Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I’ve read the articles you shared about the Boy Scouts and I was somewhat surprised by the comments from your readers. There appears to be a sense that the move by the Boy Scouts to include girls is in some way watering down the program. This could not be further from the truth.
Boy Scouts have included girls since 1971 through the Explorer program. Since then, girls participate in Venturing, Sea Scouts, and STEM Scouts. The current move will make available the BSA’s character and leadership building experiences to more young people, and allow parents to choose what scouting program best suits their family.
Over the last few years, there have been several surveys, studies, and discussions about this change. The BSA determined that there is a strong demand from parents and girls to participate in the same program that their brothers do. Also, as families face less free time, quality time with children becomes a precious thing. Many families, when faced with the prospect of one child participating in Cub Scouts, and one in Girl Scouts, will choose to do neither.
Cub Scout Packs and Boy Scout Troops are “chartered” by non-profit organizations. Because the BSA wants to provide an experience that works well for all families, there will be several models that Cub Scout Packs can follow. Chartering organizations can choose to have an all boy pack, a family pack, or an all girl pack. For family packs, boys and girls will be in separate dens and each girls den will have a registered and trained female leader. The program and activities will be the same for all dens. In Cub Scouts, the majority of current volunteers are moms; and for most packs, any sibling is already welcome to attend campouts and other activities.
Once a child reaches Boy Scout age, there will be separate troops for boys and girls. This will enable girls to do the same work, have the same opportunities to achieve rank, including Eagle, maintain the integrity of the single gender model, while meeting the needs of today’s families.
The decision to welcome girls into expanded programs of the BSA presents opportunities for more families to participate in Scouting. Youth who participate in scouting show strong moral values and positive character attributes, allowing them to embrace new opportunities, overcome obstacles and become better prepared for future success. In my opinion, the more youth who have that opportunity, the better.