A Eulogy for the Boy Scouts

On October 11th, 2017, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced that in 2018, their junior program, Cub Scouts, will be opened membership to girls. They also announced that another initiative allowing girls to attain the Boy Scouts’ highest rank of Eagle Scout would be added in 2019. To justify this change, the BSA stated that their programs are capable of benefiting girls as well as boys and that it would make it easier for busy parents to manage the participation of their children. This decision was met with dismay and outright condemnations from many members and allies of the youth organization, which is the largest in North America.

For some, including this former Cub Scout, the announcement is nothing less than the dissolution of the organization as we knew it.

The BSA was founded in 1910 by a coterie of gentleman including publisher William D. Boyce, Scouting leaders Ernest T. Seton and Daniel C. Beard, and Dartmouth alumnus Charles Eastman, Class of 1887. Since its foundation, over 110 million Americans have participated in the BSA; the organization currently boasts over 2.4 million members and 1 million adult volunteers. It was part of a widespread Scouting movement inspired by Lord Robert Baden-Powell’s “The Boy Scouts Association,” conceived in the United Kingdom in 1907. This first Scouting organization set a precedent for countless others around the world and was based on the precepts of Lord Baden-Powell’s groundbreaking “Scouting for Boys,” published in 1908. The Scouting movement was predicated on assisting in the mental, spiritual, and physical development of boys, with a keen focus on involvement with the great outdoors.

Scouting organizations around the world have been, since their inception, a major independent force in civil society. In some cases, this has put them at odds with authoritarian regimes seeking to dominate aspects of private life. In 1920, the Soviet Union, striving to control the country’s youth, banned Scouting. Leading up to the Second World War, Italy and Nazi Germany dissolved their nations’ Scouting organizations, replacing them with fascist youth cults, which often became paramilitary. Cuba’s established Scouting association was disbanded in 1961 following the Communist revolution, and to this day, Cuba remains one of the few nations in the world to lack a Scouting program. It is joined by North Korea, Laos, and the People’s Republic of China.

It is unfortunate, then, that such a historical and leading organization is waylaid by the kind of phony, pop-culture progressivism that requires arbitrary gender equality, especially at the cost of young boys. There is already the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA), which having been founded in 1912 has existed for nearly as long as the BSA. In fact, the first female Scouting organization, the inspiration to the GSUSA, was founded by Lord Baden-Powell’s sister, Agnes. Girls have long had the opportunity to develop most of the same skills as Boy Scouts. Indeed, not even a lack of participation disadvantages girls; for the 2.4 million boys in the BSA, there are a considerable 1.8 million girls in the GSUSA. It is therefore utterly unnecessary to “integrate” the BSA with a fresh crop of female enlistees and degrading to the longstanding mission and purpose of the GSUSA.

Not only is it wholly unwarranted to enroll girls in the BSA, but it will also be detrimental to the experience of the boys currently and hereafter participating in the ranks of the Cub and Boy Scouts.

“There is a value in activities restricted to men. There is simply a camaraderie that exists among men that can never form across gender lines. Boy Scouts taught me much of what I know today. I wonder if it will be able to do this in the future,” an anonymous Eagle Scout told The Review.

It goes without saying that the presence of girls will alter the group dynamic of Cub and Boy Scout troops permanently. Having had both coeducational and single-gender classes over the years, I can say from experience, that in gender-separated classes, boys are not only more focused but also more eager to participate in discussions and the learning process. My admittedly truncated tenure as a Cub Scout was reflective of those observations. A Boy or Cub Scout troop with a significant female presence will undoubtedly have a mutated experience from its former “No Girls Allowed” iteration.

Additionally, the experience of the girls who join the BSA will be worse than that of those who opted for the single-gender experience of the GSUSA. They too will be deprived of many of the benefits that gender-separated Scouting experiences have to offer. However, the nature of this whole debacle places the onus on the boys of the BSA to repent and reform. Will there be a drive to open the GSUSA for male members? Can we expect that soon young boys will be a part of the Brownies? Almost certainly not.

The BSA’s programs have long offered maturing boys escape from the increasingly gender-sensitive realm of America’s public classrooms. At Boy Scout meetings, trips, and larger gatherings, young men are permitted, nay, encouraged to indulge in the less-than-sanitary activities that frowned upon by educators and other such ideologues. There’s fishing, fire building, shooting, and worst of all, the kind of banter that can land an unassuming schoolboy a suspension these days. Unfortunately, those days of Roosevelt-inspired outdoorsy masculinity and experience will soon be behind the BSA.

The external drive to force gender inclusion upon the BSA, an American institution and societal bastion for young boys, is aimless progressivism at its worst and little less than a grave cultural disorder. It is also the latest victory in what Christina Hoff Sommers has accurately termed “the War against Boys.” With an educational system and cultural dogma that subordinates the development of boys to girls and punishes the playful and rambunctious virtues of boyhood, this coeducational policy strikes at one of the last environments where boys were able to grow and learn by themselves.

Though some may be reluctant to acknowledge it, this whole notion of coercive gender inclusion in civil society’s private organizations is based on the ideological dictates of third-wave feminism and gender theory. Both of these doctrines are rooted in the myth that the difference between men and women is the ultimate social construct. The increasing presence of their tenets within America’s popular conscience has been guiding people and organizations, like the BSA, towards the compromising of their fundamental values. This trend is dreadfully eroding long-standing institutions for the sake of “inclusivity” and “diversity.” This decay is affecting the very foundations of our civilization as societal pillar after societal pillar collapses.

