So the BIG news this week south of the 49th is that Boy Scouts of America is allowing Girls in Scouting! Well that took them awhile!!!
Did you know that Scouts Canada started going Co-Ed in 1976? By the 1998 many of the outdated rules and regulations had been turned over forming a truly gender-less youth scouting organization. While more stringent safety screening and procedures were also put in place to protect all youth.
Many people are probably aware that Scouting was started by English Military Officer Robert Baden-Powell in 1906. He wrote military manuals and taught military men how to spy and scout out enemy military bases and camps. When he retired he wrote books. Lots of books. One of these books was a how to manual for youth 11-15 years old on survival skills in camping, environmental protection, music, entertainment and military scouting. He wanted to test his ideas so he gathered a group of interested youth and took them on a camping trip to a local island in England to practice training from his book. The book “Scouting for Boys” was a world wide success. Scouting Groups began to form in many countries in the decade to follow. Cubs and Beavers were created as the desire of younger and younger boys to get involved developed. Lord Baden-Powell encouraged his sister, Agnes to help organize a Girl Scouts or Girl Guides program in England to answer the cries for equality. He recognized the need for female empowerment to rebuild the British Empire! This femaninstic idea too, took off around the world as early as 1908. The individual groups followed their own independent pathway and paid passing homage to the founders. Scouts Canada formed independent of the Boy Scouts of America as did the Girl Guides of Canada in and around 1909.
Scouts Canada today not only openly accepts boys and girls into the organization, they are also aware and supportive of many of the socially diverse groups in the community. They do not discriminate against race, gender, ethnicity, financial ability, sexual orientation, religion, disability or age. Scouts Canada recognize that the Girl Guides of Canada runs a different program then Scouts Canada does. Scouts Canada has reviewed the content and actively incorporates aspects of many other organizations into the development of the Scouts Canada program to remain all inclusive and relevant.
So the BIG NEWS this week in the United States of America that B.S.A. is stealing from the Girl Scouts and the Girl Guides is something that should have happened many years ago. The organizations like many youth organizations have witnessed a decrease in membership. Perhaps the organizations should look at their similarities and try to find common ground. Dare I suggest a merger? Scouts Canada might have actually had a small role in this B.S.A. decision when last year we gave an honorary Scouts Canada Scout distinction to a young lady from the U.S.A. She was being denied access to the B.S.A. program because she was a girl and we thought that was not very Canadian.
We are a society that needs to recognize our differences as strengths and not weaknesses. We need to teach all youth the joy of being outdoors and how to survive in times of need. To Be Prepared. Respect our planet and it’s resources. To work as a team. To lead when needed and to follow when necessary. To be kind to all. Scouts Canada is so Canadian it should be covered in Maple Syrup!