March 22, 2018

Girls can join the Boy Scouts

13 October 2017, 03:55 | Lena Norman

Local scouting community reacts to Boy Scouts changes

Local councils weigh in on Boy Scouts' admittance of girls

When Matt Skelly was coming up through the Boy Scouts of America in his youth, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout was the ultimate accomplishment. She acknowledged the group needs to do more to build its visibility.

The Girl Scouts of the US, which had sought unsuccessfully to dissuade the Boys Scouts from making this move, said they remained committed to their single-gender mission. "What happened yesterday is that we have another new competitor".

Submitted Photo Girls Scouts Troop 20158 pictured with blankets they made for Roswell Pediatrics are: Robyn Banach, Hannah Riewaldt, Danielle Riewaldt, Kaylee Zeigler, Haileigh Pawlak and Siera Porpiglia.

"We believe we are in this all together and for what's best for the kids", said York.

"Girl Scouts is, and will remain, the scouting program that truly benefits US girls by providing a safe space for them to learn and lead", the Girl Scouts said in a statement. The larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to remain single gender or welcome both genders.

The Boy Scouts of America announced plans on Wednesday to broadly accept girls, marking a historic shift for the century-old organization and setting off a debate about where girls better learn how to be leaders. The Girl Scouts have badges for babysitting and hosting dinner parties; after the BSA announced the change, on GSUSA's website, the Eating for Beauty badge turned into Eating for You.

Else said programming is decided among councils and troops, and that plenty of troops offer opportunities for camping and outdoors activities. It's about what we convey to young women about their achievements and the context in which they pursue them - that they are less valuable, simply because they weren't designed by men. Her brother was a Boy Scout and she thinks there could be enough of a difference in program offerings for both to co-exist.

Initial reports on the Boy Scouts' policy indicate that small groups for young members (known in the Boy Scouts as Cub Scout dens) will continue to be single gender, so girls will still have access to leadership opportunities in a single-gender environment. "Girls and boys are wired differently - you can't just put out the same curriculum". The group will keep relying on feedback from girls to shape programming, just as it has always done. In the interest of maintaining safe spaces for girls, boys will still not be welcome, Lopes and other GSUSA members said. Troops are girl-led and girl-focused, from troop meetings, cookie sales and camping to STEM programming and more.

Lindrose was among area Scout leaders who shared thoughts following Wednesday's announcement.

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"We'll make sure those environments are protected", he said. While many national representatives have criticized the announcement, some lifetime Girl Scouts say it might be beneficial, potentially serving as a wake-up call to the national Girl Scouts organization.

"The Boy Scouts' house is on fire", Garcia wrote in the Huffington Post.

The Girl Scouts of the US have criticized the initiative, saying it strains the century-old bond between the two organizations.

Today our movement faces new competition, but we stand behind the value of Girl Scouting. Numerous research studies and countless testimonials clearly recognize that participation in Girl Scout programming has proven highly effective in enhancing leadership qualities - as well as other key indicators of success - for the girls involved. As a result, she has mixed feelings about the Boy Scouts' new overture to girls.

Scout Executive for the Montana Council Don Bean said the program will be expanded starting in the fall of 2018.

BSA offered camps to Girl Scouts affected by closures.

The BSA said its decision comes after years of requests from girls to join.

How this impacts the Girl Scouts of America remains to be seen. "I hope he will enjoy it as much as I hope he will", he said.

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