The formerly all boys organization announces they will now accept girls into the Boy Scouts program
By Daniela Wainfor ’18
No longer do girls have cooties or are subjected to the invisible “no girls allowed” sign on the door of Boy Scout dens.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have undergone major changes in the past such as accepting openly gay members and transgender members. On Oct. 11, 2017, the BSA released an official statement allowing girls to become Cub scouts and, starting in 2019, Eagle Scouts as well.
The Boy’s and Girl’s organizations don’t just consist of earning badges and selling treats—what really sets these two organizations apart is the fact that they have been traditionally gender specific for so long. However, what makes them similar is the fact that both of these organizations give boys and girls the opportunity to earn the highest level of achievement. For boys, it’s becoming an Eagle Scout and for girls, it’s always been the Golden Award which is reached through similar means as becoming an Eagle Scout.
The BSA released this statement in hopes that it would appeal specifically to Hispanic and Asian American families who are underserved.
“This unique approach allows the organization to maintain the integrity of the single gender model while also meeting the needs of today’s families,” BSA said.
This recent change that breaks almost a century old’s tradition has gotten a lot of high praise from Boy Scout volunteer leaders.
“It’s great to be able to give girls a similar experience to what the boys in the Boy Scouting program are doing,” said David Latimer, an adult volunteer in West Berlin, NJ.
However, along with the praise, the recent policy change has also raised backlash from both the Girls and Boys scouts communities. Senior Ben Brewster, who is now a proud Eagle Scout, has been involved in the BSA program since kindergarten, and believes in the tradition of the two separate programs.
“I think that the two organizations should be kept separately just because of the titles and I think the exclusivity of the Eagle Scout rank is what makes it so rare,” said Brewster.
But most of the criticism that stems from this change comes from the Girl Scouts of America (GSA). President of the Girl Scouts, Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, wrote a demanding letter to the president of the Boy Scouts, Randall Stephenson.
“I formally request that your organization stay focused on serving the 90 percent of American boys not currently participating in Boy Scouts … and not consider expanding to recruit girls,” wrote Hannan.
Laurie Marino, vice president of marketing and communications at Girl Scouts of Ohio’s heartland was more neutral in her response to the BSA statement.
“The inclusive, girl-centric environment offered by Girl Scouts creates a safe space where girls are free to try new things, develop a range of skills, take on leadership roles, and just be themselves,” said Marino.
Although the girl-inclusive statement from the BSA has welcomed positive feedback, it has also brought up an overwhelming amount of negative criticism from both the Girl and Boy scouts organizations, but alas the invisible “no girls allowed” sign has been taken down.