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A New Era for the Boy Scouts

Riley Sims, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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On Oct. 11, the Boy Scouts of America announced that they will allow girls to join the organization. They have made changes involving membership over the past four years, including allowing openly gay and transgender scouts to join as well as permitting gay leaders.

The topic of girl membership in Boy Scouts has been debated for years. One of the largest groups advocating for the change is families. They argue that it would be more convenient if both their sons and daughters were in one scout organization.

“We’ve got a few siblings of scouts in our troop that participate with stuff,” said senior and Life Scout Ethan Quarles. “It really shouldn’t affect [the Boy Scouts] that much because there’s already like sort of a sister organization, Adventuring Scouts, that already allows girls, so I don’t really think it will affect it that much.”

However, girls being allowed in the Boy Scouts seems it won’t have a drastic impact on the atmosphere of the troops. Scout troops with members ranging from 11 to 18, will be separated into girls troops and boys troops. This has lead some, like President Donald Trump who tweeted, “Strange, I thought that’s what the Girl Scouts was for???”, to wonder why this decision was made. The reason is simple: the different curriculums offered. The Boy Scouts participate in more outdoor activities and camping. While the Girl Scouts also participate in some outdoor activities, their activities are more focused on leadership and empowerment. What activities may appeal to some girls are not going to appeal to all, which results in Boy Scouts being more preferable to some.

The announcement caused backlash from many people, including the Girl Scouts of the USA, who argued that only the Girl Scouts can give female expertise about leadership to young girls. They believe a single-gender environment is more beneficial because it is more tailored to girls. The president of the Girl Scouts Kathy Hopinkah Hannan accused the Boy Scouts of only allowing girls in as a result of decreasing membership.

The Boy Scouts of America membership has been decreasing in recent years. According to CNN, the membership in 2012, was 2.8 million and decreased to 2.3 million in 2016.

Girls will also have the chance to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts that takes years to achieve. The equivalent to this rank in Girl Scouts is the Gold Award. While both scout organizations offer academic, professional and military benefits, the chances of earning a Gold Award are slim. The Girl Scouts have only awarded 1 million since 1916, while the Boy Scouts have awarded more than 2 million.

The introduction of girls as Boy Scout troops is a big change for the organization and has some wondering if it will be permanent or not.

“I think it will be permanent, because they’ve kept most of the stuff they‘ve done,” Quarles said. “They haven’t really rolled back anything that they’ve done over the past few years.”

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