In a controversial decision, the Boy Scouts announced in early October that it will begin accepting girls into its organization starting in 2019. The Boy Scouts cited the change was necessary in order to provide the same opportunities for young girls to learn leadership skills.
Some view this decision as groundbreaking, but others are less than pleased with the development. Girl Scouts spokeswoman Lisa Margosian has stated that she believes girls benefit from an all-girl program, and that the Girl Scouts provides a “safe space” to many young girls.
“I feel like Boy Scouts are just trying to increase membership and just trying to get publicity,” said sophomore Girl Scout Brianna Wraa. “Now, that being said, Boy Scouts has many great things to offer, but so does Girl Scouts.”
Others, however, such as junior Boy Scout Owen Convery, believe that the integration of girls into the Boy Scouts is well-needed.
“I think the decision to have a single-gender program is very outdated,” he said. “And although [scouting] goes back for hundreds of years, it is time to probably move on from that.”
However, girls in other programs of Boy Scouts are not something new. For nearly 50 years, girls have been allowed in Boy Scout programs, such as venturing.
“This recent development is just trying to bring the girls into the mainstream program that they have and get them more involved in their specific mainstream program, which currently is Boy Scouts,” Convery said.
“I feel like Boy Scouts are just trying to increase membership and just trying to get publicity”
Some also said this new change would provide girls with a wider spectrum of activities to choose from.
“I think the girls that want to do sort of what Girl Scouts do a little bit more will still do it,” said math teacher Alice Hu. “And I think it just allows the girls who want to do different things that the Boy Scouts do, that it gives them the opportunity to do that. I think it’s important that [boys and girls] learn to work with each other and also just kind of be open to the fact that just because someone is labeled a girl doesn’t mean that they’re, you know, stereotypically, like, girly.”
While it is clear that the Boy Scouts are going to start accepting girls, it does not seem like this change will affect any Boy Scout activities. Troops, however, will still be separated by gender.
“Right now, the decision from the Boy Scouts is to keep single-gender troops,” Convery said. “There is not yet a plan for how troops will work, but dens for Cub Scouts right now will be single-gender ,and they believe that that is the best way to teach youth, and it’s often less distracting in that environment.”
Eventually, there will also be a way for a girl to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the Boy Scout’s most prestigious award, and the equivalent to the Girl Scout’s Gold Award.