The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced today that it will start taking female members next year. That’s right — Boys Scouts girls’ troops are on the way, but apparently the decision has irked the Girl Scouts.
On Wednesday, the Boy Scouts’ board of directors unanimously approved a plan for 2018 that will allow Cub Scout dens at local schools, churches and community centers to be either all-girl or all-boy. Cub Scout troops (made up of dens) will be mixed-gender or single-gender if they choose.
Then, starting in 2019, the BSA will allow older girls — pre-teens and teenagers — to join its Boy Scouts program. There’s no word yet on whether the program will still be called the “Boy Scouts” or whether it will be referred to simply as “Scouts” or some other gender-neutral name.
Although the decision follows months of outreach, discussion and deliberation by the BSA on whether to open its ranks to female members, the Girls Scouts are not happy.
Girl Scouts of the USA President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan wrote a letter to BSA President Randall Stephenson that read, “I formally request that your organization stay focused on serving the 90% of American boys not currently participating in Boy Scouts … and not consider expanding to recruit girls.”
Both the BSA and the Girl Scouts have experienced declining membership over the last several years. In 2014, the Girl Scouts had 2 million youth members, and by this March that number dropped by about a half-million. In 2014, the BSA had 2.6 million youth members, and today that number is closer to 2.35 million.
Featured image by bauhaus1000 via iStock