Girls to be Admitted into Boy Scouts
Boy Scouts of America voted on Wednesday to begin admitting girls into their Cub Scouts program, and come up with a program for older girls so that they could earn the rank of Eagle Scout. But they will still maintain the single-gender model for cub scouting, and create a program for older girls.
From the BSA News release:
Today, the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into its iconic Cub Scout program and to deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout. The historic decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls, the organization evaluated the results of numerous research efforts, gaining input from current members and leaders, as well as parents and girls who’ve never been involved in Scouting – to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children.
“This decision is true to the BSA’s mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law. The values of Scouting – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example – are important for both young men and women,” said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive. “We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children. We strive to bring what our organization does best – developing character and leadership for young people – to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders.”
Beginning in 2018, Cub Scout programs will be allowed to create either girl dens and/or boy dens. Their intent was stated as helping busy families. The program they intend to create for girls to reach the rank of Eagle Scout will be available by 2019.
But all is not cheery in Scouting Camelot: Their action has caused some friction with Girls Scouts of America. GSUSA President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan accused the BSA of courting girls to boost their enrollment numbers, which have fallen dramatically in recent years – from a high of 6.5 million in 1972, to just 2.3 million in 2016.
“Rather than seeking to fundamentally transform BSA into a co-ed program, we believe strongly that Boy Scouts should instead take steps to ensure that they are expanding the scope of their programming to all boys, including those who BSA has historically underserved and underrepresented, such as African American and Latino boys.” Kathy Hannan
Whether this is simply a “sign of the times” or an attempt to change or fix something that wasn’t broken, we can only hope they won’t lose the powerful leadership skill building that has always been within the ranks of Boy Scouts.
“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” Boy Scouts
Girl Scouts are to build “courage, confidence, and character,” and the girls are to be “honest and fair, friendly and helpful.”