Boy Scouts are losing members. Recruiting girls won't solve that

Henrietta Strickland
October 21, 2017

I think we have a problem in our nation where we prohibit interaction between boys and girls because we're afraid they might do something "sinful". Likewise for girls, if the program goes coed and diminishes the Girl Scouts' ranks.What the BSA soon hopes to offer to girls - hiking, camping, leadership opportunities and merit badges that offer a peek into wide variety of careers, hobbies and interests of all kinds - are key parts of the Boy Scout experience.Another important aspect of that experience - the ability to relax and be themselves without trying to impress girls - should be maintained.Some see a move to a coed scouting program as positive because, in the words of James Hamblin, a senior editor at The Atlantic, "boys need to learn how to interact with girls" as equals. "It's very common in Europe". "It's about girls deciding if they want to be in a program designed for girls or a program designed for boys". Next year, Cub Scout packs across the country will have the options of (1) creating an all-girl pack alongside their own pack, (2) form all-girl dens (groups of six-eight girls of the same age) in an already existing Cub-Scout pack, and (3) remaining all-boy.

In the wake of Boy Scouts of America's announcement that they will allow girls to participate in their program, make no mistake - Girl Scouts is unparalleled in its ability to serve girls with a leadership experience they simply can not get anywhere else. Plans for that are expected to be announced next year and implemented in 2019. But there's nothing that makes the rank of Eagle Scout more prestigious than that of a girl earning the Gold Award. "We've been doing this for over 100 years and, frankly, are the experts in the category".

The Boy Scouts, the 117-year-old exclusively male club, is now admitting girls. He didn't care, we didn't care, and the show was reviewed glowingly (by me).

I know about the Scouts, having gone to Boy Scout camp not once but twice, and learned quite a bit about the world that I don't imagine girls of that age would want to know.

"Boy Scouts is exactly what it is, it's Boy Scouts", said local Boy Scout Jeffrey Farrar.

From the insane continuation of the Boy Scouts' ban on atheists and agnostics (why force religion on an 11-year-old?) to their embarrassing decision to let Donald "You know life". I know it. I see it in our work. He also has been involved with Venturing, and said adding girls "has been a hot topic", but one to which he has no objection. She was looking for adventure and wanted to learn survival skills.

Daniel Sullivan, director of development and marketing, said the Laurel Highlands Council "is incredibly supportive of opening our iconic program to girls".

I feel like Girl Scouts, as it was for me, has been the first hard-line experience of sexism for many women, despite the fact it was being pushed onto them by their mothers and sisters, rather than by men as most might expect; there really is no other explanation as to why Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts have developed so differently over the years. We knew that worldwide scouting is just Scouts, not Boy or Girl Scouts.

Historically, the relationship between the two organizations has not been friendly.

It told ABC News: "The Boy Scouts' house is on fire".

I get this. In a society where girls and women continue to be marginalized, and where the Harvey Weinsteins and Bill O'Reillys of the world (not to mention certain presidents) continue to find refuge for their predatory behavior, these concerns are legitimate and well worth hearing. With this change, I just worry that Girl Scouts' numbers will decrease because girls will be joining the other organization.

Nelles also said she was embarrassed by the harsh tone of some GSUSA statements assailing the Boy Scouts, such as one written this week by Latino civic leader Charles Garcia, a new member of Girl Scouts' national board.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER