As we have all heard by now, Boy Scouts of America has recently released a statement saying that they will now allow girls to join the Boy Scouts. Many people are both protesting and applauding this, usually with false information. I am going to use this platform to set the record straight and give the true facts on what the new policy will entail.
The Current Program
If you already know about Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Cub Scouts, skip down!
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) program allows boys 11 to 18 to participate in leadership building activities. Focusing on service, outdoor immersion, and other more specific things, they have several programs that allow any troop to have a wide array of options. Some of these options include a Derby, field trips, STEM immersion, and their famous camping trips.
The Cub Scouts are a branch under Boy Scouts for first to fifth grade. They have a slightly different focus, however, they are very related because of their affiliation with BSA. It is important to note that they are broken up into “Dens” and “Packs.” A Den is the small group of boys, usually about 6-8 of them, who are all at the same grade level. The Pack is a larger group that meet less frequently but are in the same region.
BSA is most famous for their Eagle Scout program; it offers scholarships for boys who are active members of their troops. In order to achieve this honor, one must earn 21 badges, obtain a leadership position in their troop or other community organization, and complete a comprehensive project that is reviewed by the organization. Some examples of this project that I saw in my community include a church playground and local school improvements.
Girl Scouts of America (GSA) is best known for their cookie sales that are used to fundraise for camp trips. Outside of that, older girls are able to volunteer and attend STEM-focused events.
Overall, BSA and GSA differ mostly in their prestige; the Eagle Scout honor is a huge advantage of the BS program, while the GS equivalent is not nearly as recognizable.
In my opinion, Boy Scouts also gives a lot more opportunities for participation. They are larger, well established, and their website lists more opportunities to attain leadership positions and coordinate extra activities. ALL of my information has come from the websites of the respective organizations (linked above). Moreover, there may be more activities and opportunities within either or both groups, however, I was unable to find this information.
The Changes that Boy Scouts of America Promises
To begin, BSA will open the Cub Scout program to girls in 2018. They will not allow girls to join current dens, but rather require completely new, all-girl dens. The pack can then choose to be co-ed or establish a completely new all-girl pack.
In 2019 they plan on releasing a program for older girls that will have the same curriculum as the BS program; they will be able to obtain the Eagle Scout rank. These are the only details given so far about this new program.In my opinion, the organization is fulfilling a need that has been there for quite some time. Though GSA has a lot of benefits, it is a completely different organization than Boy Scouts, and there are a lot of girls who are looking for that experience. Since they are retaining the single-gender model, I don’t see how any current member will be affected unless they choose to make their larger group have both genders, in which case the majority of the group will be happy with the decision.