I have long been an advocate for allowing girls and young women to join the BSA. Having seen Scouting Programs in other Western nations, I was perplexed by the lack of girls and young women in the Program. In my own case, after Webelos, I decided to continue my own youth leadership in the 4-H primarily because it was a co-ed program. I realized as a youth, we have to learn to work with women in a collaborative fashion as that was the reality of the World.
And then much later, as member of a Council’s Advancement Committee, I continued to advocate allowing girls and young women into as many BSA Programs as possible — even collaborate with Girl Scout Programs on Advancement. And while many of my volunteer colleagues also advocated this, I was surprised at the resistance from the “Professionals”. It seemed hypocritical given that these folks were paid and expanding membership would have solidified their jobs.
But given the timing of this announcement by National BSA and the serious mistake of allowing an a divisive and immature Trump to speak at the National Jamboree over the Summer, followed by the National BSA’s ridiculous response, I have to wonder about this. I am aware that since the Jamboree, recruitment and membership in the BSA is dramatically down. The National Jamboree is supposed to be a celebration about Leadership and Community. Trump did neither. National BSA Leadership could have recovered but they dropped the ball.
So is this announcement to allow girls and young women to join all ranks of the BSA an attempt for the Scout Leadership to save the BSA Programs? Is this an attempt to make BSA relevant in the 21st century? Time will tell.
The BSA’s Scouting Program has previously been about not only showing but teaching leadership. And I mean true leadership. This story by Sarah Wyman shows what learning true leadership can be about. I think her article is fantastic and I am glad that she got so much out of the Mariners/Sea Scouts.
As for the rest of the BSA Program and National BSA Leadership, I think time will tell about how really sincere they are or if this is an attempt to “save their skins.” Either way, I wish that the girls and young women who choose a BSA Program get the leadership skills and obtain great experiences.
As for those who do not understand the difference between the BSA Programs and the Girl Scouts Programs, there is a very large difference and it is NOT based on gender. It is the content of the programs themselves. I would suggest that you get educated about the two programs before having a discussion.