UK scouts actually learning to “be prepared”

The article’s link to the new sex ed guidelines issued by the Scout Association is broken (plz fix, thx!), but the article about the Boy/Girl Scouts’ decision to give sexual health advice and condoms when needed is pretty astounding in what it means to teaching kids survival skills — and how sadly it reflects on public sex education for people under 18. Go Scouts! Snip:

Scouts will for the first time will be given sexual health advice and may be issued with condoms under new guidelines issued by the Scout Association (PDF). The guidelines are aimed mainly at leaders of explorer scouts, aged 14-18, who may take their charges to visit sexual health clinics “to break illusions about what these services are and improve the uptake of advice”.

The chief scout, Peter Duncan, said: “We must be realistic and accept that around a third of young people are sexually active before 16 and many more start relationships at 16 and 17.

“Scouting touches members of every community, religious and social group in the country so adults in scouting have a duty to promote safe and responsible relationships and, as an organisation, we have the responsibility to provide sound advice about how to do that.” The scouting movement has about 400,000 young members in Britain, approximately 85% of them boys.

The association said the sexual health guidance was designed to help young people develop the confidence, maturity and self-esteem to resist peer pressure to be sexually active until they are ready to make safe and informed decisions. 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”.

Contraception can only be offered to scouts if without it “their physical or mental health are likely to suffer”, the guidance adds. Scout leaders should also “encourage young people to resist pressure to have early sex” and encourage them to talk to their parents or carers. But they “should be prepared to offer appropriate information” if needed.

The Scouting Association said young people might feel more comfortable discussing sexual issues in the informal setting of a scouts group.

Amy Brunsdon, 17, an Explorer scout, said: “It is so much more meaningful to discuss these issues with people of our own age and in a context we know we can trust.” (…read more,

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  1. The tag line for Venturers (14-17yos) in Australia in the early 90s was “Venturers Do It In The Bush”. They changed it after too many Venturers were found… doing it in the bush. Ah, weekend getaways – that’s where I got my education!

  2. The irony for me is as such: I spent over a decade in scouts as a child. Once in college I was known for always having and using condoms, when asked why I made the scout sign and said “Always be prepared.”

  3. Yeah. It’s fantastic that they have introduced this. When I was in the scouts it was still a little old fashioned in that I learned a lot especially camping, knots (which I’ll admit has come in usefull ;) ) and map reading, so it makes me happy to see that they are also teaching them new skills that will help them along in life and educate them as well, since Education is really the only way to combat a problem such as STD’s and the pretty damn high teen pregnancy rate. Though I’d be willing to bet that most of the pregnant teens weren’t in Scouts in the first place.

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