The Boy Scouts of America has made some monumental changes within the past few years. After lifting the ban on gay and transgender scouts, the public applauded the organizations decision. However, its latest announcement may be its biggest one yet: the organization is lifting its 107 year-old ban on girls, now allowing them to become full-fledged Boy Scouts.
The Boy Scouts of Americas president, Randall Stephenson, explained the main motive behind the decision.
Ive seen nothing that develops leadership skills and discipline like [Boy Scouts], Stephenson said. It is time to make these outstanding leadership programs available to girls.
Though the Boy Scouts may be on board for this plan, Girl Scouts of America did not want any part of it. The organization claimed their retention rates were already dropping due to childrens loss of interest in service organizations, and this change would not be any help.
I have never been a Girl Scout myself, so I decided to get the opinions from members of the campus community who had some experience in the organization.
I think its healthy for girls to grow up with other strong women, former Girl Scout and sophomore music and entertainment industry major Audrey Roney said. It is important for them to embrace their differences but also know that girls and guys are equal.
On the other hand, junior photography major Nikki Joseph would have loved to join Boy Scouts when she was a child. In her younger years, she spent a couple of months as a Girl Scout, but she found no interest in selling cookies or doing crafts. She was looking for adventure and wanted to learn survival skills. Due to this, she decided to hang up her Girl Scout sash and join her local Future Farmers of America organization instead.
Rather than focusing on whether or not girls should be in Boy Scouts or vice versa, I believe we can find a middle ground between the two. This is not a problem of gender. I fully believe transgender scouts should be able to be in the group they identify with. However, the problem is found in the different stereotypes of the two organizations.
When we think of the Boy Scouts, the idea of survival skills and camping often come to mind. On the other hand, many people associate Girl Scouts with door-to-door cookie selling. The stereotypes of the Girl Scouts does not account for girls who may be more interested in outdoor adventuring activities like what the Boy Scouts do.
The Girl Scouts organization should make their array of activities more diverse. Theres nothing wrong with crafting, but young girls should be learning the same skills that boy peers of their age have the opportunity to learn through Boy Scouts.
Instead of taking away girls from Girl Scouts and making two of the nations largest youth organizations into competitors, we need to teach young boys and girls to embody their differences. By breaking stereotypes and inspiring these girls to grow into strong women, we can let young girls around the world know that anything a Boy Scout can do, a Girl Scout can do, too.