Boy scouts opens program to girls

National organization changes policy in historic move

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Photo by Breanan Cranford

Story by Abril Alvarado, staff writer

The Boy Scouts of America announced Oct. 11 it will soon allow girls to join the organization as Cub Scouts and earn the rank of Eagle Scout, marking a significant policy shift in the organization’s history. The BSA said its historic decision to include girls came after years of receiving requests from families and girls wanting to include them in the program.

“The values of Scouting (trustworthy loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example) are important for both young men and women,” Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh said in his statement. “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.”

A statement from the Boy Scouts claimed that the move reflect the changing nature of American life. However, the backlash has not stopped since the announcement surfaced. Not only are the media and non-troop members in disagreement with the decision of the BSA, but members of the Boy Scouts themselves have made comments about the unanimous vote.

“Personally, I don’t think that this is a good idea,” Eagle Scout Hayden Fant said. “I have been in Scouts since I was little. I have about 100 merit badges and about nine Eagle Palms. [Girl Scouts] have pushed so hard to get into Boy Scouts, like they have said that Girl Scouts are so bad, then why not put all that energy to make Girl Scouts better? The BSA was made to make boys into men not to make girls into men.”

The announcement, however, received push-back from the Girl Scouts of the USA, recently criticizing the Boy Scouts for considering opening its doors for girls. The strongly worded letter, obtained by BuzzFeed News, accuses BSA leaders of making “disparaging and untrue remarks” about Girl Scout programming at “family meetings” outlining their proposed programs for girls.

“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,” an official statement from the Girl Scouts said. “Girl Scouts is the best girl leadership organization in the world, created with and for girls. At GS, we are the girl experts, and for more than a century we have provided millions of girls opportunities for adventure, inspiration and valuable mentoring.”

Many girls around the country are ecstatic about them joining forces with BSA, some Girl Scouts have tried to become a member of the Boy Scouts but failed.

“I feel like it is a great idea,” Ambassador Scout Indya Welch said. “I mean, we all do the same stuff so I think it will be better for us to work together. Our troop leader, Ms. Terry, kept fighting for [Girl Scouts to join Boy Scouts] every year, I guess she didn’t want us to feel like outcasts since we do the same things. We don’t receive as much credit as the boys do since they are boys and they do ‘hard’ stuff. The only thing different about us is our gender, that’s all.”