On Wednesday, October 11 the Boy Scouts of America announced they will let girls join the organization.
Starting in 2018, girls will be able to join the Cub Scouts, which is for children in grades 1-5. A program for older girls will roll out in 2019.
The smallest unit of Cub Scout organization, called a "den," will still be single gender, either all boys or all girls. Those dens come together to form a "pack." Existing packs will be able to choose if they want to stay single gender.
Expanded opportunities for girls?
Girls have been trying to get into the Boy Scouts for years. They argue that the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts do not offer the same opportunities, and it is unfair to exclude a girl who is more interested in the Boy Scouts model.
According to leaders of the New Hampshire Boy Scouts, entire families may also be more likely to participate in scouting if girls are welcomed.
"The historic decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls, the organization evaluated the results of numerous research efforts, gaining input from current members and leaders, as well as parents and girls who’ve never been involved in Scouting – to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children.”
Undermining Girl Scouts?
Opponents of the decision argue that it will undermine the Girl Scouts, ultimately depriving girls the opportunities and safe space of the Girl Scouts.
After the Boy Scouts announcement, the Girl Scouts issued a press release that said girls benefit more from a program tailored to their unique developmental needs.
Patricia Mellor, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, told NHPR she was surprised the Boy Scouts didn’t instead try to partner with the Girl Scouts to serve young women.
Have your say!
Do you support the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to let girls join? Share your opinion in the comments below.