A group of Afghan Girl Scouts recite the scout motto during a meeting in 2011. These girls are part of the Marastoon Boy and Girl Scout Troop in Kabul. The U.S. will soon be joining the international trend of co-ed membership.
Photo courtesy of Staff Sgt. Stacey Haga, ISAF Public Affairs
By Holly Walsh
After long and enduring efforts by families and girls, The Boys Scouts of America will finally allow girls into their program at the beginning of 2018.
The organization’s board of directors unanimously voted that they will be letting girls into the Cub Scout program and will create a program for older girls to become Eagle Scouts, the group said in a release.
The news broke out on Oct. 11, International Day of the Girl, and will provide progressive change to the way girls can partake in boys activities.
Whether or not the change is beneficial is based on perspective. Many people worry that allowing girls into Boy Scouts will take away from and hurt the Girl Scouts organization.
Allowing girls into Boy Scouts emphasizes that girls can do anything that boys can do, there’s a power dynamic for girls wanting to join that didn’t exist in the past.
Kids don’t divide themselves by sex segregation when they play or partake in community events. Allowing boys and girls to coexist in Cub Scouts lets friend groups join a movement together.
Girl Scouts worries that the organization will lose numbers and money by future girls joining Boy Scouts. While yes, there is a good chance the organization could lose money, this is about the ongoing fight that took years for families and girls to overcome.
Scout organizations in other countries have had co-gender club programs for years, instead of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts joining organizations, it has become a turf war.
The point being missed is that this is a movement for young girls that have wanted for decades to be apart of Boy Scouts and now they are finally able to. Young girls everywhere have expressed excitement in being able to join in 2018 and that’s all that should really matter.
“It’s been hard having to turn away girls that want to be apart of the Cub Scouts, seven caught wind of the news and expressed interest in wanting to join,” said Ian Campbell, Cub Scout Pack 31 club master.
Girls were already able to partake in all the same activities as Boy Scouts but never given attribution to their hard work.
We live in a constantly changing society and Boy Scouts has been adapting and changing policies to fit these changes for years. For example, letting openly gay members and transgender boys to be apart of the organization.
The Boy Scouts, founded in 1908 in Britain and in the United States two years later, has for decades been one of the country’s most prominent youth programs focused on character building, teamwork and outdoor skills.
The status of Eagle Scouts opens up doors and opportunities that aren’t available to girls who receive the Gold Award, which is the highest ranking in Girl Scouts.
The recognition for the two isn’t the same even though girls worked just as hard to receive the same highest ranking as boys who received Eagle Scout. Now girls can achieve the Eagle Scout title, which takes years, and be praised and recognized for their time and effort.
The Girl Scouts is still a great organization that has allowed opportunity for many girls, but the point is that girls should be allowed to be apart of any organization regardless of gender, as should boys.
Michael Surbaugh, the Boy Scouts’ chief scout executive, says the ideals that Boy Scouts is based off of holds true to both genders and that it’s “critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children.”
The plan will allow girls to enter into the Cub Scout program, for children in grades 1-5, and earn the rank of an Eagle Scout, the highest ranking in Boy Scouts.
Boy Scouts had received requests from families and girls for years, after the program looked at results from research efforts they finally put the plans into motion.
It’ll be interesting to see how both organizations are affected in 2018 and the years to come when the changes take place.