On Wednesday, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced that its Cub Scouts will be accepting the enrollment of girls next year and by 2019, girls will also be able to join Eagle Scouts.
Apparently, it’s part of the organization’s push to develop female leaders.
“We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children,” said Michael Surbaugh, chief executive of the Boy Scouts of America in a statement.
The Scouting board voted unanimously to allow girls to enroll in the program.
Next year, girls can join “dens,” a form of a Cub Scout units. But, the genders won’t be co-mingling in the dens. Instead, there will be completely separate dens designated for females and males.
Eagle Scouts, a program dedicated for older children, will also eventually start offering girl programs.
The National Organization for Women has pressured the BSA to admit females into their programs. They argue that not admitting girls is discriminatory and that females have something to learn from BSA programs too.
“I just want to do what the Boy Scouts do — earn the merit badges and earn the Eagle Award,” said Sydney Ireland, who wanted to be an Eagle Scout like her older brother to NBC News. “The Girl Scouts is a great organization, but it’s just not the program that I want to be part of. I think girls should just have the opportunity to be a member of any organization they want regardless of gender.”
BSA said the decision was made based on research.
“The values of Scouting – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example – are important for both young men and women,” said Michael Surbaugh. “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.”
BSA has a long-standing tradition, but as of late, it has made some major controversial changes. The organization recently changed its policy to allow openly gay Scouts and volunteers, along with transgendered children, who identify as “boys.”
Several other organizations disapprove of the move to allow females to enroll, including the Girl Scouts of the USA.
“We have always existed in a space with competitors,” said Lisa Margosian, Girl Scout’s chief customer officer on Thursday. “What happened yesterday is that we have another new competitor.”
BSA never alerted the Girls Scout organization of its plans either.
“They never reached out to let us know what was happening,” said Margosian. “Given our history, as a courtesy, they could have let us know.”
“For more than 100 years, our organizations have worked in a respectful and complementary manner, and we have been mutually supportive of one another’s mission to serve America’s youth,” said Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, Girl Scouts President in August. “It is therefore unsettling that BSA would seek to upend a paradigm that has served both boys and girls so well through the years by moving forward with a plan that would result in fundamentally undercutting Girl Scouts of the USA.”
Some also argue that the learning style of the BSA is inappropriate for females.
“The Boy Scouts’ approach is very militaristic and top-down, and I don’t know if that’s the best environment for girls to feel nurtured,” said Jen Barker, CEO of the Girl Scouts’ Heart of Michigan Council. “Girls and boys are wired differently — you can’t just put out the same curriculum.”
BSA enrollment has continued to slump since 1972. Registration was at 2.8 million in 2012 and in 2016, it dropped to 2.3 million youth members. It looks like the organization is desperate to recruit.
While, other organizations see the recent BSA decision as part of the growing “war on boys,” wherein an effort to be politically correct masculinity is being seen as something undesirable.
“The Boy Scouts seems to have developed a pattern of making decisions that depart from their traditional values,” said Mark Hancock, CEO of Trail Life USA. “And once you lose your way, your moral compass, the next thing to go is the courage and conviction to navigate when things get tough. And in this culture, with the gender-blurring that’s going on, I think it’s bad for boys. And I think it’s bad for girls.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council expressed similar sentiments.
“This is a slippery slope. And where does it stop?” said Perkins said on Fox News Radio’s The Todd Starnes Show. “I mean, it doesn’t stop until the Boy Scouts is a mere shadow of what it once was. And that’s where the left is headed with everything. That’s what they want to do with the culture, that’s what they want to do with the republic. They simply want the symbolism without the substance. And that’s where we’re headed.”
Starnes also criticized the BSA decision and said, “They’re done. Just go ahead and pour water on the campfire. It’s over for the Boy Scouts of America. And it’s a sad situation, too. But this is what happens when you allow the cultural jihadists to come in and you don’t take a stand.”
Author’s note: This is just weird and it’s unlikely that this change will get more youths to enroll. In an attempt to be politically correct, the BSA is diminishing its core values and is making an enemy out of Girls Scouts of the USA by insinuating that their programs aren’t effectively building women leaders.
Editor’s note: Are boys going to be allowed to join the Girl Scouts too?