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Pretty soon, your local Boy Scout troop could look a lot different.
Today, the Boy Scouts of America announced that starting next year, girls will be welcomed into the organization. The integration will start with Cub Scouts and eventually expand all the way to the prestigious Eagle Scouts.
Reps from the Boy Scouts say that for years, families have been asking for a way to get girls involved in Boy Scouting. They point out that becoming a good person doesn’t depend on gender (duh).
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Michael Surbaugh, a Boy Scout Executive, said in a statement: “The values of Scouting — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example — are important for both young men and women.”
And we couldn’t agree more. Having equal chances for boys and girls to participate in the same activities (and receive the same awards/recognition) is a good thing. It’s also important to note that the Boy Scouts recently began welcoming transgender scouts into the organization earlier this year.
But what does this mean for the Girl Scouts?
So far, they have been silent about the news on social media (besides publishing this blog post, “Girl Scouts Is the Girl Leadership Expert”) — but it seems safe to guess that the organization isn’t chowing down on celebratory cookies. Why?
It turns out the two organizations have been fighting about this very possibility for months. From the Girl Scouts’ perspective, girls already have an organization that supports and encourages them — and the Boy Scouts are trying to steal its members.
In August, Buzzfeed unearthed a letter that the Girl Scouts’ president Kathy Hopinkah Hannan sent to Boy Scouts’ president Randall Stephenson.
In it, she described a “covert campaign to recruit girls into programs run by the Boy Scouts,” and accused the Boy Scouts of trying to undercut the Girl Scouts. With membership (and funding) on the decline for both organizations, every scout counts more than ever.
Some progressives welcome the change, arguing that allowing girls to become Boy Scouts is a win for equality. Others say that because boys tend to dominate in mixed-gender settings, girls need their own space in Girl Scouts. And on the conservative side, Donald Trump, Jr. summed up the general consensus by tweeting, “Strange, I thought that’s what the Girl Scouts was for???”
Considering that today is the United Nations International Day of the Girl, the timing of the announcement is… interesting. Maybe is it time to eliminate the boys vs. girls all together and build one organization that serves both?
Earlier today, we polled our fans on Instagram Stories and asked: “Do you think girls should join the Boy Scouts?”
So far, 62 percent said yes, and 38% said no.
Some of you added some interesting points:
@mangosorbet_katie: “If girls join boy scouts than they’ll be able to communicate and get used to being around them. It can also help them improve their teamwork because life will put you in teams with girls and boys.”
@crystalxzheng: “Girls should absolutely be a part of boy scouts. Rather than just seeing cookies, young girls from all around the world can be more educated about surviving in the wilderness. Survival skills without technology is required if you ever get lost in the woods or if you’re not there with your family. Girls deserve to be educated on this. Girls should be in boy scouts.”
@tayla_idk: “Well it is a good idea but I do think boys should be able to do some things by themselves and so should girls so even it is a good idea I think they could make a scouts for boys and girls, a scouts for boys, and a scouts for girls so it is fair.”
@laurenkatemathison: “i believe that girls should be able to do just the same as boys, it will bring closer relationships between the two genders too…”
@_tall.egg_: “I feel like more people will be more comfortable with joining scouts because of gender queer or gender nonconforming people.”