I was a member of Girl Scouts of America from fifth grade until seventh grade.
I enjoyed different experiences as a member. My troop went camping, learned water safety, visited the Carter Center, which is focused on peace and human rights-and on that day, we visited an exhibit about the First Ladies and their initiatives, and we went to the Tennessee Aquarium and learned about the animals. We were able to learn about nature, history-anything we thought we wanted to do. We had booths and sold cookies-we were learning how to market and sell a product.
I think the whole program has lots of merits. It teaches different skills and troop leaders, members, and parents can decide which badges and pins that the troop will earn and which programs are those they'd like to take part in. Girl Scouts also teaches valuable life lessons alongside the skills, and I wish I had kept going in it now that I look back. It gives young girls a place to grow and do great things alongside other great girls and women. It helps them to become female leaders and be prepared for adulthood. It is the female equivalent of Boy Scouts.
This is why I don't think girls should be joining Boy Scouts. It has nothing to do with my opinion of the Boy Scout organization, or being inclusive-I think both are things we should keep up with, and I'm proud that the Boy Scouts organization is trying to be inclusive-it's a good-natured step. However, if girls join Boy Scouts instead, or Scouts, as it's becoming, Girl Scouts will suffer a decline in membership, and it might possibly end the program altogether if numbers drop too low. Girl Scouts was MADE for girls and helps them to become great women. The programs are made specifically for girls and women to learn skills that boys and men have traditionally been taught in a way that empowers them, and it is far from being archaic and only teaching traditional roles. Some of the badges are about entrepreneurship, politics and civic duty, saving money and spending wisely, and learning about the outdoors and camping-all of which are tenets of Boy Scouts. So why would you need to join the other program when one is built for you?
The stories I am seeing about the name and program change say that the older groups will be single-sex but will have the same types of programs and activities, which begs the question, why not just start out separate if you'll end up having to separate anyway? If collaboration with males is what you want as a Girl Scout troop, set up collaborative efforts for projects and events in your community, and vice versa if you are a Boy Scout troop. Any backlash is a result of not teaching the principles of fairness and equality, as well as many other important things-which makes me wonder what your troop is really doing for its members.
If you're not getting what you want out of Girl Scouts, propose change! That's what Girl Scouts tries to teach girls-if you want something, go get it, because you're being given all the skills you need to do it. If it is a troop problem, research another-I promise that somewhere there will be one that will give you what you need. I don't want to see something built for a good purpose to be taken away from future generations.