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Scouts BSA Promotes Gender Inclusivity

Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts both operate under the same motto, “Be prepared,” but the activities these two groups must prepare for are drastically different. Boy Scouts are famous for their emphasis on the outdoors and orienteering, whereas girl scouts are famous for their cookies.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was started in the early 1900s, modeled after troops started in Great Britain. The organization grew and grew, and it was not without problems. If boys of color wished to join the BSA, they were forced to join race segregated groups. 

This changed with the Civil Rights Act of the ‘60s, outlawing segregation, and integrating the scouts. The Girl Scouts were founded around the same time as the Boy Scouts. Beginning in the 1970s, young girls and women had taken issue with the differences between the two groups, and these sentiments persist in the hearts of many Girl Scouts today.

However, for the first time, things are changing. In 2017, five young girls continued the fight to join the BSA started by girls decades before their time. “When we get into the real world, we’re going to have to work with other people who are not just girls,” said one of the girls fighting to join the Boy Scout troop in her northern California town.

It is now 2019, and a more drastic change has occurred. Enter Scouts BSA, a new scout organization. Started by the BSA itself, the Scouts BSA is an all inclusive group, open to all young people, regardless of gender. For children grades K-5, there is now the option to join either an all girls, all boys, or co-ed cub scout group.

As children grow older, the Scout BSA groups will continue to work closely with each other. At the top of the Scout BSA website, a banner reads: “By welcoming both girls and boys into the program, even more youth will have access to the character development and values-based leadership that Scouting promises.” The Boy Scouts will not change its name, although it has now opened its doors to female scouts as well.

Many people are critical of this change, arguing that there are many benefits of educating the genders separately. Still, other critics say that instead of joining the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts should push for changes in their own organization.

Randy Huffman, a northern California BSA troop leader said, “Maybe their approach should have been to go to the Girl Scouts and say: Instead of painting our nails and clipping our — whatever they do — to do archery and do climbing. Going through that process.” Many have claimed that this integration is just a by-product of the “ultra politically correct” culture that has arisen in recent years, but this is not true.

Girl Scouts have pushed for this integration for decades, but many leaders were not ready for it. It took the racial, sexual, and trans-inclusionary changes to occur for the time to be right to introduce ideals like these.

Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are not disappearing; there is simply a new scout group that is welcome to all genders, and it is up to each perspective scout to choose which they enter. Starting May 19, girls and their families can enjoy a cookout and games to celebrate the beginning of the Scouts BSA organization at Camp Herms.ca