The Boy Scouts of America announced Oct. 11 that in 2018, girls would be allowed to participate in Scouting the same as boys can as a way to meet the needs of modern families. On its website the BSA says:
Starting in the 2018 program year, families can choose to sign up their sons and daughters for Cub Scouts. Existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack. Cub Scout dens will be single-gender—all boys or all girls. Using the same curriculum as the Boy Scouts program, the organization will also deliver a program for older girls, which will be announced in 2018 and [is] projected to be available in 2019, that will enable them to earn the Eagle Scout rank. This unique approach allows the organization to maintain the integrity of the single-gender model while also meeting the needs of today’s families.
Wow. As a former Scout, I did not see this coming, especially from such a conservative organization like the BSA.
My first thought after hearing about the change: BSA is going to have to change its name to just SA, I guess.
My second thought: What’s wrong with Girl Scouts? What’s wrong with the way things are? I need to read more about this to see why it’s happening.
My third thought: Was my second thought sexist? I hope not.
My fourth thought: Upon reading more about it, the change is for a good reason and is based on research and trying to keep children active while making it easier for parents:
Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners, and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing. Additionally, many groups currently underserved by Scouting, including the Hispanic and Asian communities, prefer to participate in activities as a family. Recent surveys of parents not involved with Scouting showed high interest in getting their daughters signed up for programs like Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, with 90 percent expressing interest in a program like Cub Scouts and 87 percent expressing interest in a program like Boy Scouts. Education experts also evaluated the curriculum and content and confirmed relevancy of the program for young women.
My fifth thought: Should the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts simply merge at this point? Wouldn’t that be the equivalent of what the BSA is attempting?
My sixth thought: Few, if any, youth organizations out there have the funding and reach BSA does, and surely those organizations struggle at times to have enough resources. Including girls in the many BSA programs that are relevant to them, too, is a good thing. And I’m a proponent of change when warranted: We can’t always do things one way simply because that’s the way we have always done them.
My seventh thought: Organizations have to evolve to stay relevant. Kids have way more options today for activities than I did 25 years ago, and maybe this is the next natural step for the BSA to survive. Plus, having girls/young women around could be good for boys/young men. Perhaps the BSA could strengthen education on interacting with and respecting the opposite sex by bringing the boys and girls together sometimes? And maybe potential transgender Scouts would have an easier time participating if they could choose which group they wanted to join?
My eighth thought: If this change is a way to strengthen families, further bolster young women/girls and make life easier for parents, how can I be against it? Even though it’s a break from about 100 years of tradition, I support this move by BSA. The more I think of it, the more I support it.
My ninth thought: Young Andy would have totally embarrassed himself around girls during possible coed activities if girls would have been in Scouting when I was young. I was a total goofball.
What do you think about this change?