“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” (The Boy Scout Oath)
And now they are going to be sexually educated.
Here’s an article from the Daily Record (UK):
Oct 20 2008 By Jasper Copping
BOY Scouts are set to be offered condoms and taken on trips to sexual health clinics.
But the new guidlines by the Scout Association have angered traditionalists.
The SA suggest visits to sex clinics for explorer scouts, aged 14 to 18.
The new policy will apply to all age groups, aged 10 and up. But leaders of beavers and cubs – for kids aged six to 10 – are told that it’s unlikely they will need to take “positive action”.
The Chief Scout, former Blue Peter star Peter Duncan, said: “We must be realistic and accept that around a third of young people are sexually active before 16. We have a duty to promote safe and responsible relationships.”
The new guidance says scout leaders can give out condoms but “only if they believe the young person is very likely to begin or continue having intercourse with or without contraception”. It says leaders should “encourage young people to resist pressure to have early sex”.
A visit to, or by, a sexual health clinic may help to “break illusions”.
The association acted after last year’s centenary World Jamboree in Essex, attended by around 40,000 boys and girls. Leaders asked for guidance on how to deal with requests from the youngsters for advice on sex.
In his book Scouting For Boys, the movement’s founder Lord Baden Powell advised any boys who feel sexual urges to “wash your parts in cold water and cool them down”.
He later wrote that young men should not indulge “primitive sexual urges” but should put their energies into “hiking and the enjoyment of the out-of-door manly activities” rather than “aimless loafing and smutty talks”.
Yesterday, ex-shadow health secretary Ann Widdecombe said: “This is not what parents expect of the Scout Association. They are sending their children off to a leisure activity, not for sex education.”
But Beverley Hughes, Minister for Young People, said: “We warmly welcome this new sexual health guide.”
There are no plans to award badges for sex education.
Growing up in a rural area in southern New England, I have fond memories of the Boy Scouts. I was a Cub Scout for several years, then grew too old for that sort of thing. But I joined the Boy Scouts when I was 13 because one in particular spent a lot of time hiking and camping – which was a great excuse to spend a lot of time away from home.
I stayed in until I was almost 18, which seemed particularly uncool in the 1970s, but as we had a very unconventional troop, it was okay. When the scoutmaster had to retire for medical reasons, the two or three of us who were older took over his duties – not unlike the situation in the movie Stripes. I learned first aid, survival camping techniques, marksmanship (back in the pre-PC days when you could touch a rifle outside of a museum), and how to keep one’s cool under disadvantageous circumstances. For instance, how to hide the weed and Boone’s Farm wine when the regional director showed up for surprise inspections.
The Scouts get a bad rap when people make jokes about pedophile scoutmasters and campfire circle jerks; I never saw any of that, nor did I even hear any rumors to that effect in my district. For the most part, the scouts were just normal guys who enjoyed hiking, camping, and doing something more interesting than hanging out at the local schoolyard trying to sneak a smoke. I imagine that it’s much different today now that most kids have all sorts of things with which to occupy their time.
And that whole gay scoutmaster flap a few years ago? The Scouts are run by adults, and troops are generally tied in with a local elementary school or a church. Like most youth organizations, they barely have enough people willing to volunteer their time and resources to be troop leaders. The kids themselves don’t care who takes them hiking, canoing, or to the Jamborees, they just want to have fun. It was only a matter of time before the organization figured out their priorities.
Many years ago, the Scout Handbook mentioned, with regard to masturbation, that while it might feel exciting to young boys, it would eventually “cause them to worry,” that is, to feel guilty and preoccupied. And while I’m opposed in principle to organizations sexually educating children without the consent of parents (for instance, public schools), the fact that these are young teen boys in a groups in which their parents can remove them (should they be morally opposed) does not strike me as a major issue. I imagine what will strike most people, though, is the seeming disconnect between the idea (ideal?) of a squeaky clean, morally upright Scout learning about condoms.
The sooner we, as a society, can kick off the notion that morality is tied to sexuality (or more specifically, sexual enjoyment among consenting partners), the better off we will all be.