And so, the question stands: why is this change being imposed upon the Boy Scouts? There ought to be more pressure on the GSUSA to offer girls the opportunities the BSA apparently denies them. The Boy Scouts’ policy change and its “feminist” proponents disregard not only their values but also their sister organization. The GSUSA has long been a force for female empowerment and leadership development, but that is apparently insufficient for some of America’s gender activists. Of course, girls deserve the opportunity to mature in a single-sex setting, where their gender-specific developmental needs may be prioritized. A real female pioneer, Agnes Baden-Powell, understood like her brother that there are considerable differences in young boys and girls and that the two genders ought to be afforded the opportunity to learn and explore in separate environments.

There is a pragmatic argument that by accepting girls, the BSA can stave off a decades-long decline in their image and participation. In the late 20th-century, a slew of harrowing child sex abuse scandals led to the general disgrace of the Boy Scouts and accordingly, participation fell from around 5.5 million youths in 1987 to today’s level, which hovers slightly above 2 million. Through this change, the BSA is now competing with the GSUSA for membership, with the intention of cornering the Scouting market. It is also possible that BSA’s National Council think that by leading some egalitarian charge, they may able to rehabilitate the organization’s reputation.

Of course, that would be a foolish thought.

A return to glory for the Boy Scouts would necessitate a return to principle, a return to the values and traditions that made the Boy Scouts such a hallmark of American civil society. The BSA would have to commit itself once again to the advancement and development of boys, instead of faltering to pop-culture progressivism. An unwavering moral and societal imperative is the only thing that can restore the BSA’s character, integrity, and value. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the path that the National Council has chosen. Instead, they have selected a winding and rocky trail down into the forgotten annals of a resentful history, and it seems they have no intention of turning back.

Then, it is with great regret and sadness, that I must pronounce the death of the Boy Scouts of America.

  • Henry Williams

    Excellent work!

  • http://nstanosheck.blogspot.com/ Николай

    They are creating a separate program for girls. Girls are sheet in the BSA in the Sea Scouts, Exploring, Venturing, and STEM Scouts Programs. Girls are not joining the Boy Scouts Program, but a new program being created for girls only.

    • piper60

      The destruction of the old, popular, “green shirt”exploring program, a pastor the doomed 60’s attempt to get Scouting “with it.”In favor of a rather corporate model first recruited girls as members. Itdeveloped into a pre-career form in which female leaders and officers were logical. Sea Scouts, officially a part of the Exploring program, was draggedcalong fairly automatically. CubScouts had female leader from it inception, and the disastrous 1960 Boy Scout Revision, which minimized the traditional Scout out-doorsinesslost the BSA millions of youth members and thousands of disgusted adult volunteers, who turned out to be difficult to replace. Hence women as Scoutmasters and Troop Committee members.The repairof the program took a virtual coup de etate, but once the “social justice”nonsense was eliminated, the membership began to rebuild.
      By and large, women leaders and youth members have worked out rather well, at least in recruiting “professional scouters”who can now be enthusiastic about Scouting without bedescriminated against favor of failed insurance salesmen’s in the 60’s.The movement has survived remarkable challenges the past-NAZIs,
      Communists,Herst’s militaristsand the Roman Catholic Churchhaveall had a go at twisting the Scouts to fit their agenda. Only the lsgbt7JPC(Just Plain Confused)lobbies have even come close to success. it remains to be seen if the BSA can survive its own National Staff’s urge to fiddle with it!

  • piper60

    The spineless wonders at BSA Nationalare evidently adopting the Grand strategy they sold yo the Girl Scouts-uSA back in the 60’s- which ultimately destroyed them. it consists maximizing registration numbers order to cajole more money out of the United Way, which uses their goodwill and positive images freely while begging for contributions, but minimizes passing much of the cash received to the Scouts,their social-worker chosen “volunteer boards”having an invincible bias toward organizations which depend paid social worker staffs!In the GS-uSA that eventually led to the deliberate destructions of local councils which did not toe the UW’s line, followed by attempted sale of locally owned camps to real estate developers, so as to hire more social workers and thereby earn more handouts.The opinions of the original donors of the land were unwelcome and unsolicited.Volunteers who did not go along with the plan were driven out of the movement with gleeful ruthlessness,sometimeaccompanied by law suits!The BSA versioninitiallyb presented itself terms of selling the ca,psto hire more “professional scouters”who were said to equate to thousands of additional scout members. Councils with excellent programs, like Cambridge and Quincy, Mass. were harassed out of existence, others, like Boston were twisted like unto pretzels to please the United Way, changing their borderland experimenting with paid social workers in lieu of volunteer leaders, in some case destroying whole communities of long running, high quality units by draining their recruiting pools into the Boy’s and Girl’s clubs.
    Cambridge’s Camp Ted was sold for development, A similar attempt to clear cut Quincy’s Camp Massasoit was defeated only after a protracted legal struggle, and Boston went through a series of name changes and reorganizationsincluding sale of their HQ buildings and paying off the debts of their enormous Storer Scout Reservation, thereby making the 9donated)property even more attractive to developers!Theself-destructive pandering to the pervert agenda(s)may merely be a step toward “Last one out, please turn off the lights!”