You might’ve heard that the Boy Scouts of America unanimously decided to begin accepting girls to join all of their scouting programs from Cub Scouts to Eagle Scouts. While many are praising their decision for being inclusive and progressive, you may be surprised to learn that the Girl Scouts are clearly unhappy that the Boy Scouts don’t seem to care about the gender of their future recruits.
The Girl Scouts quickly posted a lengthy statement on their official blog that provides a wide range of reasons that suggest their organization is the superior organization for girls. “Girl Scouts is the best girl leadership organization in the world, created with and for girls,” the statement read. “We believe strongly in the importance of the all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides, which creates a free space for girls to learn and thrive.”
It went on to say, “The benefit of the single-gender environment has been well-documented by educators, scholars, other girl- and youth-serving organizations, and Girl Scouts and their families. Girl Scouts offers a one-of-a-kind experience for girls with a program tailored specifically to their unique developmental needs.”
“The need for female leadership has never been clearer or more urgent than it is today—and only Girl Scouts has the expertise to give girls and young women the tools they need for success,” the statement concluded.
The article continues by claiming that former Girl Scouts are better educated and have more success in their careers, have more confidence in themselves and their abilities, and that in the U.S., 90 percent of female astronauts, 80 percent of female tech leaders, 75 percent of current senators, and all U.S. secretaries of State are Girl Scout alumnae.
In addition to the many compelling arguments about how the Girl Scouts are the best place for girls, the organization went on to detail why young women should absolutely not join the Boy Scouts to ABC News:
The Boy Scouts’ house is on fire. Instead of addressing systemic issues of continuing sexual assault, financial mismanagement, and deficient programming, BSA’s senior management wants to add an accelerant to the house fire by recruiting girls.
It is incredibly rare to hear any club as established as the Girl Scouts talking so openly and with so much passion about limiting membership to a certain gender in this day and age, especially when it makes so much sense to keep boys in the Boy Scouts and girls in the Girl Scouts. Seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? In any case, these are the latest details regarding how the Boy Scouts will change to accommodate female scouts in the coming years:
Starting in 2018, girls will be able to become Cub Scouts, and preexisting groups will have the choice of becoming all-girl, all-boy, or a mixture of both. The Boy Scouts are planning to announce a special program that will allow older girls to become Eagle Scouts, which is planned to be implemented in 2019. Although mixed-gender overnight trips have already been preemptively prohibited, it is expected that the curriculum and activities will remain the same for boy and girl scouts “to maintain the integrity of the single gender model while also meeting the needs of today’s families.” I should note that the Boy Scouts have been offering co-ed programs such as the Exploring and the Venturing program and STEM Scout pilot program since 1971.
Michael Surbaugh, the Boy Scouts of America’s chief scout executive, praised his organization’s choice to encourage girls to join the Boy Scouts in an official press release:
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. 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.
This isn’t the first time that the Boy Scouts took a controversial stance on allowing scouts with different genders to join their formerly biologically male exclusive club this year. The Boy Scouts officially began accepting transgender boys as members in January, but the Girl Scouts have welcomed transgender girls since 2015. The Girl Scouts’ policy on transgender girls is clearly laid out on their website:
…if the child is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe.
By the way, if you’re a parent who appreciates the core concepts of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, but you aren’t impressed with the direction that either group is headed in, don’t worry — there are a few alternative scout-like programs out there for your kids, including the Frontier Girls, Columbian Squires, and Royal Rangers, just to name a few. They might not sell cookies, which rake in approximately 1 billion dollars for the Girl Scouts each year, but at least you have some alternatives!