The Scouting Association Will Allow Girls to Join the Boy Scouts

The Scouting Association Will Allow Girls to Join the Boy Scouts

According to a statement by Michael Surbaugh, the Boy Scouts of America's Chief Scout Executive, the decision to allow girls to join the Boy Scouts stays true to the core values and mission of the Boy Scouts.

It's not an overstatement to call this a radical move, but the vote among their Board of Directors was unanimous and the die is now cast. There are five such groups in Gamehaven Council.

Although Sydney first got involved in scouting at 4 years old as an unofficial Cub Scout, one day on a camping trip with the junior branch of the Boy Scouts, she realized the extent to which girls were not accepted in the organization. The larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to remain single-gender or welcome both genders. And for some young women, the chance to participate in Boy Scouting programs will give them a chance to pursue their goals in exciting ways.

Steven Smith, CEO of the Connecticut River Council - the local branch of the Boy Scouts of America, with more than 20,000 scouts in eastern, central, and western Connecticut - emphasized that the integration is meant to complement Girl Scouts. "I remember as a kid people would say, 'oh my, the program is going to go down.' But it only strengthened the program, as it did with Rotary when they allowed women in". However, the issue of which organization offers more experience is actually much less important than why it is essential for others to learn and experience activities with other girls.

What Girl Scouts needs is you to lend a helping hand. "BSA's declining membership has been well-documented, as well as other significant challenges it faces".

Even this new move by the Boy Scouts isn't completely inclusive or integrated. "Girls Scouts does an excellent job getting girls ready for the real-life experiences".

"From coast to coast and inner city to rural plain, there are millions of boys in need of motivation, guidance and leadership skills", the release states. "I think she took a little bit of a ribbing from the guys". But as membership rolls continue to decline - from 2.8 million in 2010 to 2.3 million a year ago - the change could be strategic."Our focus is to reach more youth with our program", said James Milham, executive director of Boy Scouts of America Hawk Mountain Council in Reading.Although Wednesday's announcement does mark a significant policy change, girls in the Boy Scouts isn't new.

"We believe strongly in the importance of the all-girl, girl-led and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides", the GSUSA said, describing itself as "the best girl leadership organization in the world".

Troop leaders say ultimately it will be up to not only a local leader, but a committee of people and the local chartered church to have the last say on whether girls can join that specific troop, but Michelle Newman lets it be known where she stands. Boy Scout troops will not include girls. While she is unsure how Boyce, who died in 1929, would welcome the changes to the organization he founded, she says that while Boyce lived in a different era, the principles and spirit of the movement remain the same, regardless of gender.

Among those displeased with the announcement was 99-year-old Boy Scout volunteer Russ Gremel.

Troop officials said Wells plans to continue to help the troop by participating as an assistant scoutmaster. He expressed desire that his daughter, 17-year-old Eva, could have been fully included in the Boy Scout programming like his son Will, who is on track to earn the Eagle rank. Sure, Girl Scouts do things like go camping and earn badges, just like the boys do. And yes, the Eagle Scout rank is far more familiar to many Americans than the Gold Award. "It's nice it's focused on girls - allowing girls to be girls without having to compete with boys", she said.