Boy Scouts of America to allow girls into Cub Scouts, earn Eagle Scout badge
I’ve been a boy scout since the first moment I could. I was in cub scouts, and climbed the ranks to where I am right now…a life scout(one rank behind Eagle Scout rank) of Troop 936 in Westfield, Indiana. I have started my Eagle Scout Project and I am excited to where that journey will take me. That being said, I wanted to give a full history and opinion on the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow girls into their programs.
The Boy Scouts of America, historically speaking, is not in any way, a liberal or politically correct organization. In 2012, the Boy Scouts of America took a position on LGBT rights in the organization by stating in a public released statement:
“While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA. Scouting believes same-sex attraction should be introduced and discussed outside of its program with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers, at the appropriate time and in the right setting. The vast majority of parents we serve value this right and do not sign their children up for Scouting for it to introduce or discuss, in any way, these topics. The BSA is a voluntary, private organization that sets policies that are best for the organization. The BSA welcomes all who share its beliefs but does not criticize or condemn those who wish to follow a different path.”
The organization has also stated the following in regards to allowing girls into the Boy Scouts of America program:
“The Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs were designed to meet the emotional, psychological, physical, and other needs of boys between the ages of 8 and 14. Boys in this age range seek out and enjoy group activities with other boys. The Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs were carefully developed with these considerations in mind.”
Putting all that history aside, the organization has weakened its stance on both LGBT rights and allowing girls into the organization. In May of 2013, the Boy Scouts of America made it clear that “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” That being said, the restriction on gay adult leaders remained in place until 2015, when the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Committee voted 45–12 to remove the ban.
In January of this year, the Boy Scouts of America announced that transgender boys would be admitted to male programs.
The 2017 Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree(which I attended last July) made the media airwaves after President Donald J. Trump made a politically driven speech to the estimated 35,000 scouts in attendance, which resulted in public out-cry(some of which from me in a BBC interview and a Washington Post article). The Cheif Scouting Executive of the organization released a statement after the speech by explaining that the Boy Scouts of America “is wholly non-partisan and does not promote any one position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy” and “in no way [endorses] …any political party.”
Today, for the first time since the Venturer program began to allow girls, the Boy Scouts of America announced that they would allow girls into their cub scout program, and “to forge a path for older girls to pursue and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout”(CNN).
The Girl Scouts of America is a completely separate organization and entity than the Boy Scouts of America. There are drastic differences between them. The biggest being the centralization of the organizations. In Boy Scouts, many activities are very standard and many things don’t vary from troop-to-troop, as the organization is very centralized. Troops go on a lot of the same excursions, nearly every troop uses the same leadership system, most troops attend a summer camp, goes camping once a month, and many councils send scouts to high adenture parks such as Philmont or the Summit Bechtel Reserve(the site of future BSA National Jamborees and the 2019 World Scout Jamboree). They also have a national honor society and a long list of more than two million Eagle Scouts across the United States and the world. From what I understand, Girl Scouts of America is quite different. Although they do host a national convention, and participate in many centralized events, most meeting activities and troop activities are decided by each individual troop. And those activities could be completely different. One troop could have a leader who is very interested in the outdoors and adventure, and then another troop, who is the complete opposite. Therefore, this system creates an issue for some girls, as some are deprived of the opportunity to do what some Boy Scouts get to do. There has been a lot of pressure for the Girl Scouts of America to morph into an organization more similar to the Boy Scouts of America. Girl Scouts did not grant their wish, therefore, many girls who were disappointed with the organization, turned to Boy Scouts of America.
I’m very happy that the Boy Scouts of America made this decision, and I am excited for the future of the organization. A few years ago, I attended an Eagle Scout court of honor for a member of my troop and a former scoutmaster of the troop spoke towards the end of the ceremony and made a speech I will never forget. He opened his speech by saying, (paraphrased as it was a few years ago and I do not actually have a real quote) “In 2025, there won’t be a Boy Scouts of America.” And for the entire speech, I felt that he had a very pessimistic view on the future of the organization but then he finished his statements by saying, “…which is why in 2025 there won’t be a Boy Scouts of America. There will be a Scouts of America.” I am very excited that by 2020, there won’t be a Boy Scouts of America. There will be a Scouts of America.