Scouts honor, there are some major changes in store for the nation’s largest scouting outfit.
In a momentous and name-defying decision that has drawn the ire of a similar, historically gender-specific group, the Boy Scouts of America board unanimously agreed Wednesday to allow girls into the organization.
“The historic decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls,” officials with the organization said.
Both boys and girls will be allowed to enroll beginning in 2018, with existing packs given the option to create a female companion pack and a new program being developed to allow girls to attain the level of Eagle Scout. Under the new plan, Cub Scout dens — the smallest unit — will be single-gender.
Despite the expansion, there are no plans to change the group’s name, according to a spokeswoman.
The 107-year-old institution has seen a rash of changes in the past five years, including accepting openly gay and transgender members.
Boy Scout leaders said allowing girls was a necessary move that provides more options for parents.
“The values of scouting — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example — are important for both young men and women,” said Michael Surbaugh, chief Scout executive.
The new policy was met with some resistance from other groups — specifically, the Girl Scouts.
“Instead of addressing systemic issues of continuing sexual assault, financial mismanagement and deficient programming, BSA’s senior management wants to add an accelerant to the house fire by recruiting girls,” Charles Garcia, recently named to the Girl Scouts’ national board, wrote in a piece for HuffPost.
Andrea Bastiani Archibald, a psychologist who provides expertise on development for the Girl Scouts national programming, agreed.
“We know that girls learn best in an all-girl, girl-led environment,” she said.
Both organizations have seen a decline in membership in recent years. The Girl Scouts reported more than 1.5 million members; the Boy Scouts about 2.35 million.
With News Wire Services.
Source : http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/boy-scouts-girls-join-earn-eagle-scout-rank-article-1.3555907