I was in a Brownie troop when I was younger - the step before Girl Scouts. I was in it for maybe three years, before I decided that I would rather go play with my brother and his Cub Scout troop I spent significantly more time with the Cub Scouts than the Brownies. I wasn't any more of a tomboy than the next girl, either - the Cub Scout program was simply more fun. And as I've gotten older, I still find myself perplexed about why this was. Even though it seemed that the girl and boy scout programs should work as equal counterparts, the Boy Scouts seem much more prestigious, active, and successful.
Don't get me wrong- the Girl Scouts of America is a wonderful program, and very highly esteemed. They teach honesty, integrity, manners, and other very valuable traits to young girls. Most of the things we participated in, however, were very feminine. I'm not against that in the slightest- but it was all we ever did. We planted flowers, sold cookies, helped the elderly, did arts and crafts- overall, very domestic activities. Our meetings were short and sweet, just like us. We had a couple moms lead the troop, met in our elementary school's gym after school for an hour or so, wore our cute brown vests, and either did little crafts to keep us occupied or struggled to pay attention while the moms read from their handbooks.
The only large event I can even remember was a "culture day," also held in our gym, where each troop from the area was assigned a country, and they all dressed up like their country and made ethnic food (which, now that I think about that, seems kind of problematic). Of course, I'm not disputing these activities - I think they're important parts of growing up. However, there is no reason why those activities should be reserved for only the Girl Scouts, or why those should be the only activities Girl Scouts do.
Boy Scouts are similar in the philosophy of their program. They're founded on the ideals of honesty, integrity, bravery, and service. Being a Boy Scout is a very big deal - remarkably bigger than being a Girl Scout. Everyone knows what an Eagle Scout is - but rare is it that someone can name the Girl Scout equivalent: the Gold Award. When one of my close friends received his Eagle Scout Award from building bookshelves for an underprivileged elementary school, there was a large ceremony, where everyone dressed up and gave speeches, that his relatives traveled out to attend. There was no such ceremony or congratulations for another one of my friends when she received her Gold Award; many of us didn't even know she was still a girl scout. Additionally, Boy Scouts' meetings are very formal and serious: their mandatory uniforms are more elaborate, their ceremony much larger, consisting of a large group meeting, individual troop meetings, and flag ceremonies. It is no wonder that the Boy Scouts seem more serious, more esteemed than the Girl Scouts. Additionally, the activities are much more adventurous and skill oriented, consisting of fishing, camping, tying knots, sports, and building or creating various things. They went on many more large and interesting trips, such as sleepovers on naval ships, sailing excursions, cake baking contests, and the famous pinewood derby - where the boys and their fathers' craft toy cars out of a block of wood and race them. Where was this large variety of activities for the girls? The only way I got to participate in any of those was because of my brother. Not only is the Boy Scout program more active, outdoorsy, and admired, but it's also more balanced.
Both of the programs were founded long ago, on relatively the same platforms: integrity, honesty, service, etc. However, it seems as though the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts have been stuck in the 1950's. It's 68 years later, now, and girls are still being shoved into the roles of the homemaker while simultaneously shoving bulbs into the soil, and the boys are out learning about the world and how it's at their fingertips: either in a piece of rope or in a block of pinewood. These societal rules and norms of the past are far overdue - and this is not coming from a feminist teenager who's trying to pick a fight with the older generation, but merely from the little pig-tailed girl who didn't understand why she was being forced to knit potholders when all she (and the rest of her troop!) wanted to do was climb a tree.