Today the Boy Scouts of America will start allowing girls onto their programmes, and about time too.
I have been in scouting all my life and cannot remember a time were girls weren’t around. There were still some odd districts that still didn’t really embrace the female gender but for me that wasn’t the case. I grew up tying knots with the best of them and gender simply didn’t come into it.
Girls certainly didn’t slow us down, yes you had to plan around people sharing tents and other things had to be considered from time to time, but it really was never that much of a problem. You just got used to it, and often as I said earlier questions of sex were never really thought about. I cannot not say that girls ever got in our way.
Obviously, there was no real downside to not including 50% of the population but there were also upsides too! Firstly, it taught me that girls aren’t a weird alien species, as some theorised at my all boys school (something that should also be a thing of the past), but just people you get on with like any other. It was also often the case that my leaders were female too, in an organisation crying out for volunteers we should not be cutting off half the applicants. Girls, alongside us boys, dragged us forward and we pushed each other to be better.
I have said before on this blog that scouting makes a big difference, in the local communities that I live around as it promotes self-confidence, inclusion and respect for your community. It would not be able to command that respect if it cut of half of its audience and parading out of date ideas such as gender exclusivity. We kept the respect, we still wear uniform and fall in and out, but we also learnt to be inclusive organisation and by doing so we have worked to change the world for the better. I have seen boys and girls shine together as scouts hopefully that will be happening soon in America too.
I leave you with my mixed Jamboree unit from 2011. Yes I do have blue hair.