UK scouts actually learning to “be prepared”

by Violet Blue on October 20, 2008

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,

Violet Blue

The London Times named Violet Blue "One of the 40 bloggers who really count" and Self Magazine named TinyNibbles one of the “Best Sex Resources for Women.” Blue is an autodidact and pundit on sex and technology, hacking and security, porn for women, privacy and bleeding-edge tech culture. She is a journalist for ZDNet, CBS News, CNET; she's an educator, speaker, crisis counselor, volunteer NGO trainer, and the author and editor of over 40 award-winning books.

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1 JJ November 11, 2008 at 8:03 am

I took a photo of the girl scout poster in nova scotia. I posted it here.

2 Helen October 26, 2008 at 3:13 am

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!

3 John October 21, 2008 at 11:05 am

This reminds me of that brilliant poster printed in the sixties of a pregnant girl scout and the words “be prepared” underneath. Here’s the time article from ’69, but unfortunately I can’t find the image.,9171,901596,00.html

4 Joshua October 20, 2008 at 7:59 pm

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.”

5 Ewan October 20, 2008 at 4:06 pm

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.

6 violet October 20, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Ewan, thank you! this is so awesome, isn’t it?!

7 Ewan October 20, 2008 at 2:20 pm

oops and this is an article about it here as well,

I like that they have also decided to use an online directory of sites that they can ask further questions on.

8 Ewan October 20, 2008 at 2:19 pm

So Glad to see that something I spent so much time in (yes I’m a huge geek :p) is getting up to date and offering some real advice.

Violet, I found this pdf on the Scout site so this might be what the broken link was going to.

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