By Maria Chiriboga
The Boy Scouts’ announced that they will now be allowing girls to join their organization. The announcement was publicized on October 11th, the same day as the International Day of the Girl. A day to drive change, create equal opportunities and empower women. Younger girls will now be able to join Cub Scouts, while older girls will be able to join the Boy Scouts. All girls will now be eligible to earn the prestigious award and also highest rank of Eagle Scout. An award given to Scouts with at least 21 merit badges, which is based on demonstrating Scout spirit, service, and leadership.
The Boy Scouts’ is a prestigious organization of more than 100 years old, where boys build character, leadership skills and develop personal fitness to become future leaders. The organization has now decided to include girls, not only because of the requests of many parents that want their girls to join, but because the Boy Scout’s believe that the American family has changed, and they feel the need to adapt to it.
There has been some controversy about the Boy’s Scouts decision, being that a Girl Scout organization already exists. The Girl Scouts are not happy about the decision, claiming that they are the experts on providing girls the great opportunities, experiences and unique mentoring for their development. The Girl Scout’s responded to the BSA’s decision, saying that “the benefit of the single-gender environment has been well-documented by educators, scholars, other girls- and youth-serving organizations and Girl Scouts and their families.” The Girl Scouts are feeling threatened and are fighting back, claiming that the decision of the Boy Scouts should be reconsidered, and that they are the one’s committed to preparing women leaders.
On the other hand, there are many girls and families happy to hear that they can now be part of this prestigious organization. Girls were able to participate and volunteer in Boys Scout’s programs, but could not pursue the most important ranking of Eagle Scout. Now girls will not be excluded, and are going to have the chance to earn the highest rank. The Eagle Scout award, is the highest rank someone can earn in the BSA and only 4% of Boy Scouts are granted the highest achievement. Supporters are applauding the Boy Scouts for their decision of including the other half of the US population into account, and of ending a discriminatory rule that restricted women of being part of their leadership training.
The Boy Scouts are moving on with their decision and will allow girls ages 7 to 10 to join in 2018 and later on to older women to join the Boy Scouts. Boys and girls will have separate Cub Scout dens, but will be combined to create Cub Scout packs. Older girls will be able to join on 2019, which means that they will be able to achieve Eagle rank from then on. Skills that the BSA teach to boys, will be now the same for both genders. The Boy Scout’s program is evolving to meet the needs and positive experiences of all children and young adults.