The annual “Friends of Scouting” fundraiser has me thinking about scouting again – and the huge gulf it creates between LDS boys and LDS girls in terms of available funds and awareness. This gulf bothers me now, but it hasn’t always.
Because I have no brothers, scouting was always a distant “program” that the boys my age attended on Wednesday nights; I knew very little about it. I grew up in an area which was deep in Mormon culture and tradition. I knew that boys went on high adventure trips and girls didn’t – and that was that.
Now I see (and feel) more keenly the differences between the Young Men (Scouting) program and the Young Women program – and I think it unfortunate and unfair. When the “Friends of Scouting” donation envelopes are passed around in church (another thing that bothers me), I carefully take down the name and address of the man who’s heading the effort for the year and mail him a letter explaining why there is no money included from me. It’s a nice letter explaining my disappointment with the practice of gathering funds in church for a community program and my further disappointment that none of the fund go to the Young Women of the ward. I send the same letter to the Bishop and add a line of support for anything he can do to increase awareness for the Young Woman’s program.
There have been times when I wished the scouting program would be discontinued in the church, but I’m not sure I feel that way now. I have no sons, so it’s hard to tell the impact the program has – for good – on our boys. Many of friends who are mothers tell me it’s been very valuable to their sons and they are in full support of keeping it around for the benefit of other young men.