Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Sex Education For Scouts

The Scouting Movement is going to teach its members about sexual health to try and combat the high rates of teenage pregnancy and STIs in the UK. The guidelines for leaders set out what's appropriate for them to teach and when they should get professionals in, as well as providing resources to help them.

The Scouts still insist that new members make a Promise to do their duty to God/Allah/My dharma and so on with no non-religious alternative. But the guidelines lay down that any teaching about sex and sexuality must be strictly factual and secular, whatever the beliefs of the Scout leaders.

The guidelines state that ‘As adults in Scouting, it is important that, regardless of our own faith and values, we offer appropriate guidance to young people. All young people are entitled to information and advice to allow them to make informed choices’ and ‘Whilst some Scout Groups are sponsored by religious bodies this should not be a barrier to providing appropriate advice, information and guidance to young people in line with Scout Association Policies’.

The Scouting Movement is sensitive to the beliefs of young people (and their parents) but its website pragmatically comments ‘Throughout history religion has provided society with a great deal of information about sexuality. Many of these societies subsequently used this information to create laws regulating sex. However, it is important that these laws are seen in their historical context’.

In other words, times change and the Scout Movement is taking responsibility for seeing that its members are not kept in the Dark Ages. It recognises the role of faith but it values and promotes the role of facts. It’s promising to see that their motto ‘Be Prepared’ now applies to preparing young people for this aspect of adult life along with the more traditional scouting activities. It's not indicated if they will get badge for it, though.

The factsheets can be downloaded here.

1 comment:

  1. I recall that my Scout leader actively encouraged some of the boys to participate in non-traditional activities but his forward thinking was sadly misunderstood by the authorities. :-D