On Wednesday, the Boy Scouts of America announced 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 over 100-year history.
EDITOR’S NOTE: When I was a kid in the Boy Scouts, there were codes of honor and conduct that all scouts were required to adhere to. One main qualification of being a boy scout is you had to be a boy. But in the snowflake age in which we now find ourselves, people seem hopelessly confused about the most basic of matters. Like should men wearing a dress be allowed to use the same bathroom as little girls do, or should gay scout leaders be alone with young boys on overnight camping trips. Boy scouts used to be required to be “morally straight“. I don’t know if Liberalism is ranked as a mental disorder, but it certainly should be. Liberalism ruins everything it touches.
The Boy Scouts of America announced plans on Wednesday to broadly accept girls, marking a historic shift for the century-old organization and setting off a debate about where girls better learn how to be leaders.
The Boy Scouts, which has seen dwindling membership numbers in recent decades, said that its programs could nurture girls as well as boys, and that the switch would make life easier for busy parents, who might prefer to shuttle children to a single organization regardless of gender.
“I’ve seen nothing that develops leadership skills and discipline like this organization,” said Randall Stephenson, the group’s national board chairman. “It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls.”
The decision was celebrated by many women, but criticized by the Girl Scouts, which said that girls flourish in all-female groups.
“We’ve had 105 years of supporting girls and a girl-only safe space,” said Lisa Margosian, chief customer officer for the Girl Scouts, who added that the organization felt “blindsided” by the announcement. “So much of a girl’s life is a life where she is in a coed environment, and we have so much research and data that suggests that girls really thrive in an environment where they can experiment, take risk and stretch themselves in the company of other girls.”
For families involved in scouting, the announcement led to a scramble of questioning phone calls and frantic Facebook discussions as parents and scout leaders wrestled with tentative plans for the transition. Next year, girls will be allowed into the Cub Scouts program, which had been limited to young boys. A program for older girls is expected to be available in 2019, giving them a path to earn the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.
The Boy Scouts has offered girls limited access to some programs before, but it has never before welcomed them into its core Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts programs. And the introduction of girls still does not mean that Boy Scouts’ gatherings will necessarily include both genders. The smallest groups of Cub Scouts will continue to be single sex.
Michael Ver Duin, a third-generation Eagle Scout and troop leader in Grand Haven, Mich., said he was “super excited” for the change — an opportunity, in his view, for girls to have the same choices as boys.
“The closest I’ve had to a negative comment is ‘I know there will be some who do not welcome this,’ ” he said. “The two biggest things I see as a challenge to explain to parents are, ‘What kind of problems are you going to have if you had boys and girls on the same camping outing?’ and ‘Do boys need time to be boys and girls need time to be girls?’ ”
Others were deeply skeptical. Joseph Carballo, 70, has been with the Boy Scouts for 30 years, most of that time as a scoutmaster of Troop 65, in the Bronx. His two sons, both Eagle Scouts and now in their 30s and 40s, have been with the organization since the 1990s. “And we all have the same view: no girls,” he said.
“Boys and girls should have separate organizations for activities,” Mr. Carballo explained, as his troops entered the cafeteria of St. Helena’s Church for their Wednesday night meeting. “There is an organization for girls. It’s called the Girl Scouts.” (His granddaughter, he pointed out, is a member.)
For the Boy Scouts, the change is also a chance to boost its sagging membership. The group says it has 2.3 million members between the ages of 7 and 21 and nearly a million volunteers throughout the United States and its territories. At its peak in the 1970s, the organization, incorporated in 1910, was closer to five million members.
The Boy Scouts has significantly loosened its membership requirements in recent years, but not without lengthy debates among its leaders and members. In January, the organization announced it would accept transgender members. In 2013, the group lifted a ban on openly gay members, and in 2015, it stopped barring gay Scout leaders.
In April, the Boy Scouts began exploring the possibility of opening more widely to girls after receiving inquiries from its members, a spokeswoman for the Boy Scouts, Effie Delimarkos, said. She said the group collected input from families over the summer and, on Wednesday, its directors unanimously voted to allow the expansion. source