Institutionalized Gender Inequality Starts in the Church at Age 8…
…when our boys got into Cub Scouts and our girls begin attending Activity Days.
|Program Accoutrements||A Wolf Cub Scout (8 year old Boy)||An 8 Year Old Activity Days Girl|
|Uniform||$35.99 (including patches)||None|
|Handbook||$8.99 Cub Scout book + Faith in God||Faith in God|
|Awards||$1.23 per pin; $1-$4 per patch; $1.50 per belt loop*||None|
|Academic Year Programming||Weekly meetings with dens and an end of the month pack meeting where awards are given to boys||No more than two times a month (see Primary handbook)|
|Summer Programming||Monthly pack meetings and a 3 day Cub Scout Day Camp**||No more than two times a month (see Primary handbook)|
|Leadership Ratio||4:1||No requirement|
|Leadership Protection||Background checks and Youth Protection Training are required of all Scouting leaders||No requirement|
|Cost per participant per year||$150 (this includes the expenses listed above, Day Camp, Pinewood Derby and other programming costs)||$10 (supplies for bi-weekly activities)|
Recently, I was called to be a Cub Scout master for my stake. I’m am happy to be in this calling. I love the boys in our program. We have amazing den leaders. And, I’m grateful that the Church is providing a program that many of our boys could not afford (as seen in the chart above) without the Church’s assistance.
I have mentioned before my issues with the Boy Scouts of America. The bureaucracy, homophobia, and salaries/pension plans upset me. But, I have to say that the BSA Cub Scout program is admirable. The program gets boys to go outside their comfort zones and try new skills. The activities get my son to see there’s more to life than Xbox (even when he as he completes the requirements of the Video Gaming pin). He sees attributes like loyalty, obedience, kindness, and trust outside of our usual spiritual context.
Right now, we’re getting ready for Day Camp, and even though it’ll be three days of us all outside from 2 pm to 10 pm in Phoenix, Arizona, I know that our Cub Scouts will have opportunities to learn skills that they can’t learn in school or church.
There are so many leaders in my stake who are going to heroic efforts to get our Cub Scouts to have a great experience, and they’re mostly women–like the branch Primary president who drives to the homes of boys who don’t have phones as she tries to pick them up for weekly den meetings or the Stake Primary presidency who I can frantically text, asking her to bring ice 5 minutes before a pack meeting. She pulls out of the building parking lot and goes to Circle K, as she also gets the stake to call and set apart the leaders we need.
Let me be clear here. Though I don’t love the BSA, I do not want Cub Scouts taken away from our boys. I only ask that we have the same level of programming and funding be available on a Church-wide basis for our girls.
Because I can’t help but think about the Activity Day girls. (Starfoxy served these girls for several years and posted some of her lesson plans here and wrote about a combined Pinewood Derby event in her stake and the feelings it brought up for her.)
- Why can’t we have this sort of programming for them?
- What message does this send to our Activity Day girls?
- What message does this send to the sisters of Cub Scouts who attend the monthly pack meeting?
- What message does this send to our Cub Scouts?
We see sexism often in Church beginning in nursery. But, it seems ironic that we ask our children to make their baptismal covenants the same year we have also have gender-specific program that sadly, makes a statement about who we value.
*Cub Scouts generally earn one of these each month.
**This is our stake’s program and varies by location.