew advisor (adult leader) for a BSA Venturing Crew. Our crew is co-ed with a good mix of girls & boys. We don't really focus on advancement at all, but really focus on the outdoors / high adventure. Nearly all the members were new to backpacking & the outdoors, so they are learning from the start how to do things light weight. The girls love going backpacking & camping and the Venturing program provides a great opportunity for girls that they would otherwise not have. I highly recommend it to all. If you can't find a crew that you like then start one. My crew is only one year old and I started it from the ground up. I did this for the exact reasons that you're stating. My daughter saw her brother go through the Scouting program and was envious of the great high adventure he experienced. She was in Girl Scouts, but did not like it. The Girl Scouts do not include the outdoors as a core part of their program. If a GS troop camps or backpacks it is only because the leader makes it happen. In the BSA all units participate in the outdoors because it is the core of the program. If your BSA unit is not camping then you have disfunctional unit.Apr 23, 2010 at 8:43 am #1601219
I heard about Outward Bound. Not really sure what it is but their site seems pretty adventure focussed.
…just did some digging seems pretty cool. You send the kid out on like a 14 day backpacking trip to learn problem solving, team building and leadership skills. There are a bunch of different programs.Apr 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm #1601301
You might also be interested in National Outdoor Leadership School.Apr 23, 2010 at 1:18 pm #1601308
@winterland76Apr 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm #1601323
@beepLocale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
You may want something other than a summer program, but YMCA Camp Widjiwagan (love the name!)in Ely, MN is run by the St. Paul YMCA and has both boys and girls wilderness programs that run during the summer for ages of 12 and up. The summer programs are progressive for each year of experience and culminate in an "epic" trip the summer after H.S. graduation (e.g. six week unsupported canoe trip above the Arctic Circle or similar backpacking trip in Alaska complete with helicopter resupply!). They have both backpacking and canoe tripping "tracks".
My daughters both went through the experience and one of them went up the ladder as a counselor (which also requires multiple summers of experience and progression to lead more advanced trips).
None of their programs are "lightweight", but they are definitely LNT.
As a footnote, Camp Widjiwagan has the largest collection of wood and canvas canoes in the country (so I've been told)Apr 29, 2010 at 7:16 pm #1603834
@cuzzettjLocale: NorCal - South Bay
I don't see any reason you can't start a UL Girl Scout Troop. I don't know how old your daughter is but I am trying to help my 13 year olds troop out. Now to find the time…
Ventures is great though. I was a police Explorer and it was positive.Apr 29, 2010 at 7:54 pm #1603856
I don't know.
But I will say that at younger ages- Girl Scout Brownies for girls and Cub Boy Scouts for boys- The Girl Scout program is way more flexible.
I've gotten frustrated in my first year as a Cub Scout leader. The entire program has a policy of limiting adventure. Partly due to age-appropriate safety and maturity issues. But partly to make sure that there's more adventure available for boys to look forward to as they get older.
That may work for some, but I think a lot of the most enthusiastic boys will drop out because the program holds them back. As one trainer told me- "Your (7 year old) son has backpacked more than many Eagle Scouts".
Girl Scouts on the other hand has as much adventure as the troop wants- pretty much as young as they want.
It does change once the boys graduate from Webelos and become Boy Scouts- that is if they stuck around. From there on the only major impediment is the dorky uniforms. That was the stated reason for quitting by both my nephew and his cousin.
(Girl Scouts are toning their uniform requirements down while BSA seems to be ramping them up)
All that said though, Cub Scouts are still the best program I've seen for boys that combines a taste of outdoor adventure with legitimate citizenship and leadership growth.
I'll stick around for at least another year. Last night I had great fun helping the Tiger Cubs make a compass from magnets floating in a bowl of water. Then I told them about the time I was lost in a blizzard wishing I had a compass…
JimApr 29, 2010 at 8:35 pm #1603875
I love it when people with absolutely no personal experience with Boy Scouts drag out their PC bible and some MSM sound bites and start denigrating what is essentially a great group. But it's OK, they'll be gone soon enough, and millions of kids will never learn the outdoors, or first aid, or achievement by personal effort, or any number of skills useful in life. Guess they'll learn it all from coaches.Apr 29, 2010 at 9:38 pm #1603893
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Jim, i can understand your comments " I've gotten frustrated in my first year as a Cub Scout leader. The entire program has a policy of limiting adventure ", but you assumptions are not accurate.
I have been involved in Scouts and other youth organizations for over 30 years and I have to agree that for the masses the the amount of outdoor activity they allow is spot on if not too aggressive for each age group.
