Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Boy Scouts of America to become fully inclusive for girls

Boy Scouts of America to become fully inclusive for girls

"A lot of times what we've seen is a Boy Scout comes on a trip or a campout and their sister comes along and they haven't had the same opportunities", Jones said.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has lost about a third of its members since 2000, which now stands at 2.3 million.

As one woman claiming to be a troop leader said in an unofficial GSUSA Facebook group, "I am completely fed up with the journeys and badges".

Local reaction to Boy Scouts. "Girl Scouts made a decision to change their focus away from that and removed some of the badges". This outreach included the distribution of video testimony of Surbaugh discussing the possibility of expanding girls' participation in Scouting programs outside of the existing Venturing and Sea Scouts programs.

Boy Scouts tell 13 News recent surveys of parents not involved with scouting showed high interest in getting their daughters signed up for programs like Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. It's about what we convey to young women about their achievements and the context in which they pursue them - that they are less valuable, simply because they weren't designed by men.

"The need for female leadership has never been clearer or more urgent than it is today - and only Girl Scouts has the expertise to give girls and young women the tools they need for success", GSUSA said after the announcement. Many see this as a big step forward for girls; another wall keeping young women from certain opportunities has fallen. "BSA's declining membership has been well-documented, as well as other significant challenges it faces".

Nonetheless, Girls Scouts will continue to empower girls like they have for more than 100 years. Yet, Boy Scouts has been historically slow to adapt to changing cultural mores which has hurt its standing across the nation, the release points out. She acknowledged the group needs to do more to build its visibility. "Rather than fundamentally transform BSA into a coed program, Boy Scouts should work to ensure that it expands the scope of its program to all boys, including those whom BSA has historically underserved and underrepresented, such as African American and Latino boys".

However, 10News spoke with Girl Scout families who expressed concern about the change.

"We've had 105 years of supporting girls and a girl-only safe space", said Lisa Margosian, chief customer officer for the Girl Scouts, who added that the organization felt "blindsided" by the announcement. And both boys' and girls' scouting is facing increasing competition for young people's time from sports and other activities - and alternative scouting organizations religious groups promote as more in sync with their values.

"Everything will be completely different now", he said.

"When I look at the Boy Scout laws - being loyal, helpful and courageous - those are things that we want for girls, too".

"We'll make sure those environments are protected", he said.

Co-ed programs through the Boy Scouts organization are nothing new, he said. Troops are girl-led and girl-focused, from troop meetings, cookie sales and camping to STEM programming and more. "Scouting is a great program for all children", said Ron Cole, who is a member of Pack 67's leadership committee in Oakdale and was a Cub Scout himself in the 1950s.

Nelles also said she was embarrassed by the harsh tone of some GSUSA statements assailing the Boy Scouts, such as one written this week by Latino civic leader Charles Garcia, a new member of Girl Scouts' national board.

The Girl Scouts organization, founded in 1912, has a membership of 1.8 million girls led by 800,000 adults, according to its website.

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