Girls in Boy Scouts?
May 31, 2017
It’s in the name — Boy Scouts is for boys. It seems like that should end any dispute on coed membership, but that hasn’t stopped some girls from petitioning to join. Sydney Ireland lives in New York and has been petitioning for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to accept girls. She was an unofficial member of her brother’s Cub Scout pack but then was barred from advancing within the Boy Scout troop. This destroyed her long-kept dream of becoming an Eagle Scout.
This isn’t the first time that membership in the Boy Scouts has been challenged. In 2014, openly gay scouts were allowed to join. In 2015, openly gay and lesbian adults could become troop leaders. Then this year, transgender youth were admitted. The organization has proved its ability to change along with society, even if it takes years of legal battles. So is it that crazy to believe Boy Scout would ever admit girls?
As of now the BSA does not seem like it will be admitting girls anytime soon. Upon the BSA declining a formal interview from NPR, Director of Communications Effie Delimarkos said, “We understand the values and lessons of Scouting are attractive to the entire family. The Boy Scouts of America serves boys and young men through the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, which are year-round programs specifically for boys in the first grade through age 18.”
I have been a Boy Scout for five years and am close to becoming an Eagle Scout. Admittedly, I never really wanted to be a Boy Scout, let alone an Eagle Scout. I started out doing it for my grandfather. He was an Eagle Scout and really pushed me into scouting. Coupled with that, my late uncle, my grandfather’s son, was an Eagle Scout. I always felt that part of the reason he pushed so hard for my twin brother and I to join scouting was to continue this legacy even with his son being dead.
Scouting gave me a grandfather-grandson bonding time that I cherish. It’s not that I want to exclude anyone from having this same experience, but father-daughter or grandfather-granddaughter relationships are simply not the same. The BSA is meant to foster bonding between men and boys, whether biological or not, and pass down a legacy across generations. There are other institutions for girls to do the same.
Obviously there is Girl Scouts, but the BSA also offers Venturing to teenagers 14 or over. It is coed and offers more high adventure activities. There is no reason why a girl could not just join Venturing scouts, and that’s only if Girl Scouts does not suffice. As of now, Boy Scouts should serve whom it is intended for — boys.