Can you spot the difference between the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts science workshops?



i teach 6th grade science in texas. i have girls who excel in science and those who don’t. same with the boys. i work hard to encourage all of them to engage the world scientifically, to measure effectively, to reason logically, and to think critically and creatively. i’ve never seen any substantial differences based on race or gender that prevents a kid from doing those things and doing them well given opportunities to experience them in an interesting setting. why oh why do so many people and groups want to squander the talents that are there for the developing?


For people who don’t typically bother to click through: That image is only cutoff in that it doesn’t show the program description. “Science with a Sparkle” is all about the chemistry of make-up, and it’s the only program offered to Girl Scouts. The museum claims they’ve previously offered other choices, but no one was interested.

Sounds like the museum should have worked harder at talking to the Scout Leaders - after all, the scouts don’t pick the programs they attend themselves.


Those appalled by this might also want to consider if the Girl Scout Program themselves are to blame. From my limited experience, the Boy Scout program is far better oriented to this kind of thing than the Girl Scouts are. The Boy Scouts badges problem map directly to this program. I wonder though - why do we still have to have separate Boy and Girl scouts anyway?

They’re not government entities and, on the whole, that’s made the GSUSA a better organization than the BSA. I guarantee this is not the fault of the Girl Scouts.


They are actually distinct and unrelated organizations. I suppose one could change their name and mission to just “The Scouts” or “Youth Scouts” in an attempt to expand membership, but I don’t get the impression that either is interested in doing so.

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The gendering of scouting is a terrible thing. In what other fields are men and women segregated?

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I’m sure there is lots of local variations, but where I live the Boy Scouts program is far more robust. Our Girl Scout leader had to really go off-book to get away from so much glittery crafts. We had a great time, but felt off-program.

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Yes. They should.

My wife and I are pretty disenchanted with both the boy and girl scouts due to our respective childhood experiences (and yeah, I know a lot of people had good experiences, so no need for happy scouts to go on the defensive). With a young girl in the family, we’ve been looking into the Campfire organization , which seems to offer a much more inclusive program.


I get that the boy scouts and girl scouts are different organisations, but does that mean the centre has to follow the distinction? It seems like an artificial barrier for them. Why not just offer science sessions for scouts, and let the organisations work out who’s interested in what. You might even get a boy scout doing science with a sparkle!

Although probably not, it sounds shit.


Regarding Girl Scout-specific programming, we have struggled when it comes to enrollments for our Girl Scout programs. In the past, we have offered engineering, chemistry, and robotics programming for Girl Scouts. We created programming to go along with the new Journeys that Girl Scouts use. Unfortunately, no troops signed up for these. The programs that consistently get enrollments are “Science with a Sparkle” and our Sleepovers at the museum.

I got involved with the First Lego League competition last year and there were plenty of girls involved (in fact, the best team we saw were, I think, a girl scout group). If groups aren’t signing up, it’s definitely because of the troop leaders, not the kids.

I was pretty disenchanted by the competition though. Mostly because of the way the adults judged the competition, they mostly didn’t seem to care about the robots or the engineering that had gone into them - the kids were great but oddly, the quality of your robot doesn’t seem to count for shit in a robotics competition.


Most scouting organizations (internationally) don’t have separate genders.


That’s kinda what I figured. I posted to make sure all the blame didn’t fall on the museum by default. Most museums rely heavily on volunteer staffing, and they can’t provide staff or supplies for special events if no one signs up for them. Continued low turn out will get events cancelled.

Hopefully, this news coming to the internet and pointing out the need for equal education opportunities for girls will help get things back on track!

All I know is, if I ever do have children, they won’t be entering the boy scouts unless the BSA changes it’s religious requirements. I say this as an Eagle, who had a great experience in scouting, and enjoyed growing up in a very inclusive troop that didn’t worry so much about making sure everyone went to church and such. I just don’t feel it’s right to support the BSA while it excludes atheists, and prohibits gay parents from having leadership positions in the troops. That’s just wrong.

My troop never taught me to exclude people, or shame people, or make anyone feel unwanted. We always focused on service and charity, and inclusivity for everyone. It was honestly a shock to me to see the policies the BSA officially holds at the national level once I had been out of scouting several years and had the resources to look at the whole organization.

I can’t say I’ve had any experience with the girl scouts further than buying their cookies, but if their charter is any indication, I’d be happy to encourage a daughter to be a girl scout.

But more likely than not, I’d probably just do my best to teach my kids everything I know, about woodcraft, and all the various things I learned in the BSA. Survival and such. As well as encourage them to participate in after school social stuff. Sports, and summer camps, and band/orchestra, it’s all really good stuff. I’ve never once regretted playing tuba in my high school band. I don’t care that it’s dorky, it’s a bloody fun instrument.


Thanks for saying so. Two of my cousins (who are both wonderful men) are both Eagle Scouts, and they also belonged to an inclusive troop, but the BSA’s charter allows discrimination at all activity levels. It’s a strange dichotomy.

I don’t know, it is kind of a mixed bag. My sister and I were both in boy/girl scouts and our dad/mom were the respective scout masters. The boy scouts, of course, have the problem with gays which the girl scouts don’t. (I would note that our boy scout troop basically ignored anything that wasn’t related to camping and earning merit badges.)

On the other hand, the girl scouts required insurance for any troop field trip. That extra cost cut out a lot of non-family camping trips for my sister and probably reduces other kinds of activities too.

Apropos of the actual program, when I was a kid I went to the (unisex) robotics program as the Carnegie Science Center’s predecessor (Buhl planetarium). It was pretty awesome. We built robot kits and played with a physical LOGO turtle; at least partly run by students at Carnegie Mellon.

I am pretty sure the barrier is that these programs are designed around the merit badges / advancement programs for the specific organization. The museum offers non-gendered science programs for everyone, whether or not they are members of a scouting organization.

These types of programs are driven by demand. People who develop programs at museums like this really care about getting kids interested in science, and reaching as broad a base as possible. If it takes sparkles to reach a population that might not otherwise participate in any science programs, I say good for them.

Or we could say they have to stop offering any scouting based programs because they reveal inequality in our society. Less people will participating in science programs, and everybody can lose together.


I remember one year at scout camp, I was assigned to be the assistant for one of our scouts who suffered from severe ADHD, as well as behavioral issues. When I say severe, I mean that the #2 and #3 most hyper kids after him couldn’t keep up and thought he was some kind of nuclear powered harassment machine. He was maybe 13 at the time, and I was about 16, and I felt very slighted by having to follow this kid around, clean up his messes, disband any fights he got into, the whole nine yards. It was my duty, assigned by the scout master, to make sure that this kid was able to have a good scout camp experience.

I’m pretty sure the scout master knew that I was the one who would get the most out of the forced proximity and service. I learned that I have patience, and that my sense of duty to others is strong, and that it isn’t a bad thing to have an obligation. My charge was so used to people ignoring him, that he was constantly acting out, but with me there, he was able to slow down once every few hours and let me know what was going on in his head. He benefitted a lot from someone being there to listen to him, and watch his back.

I can’t say we were friends, but we were definitely able to understand each other better, and I think we both gained some empathy, and we were able to both have a good time at scout camp after the first few days of adjusting to the routine.

I was actually pretty well known at the time for being a short tempered guy. I had a knack for saying deeply hurtful things to people when they started annoying me. And I was able to curb my sharp tongue during this experience as well.


[quote=“peemlives, post:7, topic:42225, full:true”]The gendering of scouting is a terrible thing. In what other fields are men and women segregated?[/quote]Professional sports?

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