I have received at least a dozen inquiries asking for my opinion about the 2017 decision by the Boy Scouts of America to invite girls to join the Cub Scouts, and eventually (in 2019) have a program that will allow them to reach Eagle Scout. Am I for it? I am for anything that will help our young people better prepare for life!
Joining the Boy Scouts and becoming an Eagle Scout profoundly changed my life, and I have watched the program do that for innumerable young people. There should be no controversy, and here is why:
- The Boy Scouts have included girls in their programs for over 40 years! Exploring went co-ed in the early 1970’s, and the 20-year old Venturing program was co-ed from its inception. The Boy Scout high adventure bases and Jamborees all have girls and women attending.
- Women have been Scoutmasters and other leaders in the Boy Scouts for over 30 years.
- Nearly every other country in the world has co-ed Scouting, including Great Britain, the home of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting program. The United States is unusual in having separate Boy and Girl Scout organizations.
- The Boy Scouts of America today has what is considered the gold standard of youth protection, the elements of which have been adopted by other youth organizations. This is ingrained by mandatory recurrent youth protection training of all adults, and protects children of both sexes.
- Boy Scout co-ed youth events have been held for many years, and have always had safeguard standards. (As an example, a co-ed youth event must have adult leaders of both sexes.)
- There are many other youth activities that compete for a youngster’s time. Sports, robotics, and music to name a few. And there are many Scouting-type organizations such as Camp Fire, Girl Scouts, Baden-Powell Scouts, Boys and Girls Brigades, Trail Life, and American Heritage Girls.
As in almost every area of our lives, we have more and more choices. There will be girls who prefer the Girl Scouts (my niece earned the Gold Award and loved the Girl Scouts), and there will be those who prefer a different program or activity. Many people are surprised to learn that my son was not a Boy Scout. We did visit three different Boy Scout troops together, but in the end, he made his choice and pursued his passion in music instead. So, let’s celebrate all the choices that children have today.
Girls, welcome to EagleCoach.org! It’s never too early to be envisioning yourself as an Eagle Scout. See you in 2019!
“Oh, the possibilities!”