The Boy Scouts of America made a surprising announcement on Wednesday, and it brought intense criticism from a very unlikely opponent, the Girl Scouts.
The Boys Scouts declared that girls would soon be allowed to become Cub Scouts and be able to rise to the coveted rank of Eagle Scout. The organization’s highest honor.
“We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children,” said Michael Surbaugh, chief executive of the Boy Scouts.
The decision was voted on unanimously by the Boy Scouts board of directors. The Boy Scouts have been dedicated to just boys since it was created more than 100 years ago. But starting next year, young girls can join Cub Scout units or dens. A separate program for older girls will be made available in 2019.
The Boy Scouts said that the move reflects the changing nature of American life, they also added that it would increase the appeal of a scouting program that can serve the entire family. The organization said that it commissioned two nationwide surveys that indicated parents who were not involved in scouting had high interest in having their daughters signed up for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.
This move by the BSA has been pushed by the National Organization for Women. They have supported the efforts of a New York teenager, Sydney Ireland, to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, just like her older brother.
“I just want to do what the Boy Scouts do — earn the merit badges and earn the Eagle Award,” she told NBC News. “The Girl Scouts is a great organization, but it’s just not the program that I want to be part of. I think girls should just have the opportunity to be a member of any organization they want regardless of gender.”
The Girl Scouts have been reserved to the idea of admitting girls into the Boy Scouts, citing research that showed many girls learn best in an all-female environment.
“We are unparalleled in our ability to build great female leaders who contribute to society at every level,” said Andrea Bastiani Archibald, a psychologist who consults with the Girl Scouts.
What do you think about the BSA now allowing girls to join the historic organization for boys?
Credit: NBC News