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Scouts take note of differences and of equal opportunity

Scouts take note of differences and of equal opportunity

Dennis Wyatt


POSTED October 25, 2017 10:03 a.m.
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Boys and girls are different.

I realize for some that is a politically incorrect statement.

That's not to say that there are things that boys do that girls can't do and do better and vice versa.

It's just that the modern human race hasn't been around for 10,000 plus years by going against nature's grain.

The response to the Boy Scouts decision to allow girls to join the ranks of Cub Scouts - but not carte blanche - has been relatively mute given how most people who tend to protest such things for not being 100 percent politically correct are out of breath these days reacting to daily Tweets from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The new policy will allow girls between the ages of 6 and 10 to sign up for Cub Scouts starting in 2018. Cub Scout Dens - the smallest unit - will be single gender and typically meet once a week or twice a month. Packs, comprised of Dens, meet monthly. A program that essentially will provide a track for older girls to attain Eagle Scout status will start in 2019.

The beef the PC crowd has slammed Boy Scouts with is that for all practical purposes the genders are being kept separate. This apparently is a crime not against nature as much as it is an affront to those that believe it is cave man mentality of the vein - me man, you woman.

I am no expert on Scouting given my one and only year involved was as a 7-year-old klutz. I look back on the experience as a 61-year-old klutz thankful for my mother's insistence if I wanted to join I'd have to stick it out for at least a year. It's the same thing she told me when I begged her to let me play Little League. Most mothers obviously know their kids better than they let on.

While I spent my year in Little League being taunted by adult jerks in the stands that I threw the ball and swung the bat as if I was a girl while I was secretly wishing I could do just that - yes, I was that hopeless - my year as a Cub Scout was just as frustrating.

Given my hideous eyesight wasn't detected until a few years earlier, I reached 7 years of age with a somewhat different set of skills and social interactions. The fact I was constantly running into things, tripping heading to the creek with my older brothers and their friends, and couldn't catch anything tossed at me worth beans I wasn't exactly a typical kid. Toss in the fact I was left handed but everyone was trying to teach me to be right handed and it's safe to say I was a challenge for my Den Mother, Mrs. Seay, who lived two blocks away. She had the patience of Job in order to get me so I could tie a semi-normal basic knot. And while I had fairly thick bifocals by then years of running into door jams, tripping on stairs, and assorted other routine mishaps thanks to my inability to see the world as anything but a big blur had made me gun shy about basic stuff such as climbing trees and playing ball games.

It didn't help that I was a fat kid.

That said, besides in the structured setting of schools and interaction with cousins my age, it was the only time up until then I really got a chance to hang out with other guys my age. In doing so it kind of caught me up to speed on things. As a 7-year-old boy you are conscious somewhat of how you stack up against other 7-year-old boys. They didn't taunt me - even in Little League where it was clear I was a drag on the team and not a contribution. They were friends, we roughhoused, and let me be me.

The experience helped me grow even though after a year I could barely tie a knot and clearly I wasn't looking forward to become a Boy Scout so I could go camping.

It wouldn't have been the same if it had been a co-gender setting. Keep in mind I'm saying that as a guy who never quite fit into the mold. Not being able to be a boy around other boys my age would definitely have been a big loss for me.

The experience helped me figure out how I fit into the world. I wasn't a jock nor an outdoorsman no matter my daydreams.

With all of the world in a tizzy about transgenders, et al, being allowed to figure out who they are, the same courtesy should be extended to boys who are trying to figure out how to be a boy and girls who are trying to figure out how to be a girl.

It's not a one size fits all world. Never has been and never will be.

Having programs that are gender segregated aren't to protect egos of fragile young males or to block access. It's a chance to grow and to feel comfortable with oneself. A mixture of experiences in groups that are single gender or mixed gender allows a kid to see how the entire world is painted.

Some may argue that Boy Scouts took a cop-out move by going the middle of the world. I'd beg to differ. They've proven for the past 107 years in helping millions of young people learn respect for others, the value of good conduct, honesty, and how to get along with others that they have a firm grasp of what they are doing.

Scouting isn't about being politically correct. It's about fostering decent human behavior.

This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.

 

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