You (and maybe your child) might be ready for more adventure- the others aren't, especially those who's parents are as involved. I've had an 11 year old crying on an outing because they missed home, not fun when you up in the mountains. He was a normal kid, not anything weird or something.
They have 100 years of experience at this thing so I think they understand a little of the way kids work-
Their decisions are made for the general masses and liability of course.Apr 29, 2010 at 9:48 pm #1603896
@tinyscraftsLocale: So Cal
I'd agree the girl scouts is much less outdoorsy than the boys. Sad really. My 11 yo dd has to go on a "backyard campout" next weekend to "trial run" for the overnight campout at the KOA/resort place they picked. "but they can still use the bathroom and kitchen" LOL she's not too excited and I don't blame her…Apr 29, 2010 at 10:49 pm #1603911
This is the reason I've never had my kids involved in either (I have a 6 year old daughter and 8 year old son).
My son was the first to comment that he didn't think that the activities for his age level sounded very challenging and I know for a fact that my daughter is pretty well beyond the girl's activities for her age group.
I've had them both climbing outside on toprope since age 4-5, both have been backpacking numerous times (even in snow), and we already hike/fish/mountain bike together quite a bit. We'll also be camping for about a month straight this summer…as they have since birth.
Not to be cocky, but I'm not seeing what either the boy or girl scouts would offer them in the way of outdoor skills at this point. In fact, I think it would seem quite tame compared to their previous experiences.
Is it a liability issue or simply a matter of not having leaders willing to push harder activities? Would you be allowed to push for more?Apr 29, 2010 at 11:06 pm #1603915
> Is it a liability issue or simply a matter of not having leaders willing to push harder activities? Would you be allowed to push for more?
The stated purpose of the BSA is to teach moral and physical fitness, character, citizenship, and leadership. Outdoor activities are only one of many (8?) methods of teaching those things.
The BSA is not the program to teach your kid to live in the woods. The BSA molds young men into responsible adults. If your son can light a matchless fire and tie a square knot with his eyes closed, he is not an eagle scout.
It sounds to me like your outdoor gifted son has a lot to offer the BSA as far as raw skills, but the BSA has much more to offer him.
acronym 4/30/2010 1:05 AM
edit: fixed spelling so I don't look like a chump. 4/30/2010 11:50 AMApr 29, 2010 at 11:22 pm #1603923
I'd hardly call my kids "outdoor gifted". They're just kids, we just try to do a lot. I trust them and I try not to be too conservative in what I expose them to. I think kids are resilient and often capable of far more than they're allowed to do or given credit for.
I guess you just nailed the main reason we're not involved in these groups- I think we're all more interested in the outdoor activities. I'm not saying scouts have nothing to teach- far from it- I just don't know if the focus is on what my kids are interested in.
As for leadership and creating "responsible adults", it's just not something we're looking for, at least not in the scouts.Apr 29, 2010 at 11:47 pm #1603927
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific Northwest
Several people have suggested groups such as NOLS and Outward Bound. Both are very worthy groups, and I will chime in with another group, albeit with a slightly different mission.
One area that fueled my sister's interest in the outdoors as a teen (to her credit, she got me involved in backpacking many years ago) was a summer stint with the Student Conservation Association (www.thesca.org)
As part of a volunteer National Conservation Crew, she traveled to Idaho to build trails for six weeks with other 15- to 19-year-olds lead by one or more crew leaders.
The SCA is an organization that's been around for more than 50 years, sending teens into national parks, wilderness, and other federally protected lands doing a bunch of the work that we, as backpackers, often enjoy.
The cost is pretty nominal – there is a small application fee and on top of that, a plane ticket to wherever she is sent (they generally try to get kids to go to a different part of the country). The application process makes allowances by the experience of the applicant – in my sister's case, she had back country experience and they sent her deeper into the woods. My friend’s son, on the other hand, had little experience in the woods and was sent to work on trails at Cumberland Gap National Historic Park.
I don't know if you can make a kid enjoy the outdoors. But I do know my sister still speaks glowingly of the SCA. I ran across a group from the SCA last summer building trails in the Desolation Wilderness (pretty good gig, huh?) and I got a chance to visit with them for a while and thank them for their work. Most of the kids seemed to enjoy the opportunity to spend their summer with others their age. Most were enthusiastic about the woods and camping. The summer of volunteer work, while demanding, gave them a great sense of accomplishment while introducing them to the outdoors.
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