The Boy Scouts on Wednesday announced that the organization will allow girls to enroll for the first time. This former Girl Scout thinks it’s great.
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are very different organizations. Boy Scouts focus heavily on building character, physical fitness, practical skills, and service. Girl Scouts focus on topics like entrepreneurship, science, life skills, and math. While each group’s focus is worthwhile, our youth today should be able to choose.
On Wednesday, the Boy Scouts of America decided to allow girls to enroll in Cub Scouts in 2018. According to the Board of Directors, the Boy Scouts of America “offers an additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children.”
The decision comes after years of requests from families and girls, and with the input of current members and leaders.
My Boy Scout Experience
Scouting programs have had a lasting effect on my life, starting from a very early age. The youngest of three, my parents threw my two older brothers into Cub Scouts as soon as they were old enough.
My mom was a Den Leader and later went on to the higher ranks of Scouting leadership. My dad was a Webelo leader. I went to every single Cub Scout den meeting and sat through each and every lesson. To this day, I can still recite the Scout’s Oath.
I watched on as my brothers packed their bags for winter camping, talked excitedly with their friends about what happened at Scout camp, and retold grueling stories of frostbite from wearing boots that were too big.
I would ask my parents if we could go early to pick my brothers up from their week at camp, just so I could spend more time running around in the woods pretending to be one of the boys.
My Girl Scout Experience
But when my time came to join in the experience, I was told my place was with the Girl Scouts. So my parents signed me up and I learned about the badges I could proudly sew to my new Brownie vest. Snacks, Jeweler, and Babysitter were just a few I aimed for.
But where was my winter camping experience? Why was I only learning how to start a fire with a fire starter, and not with sticks and a bow?
What I really wanted was an outdoors experience. After watching my brothers grow up in Scouts, I wanted the same thing. I longed for nights in a tent and experiences that would push my limits. I wanted to hone my outdoors skills. Girl Scouts didn’t give me this. I was met with crafting and learning how to care for children.
Don’t get me wrong, my six years in Girl Scouts taught me a lot about this world. I found myself in a strong community of girls that stayed with me through high school. I did learn how to be a great babysitter and how to sell the heck out of cookies.
But in the end, Girl Scouts wasn’t for me. I wanted to be hiking through the wilderness with my brothers. My mom got to be a Boy Scout (as a leader), so why couldn’t I?
Boy Scout Allows Girls in 2018
On Wednesday, the Boy Scouts of America announced that it would allow girls into its Cub Scout program. In the 2018 program year, families can choose to sign up their sons and daughters for Cub Scouts.
The announcement upset a lot of people from both scouting organizations. Across social media, people argue allowing girls into the Boy Scouts will undermine the organization, that boys need a place to grow with other boys and learn from male role models.
The Girl Scouts organization, in response, opposed the decision in a statement to ABC News.
“Instead of addressing systemic issues of continuing sexual assault, financial mismanagement and deficient programming, BSA’s senior management wants to add an accelerant to the house fire by recruiting girls,” said the Girl Scouts. “Girl Scouts is the best girl leadership organization in the world.”
According to the BSA statement, existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens, or remain an all-boy pack. Cub Scout dens will all remain single-gender—all boys or all girls.
I, on the other hand, like the new choice for girls. The Boy Scouts are simply a better fit for girls like me. I wanted to camp, hike, build fires, and learn about the outdoors. I wanted to become an Eagle Scout. This is what the Boy Scouts do, and now for millions of girls, it’s an option.
I couldn’t be more excited the Boy Scouts will let girls join. For all the little girls daydreaming about hiking deep into the woods and climbing mountains while sitting in the back of Den meetings, you soon can.