Boy Scouts make progressive decision to allow girls into the program

Chantilly Alum Roberto Keuhn goes horseback riding with his troop.

Javeria Zulfqar, Staff Writer

Recently, the Boy Scouts of America announced that the organization will soon allow girls into the program. The Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA are separate organizations that have over a century of history behind them, and only recently have the national organizations begun making major changes to their standards for members and leaders.

On Oct. 11, the Boy Scouts leadership announced that girls would soon be permitted to join. Although this decision shocked many, it wasn’t completely unexpected. The organization already offers co-educational programs, including Venturing, Exploring, Sea Scouting and Learning for Life.

“Boy Scouts is opening up a girl-scouting program with the same curriculum, which is a great thing because now these girls can learn how to shoot,” senior and Eagle Scout candidate Ben Klosky said. “They can learn wilderness survival and build huts in the forest like the guys.”

Starting next year, Cub Scouts will open to girls, and in 2019, Boy Scouts plan to launch a program for teenage girls, allowing them to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, an award that has academic and professional rewards. The Girl Scouts equivalent is the Gold Award, but it does not have the same worldwide recognition as Eagle Scout.

While some may see the changes within these organizations as progressive moves toward equality, others see them in a different way. In a published statement, the Girl Scout leadership team stated, “We vehemently oppose this decision and stand firm knowing that Girl Scouts is the best leadership experience for girls in the world.”

According to Buzzfeed, the Girl Scouts claim that the Boy Scouts are allowing girls to join simply to appease millennial parents and that it is reckless to think a program designed for boys can be effortlessly translated for girls. According to the Girl Scouts official Twitter account, the need for female leadership has never been clearer, and the organization believes that it is the only group with the expertise needed to provide female scouts with a well-rounded scouting experience.

Frankly, the changes in these organizations are long overdue. According to The New York Times, girls have been attempting to join the Boy Scouts since the 1970s. In 2015, a group of girls called the Unicorns attempted to join the Boy Scouts. They wanted to be outside learning to camp and tie knots.

“What I like about Girl Scouts is the fact that you get to be with people that you eventually become friends with,” sophomore Brianna Gordon, who has been a Girl Scout for 10 years, said. “What I dislike about it is that the only thing we get to do is sell cookies.”

A blog post on the Girl Scout website states, “We believe strongly in the importance of the all-girl, girl-led and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides.”

However, not all former Girl Scouts agree with this positive assessment of the scouting experience.

“One of the major issues I have with Girl Scouts is the fact that the troop leaders don’t pay attention to the students,” sophomore and former Girl Scout Christine Schneider said. “There’s a lot of bullying because [in my experience] it’s a bunch of girls hating on each other 24/7.”

With such a large organization, not everyone’s experience is the same. Some girls might have a negative experience, but others may love it.

“I enjoy Girl Scouts because it lets me have a lot of opportunities to go places and volunteer,” sophomore and Senior Girl Scout Dana Ablimit said. “It really helps you make new friends you might not go to the same school with.”

Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts are both similar organizations that have the same goal of preparing America’s youth and providing unique learning experiences. They both are structured in troops, operate on badges and focus on teaching leadership skills. Both started separately in the early 19th century when social expectations for boys and girls were different, which caused the difference between the two organizations to be the separation of genders. With so many troops all over the country, it is difficult to ensure every child’s experience is positive. Some girls may rather learn survival skills than selling cookies, and joining Boy Scouts may provide them with that opportunity.