Boy Scouts of America Allows Girls to Join

Boy Scouts Troop 790

via Marine Corps Base Camp Pendeleton

Boy Scouts Troop 790

The Boy Scouts of America (or the BSA) has been around for 109 years, but only recently have they allowed girls to join the program.  The program wants to help both boys and girls achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, so more individuals can help America through Scouting skills.  How will this help the Boy Scouts and aspiring Eagle Scouts, and more importantly, how will this affect Girl Scouts?

After discussing the move for a year, Boy Scouts allowed girls to join in early February.  When the Boy Scouts talked about including girls in October 2017, the announcement was met with mixed enthusiasm about their decision to include girls.  BSA said in a statement, “Most [families] are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing.”  Despite the statement, most people believe the main motive to include girls was made to increase the number of Scouts in the program. It’s not the first move that BSA has made to boost falling enrolling numbers.  In recent years, the organization allowed transgender and gay Scouts and Scout Leaders. As of February 2019, there are around 1 million to 2 million Scouts, compared to 2.8 million in 2012 and 6.5 million members in 1972.  

At first, the Girl Scouts president wrote to the Boy Scouts, saying, “I formally request that your organization stay focused on serving the 90 percent of American boys not currently participating in Boy Scouts.”  Instead of being on the aggressive side, however, the Girl Scouts (GSUSA) is explaining why their organization is the best choice for girls.  They argued that a single-gender program had been in use for decades, with no reason to change the requirements. Currently, GSUSA is using this moment to get more attention and to give their STEM activities for girls extra attention.  The relationship between the two organizations will likely never be the same as it was before the decision to include girls. Both the BSA and GSUSA are trying to repair the damage.

However, the decision has been made, and there are already over 2,000 girl Scouts enrolled in the BSA.  Many have brothers in the organization, and they also want to have the chance to achieve the Eagle Scout rank.  This rank is highly coveted, and although Girl Scouts has a rank similar to Eagle Scout, it doesn’t have the prestige of Eagle Scout with college resumés or job applications.  Only time will tell if including girls in Scouts BSA is a great decision to increase falling enrollment numbers, the end of Girl Scouts, or something else entirely.