Last week the United Kingdom Scouting Association announced that they'll begin offering their wards practical advice on safe sex, in an effort to encourage young people to "resist pressure to have early sex." Reportedly this will involve field trips to sexual health clinics, amongst other things, which we presume to mean "instructions on how to fabricate a prophylactic out of a pine cone and some paraffin wax."
*I should also note here that although they have shared roots, the UK Scouting Association is most definitely separate from the Boy Scouts of America, an organization so conservative that I think they're now teaching that the Earth is only about 30 years old.
One of the motivating factors held up by Scout leaders for this decision is the large percentage of British teenagers who have an STD. Teenagers are already pretty gross, and having actually spent some time living in England, I can confirm that teenage boys there are probably the most appalling creatures in the world. That they're also ridden with disease surprises me not in the slightest, and is almost enough to make me feel sorry for the teenage girls there, were they not the second most appalling creatures in the world.
I wonder too how effective this training will be. Unless things have changed recently, aren't the Scouts the refuge of the squarest kids imaginable? Any young man more interested in knot-work or archery than teenage girls or driving around in shitty cars is probably not, as they say, "celebrated by a large quantity of his peers." I don't doubt that somewhere out there are attractive, charismatic young men who happen to enjoy the outdoors and the structure of proto-militaristic organizations. But they surely must be a rare breed, like the Yeti, or Count Chocula. The sort of teen likely to even be in the Scouts long enough to get a merit badge in deep dickin' is probably the least likely to need it.
I don't understand entirely how the British school system works, but aren't they already teaching sex ed? Although it's dangerous to assume that the whole world discovered boobies the same time I did, I can't be the first observer to point out the incredible sexualization of the western world over the last twenty years. Sex is everywhere, and the kids know about it. So the odds of teaching a teenager anything new about sex must be pretty slim. Maybe the problem is that English teenagers already know all this, but are also really stupid? Just throwing it out there.
It is good to see the Scouts trying to modernize however. The original mandate of the Scouts was to aid in the development of youths mental and physical abilities to help craft them into useful members of society. A hundred years ago, when mankind was only just barely out of the caves, this mainly meant being able to build campfires, make wooden cars, and tie ropes of differing girths together. But as civilization developed canned meats and celebrity game shows, much of the original skills provided by the Scouts have been rendered useless. Seeing as they're evidently updating the curriculum, here's a few more suggestions for programs the Scouts could teach the hoodlums of today to be more productive members of society, or at the very least, more spectacular flameouts.
How to clean spyware off your parents computer.
How to deal with a crazy person on the bus.
How to build your own PVR.
How to buy clothes that fit.
How to tell people you're in the Scouts without getting beaten up.
How to play Counterstrike for 16 straight hours without using the toilet.
How to stop liking such terrible music.
How to get pay pornography for free.
How to tell which guy in a club will sell you drugs.
How to know when a girl is lying about her age.
How to drink 12 alcopops then harass a Bangladeshi shop owner.
How to hotwire a 1992 Renault Clio.
How to turn a newspaper into an effective weapon.
How to avoid being tried in adult court.
How to grow the fuck up.