Economy

Gender Jamble: Boy scouts now accepting girls

In the wake of Boy Scouts of America's announcement that they will allow girls to participate in their program, make no mistake - Girl Scouts is unparalleled in its ability to serve girls with a leadership experience they simply can not get anywhere else. Our organization has been around for well over 100 years now and there is nothing in the Boy Scout program that is not compatible for young women as well.

"The values of Scouting - trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, courageous and reverent, for example - are important for both young men and women", Michael Surbaugh, the BSA's chief scout executive, said in a statement.

The one question I can think of is, why now?

Barker noted that numerous older girls in her council were interested in talking about issues such as the sexual-assault problem on college campus.

After the Boy Scouts of America announced on October 11 that it would welcome girls into its program, adult leaders and high-achieving scouts from local troops expressed varying levels of confusion, concern and cautious optimism. At Woodland Trails scout reservation, the troop leaders sat around drinking beer while we chased each other with pointy sticks, set fires with few regards for safety protocols and blundered into mayhem, like the time members of my patrol burned wood covered with poison oak and half the guys breathed in the smoke. The scouting program for older girls is expected to begin in 2019. In response to Sydney Ireland of Manhattan leaving the Girl Scouts this year for that reason, a representative from the GSUSA said "We're not meant to be the girl equivalent of Boy Scouts... if [Girl Scouts] doesn't feel right for certain girls, I really laud their parents and them for finding a place that is". He didn't care, we didn't care, and the show was reviewed glowingly (by me).

But so are the concerns of my daughter, E. For her - and I suspect, for other girls like her - the Girl Scouts don't always offer the kinds of approaches and activities she finds rewarding.

Contrary to the Boy Scouts' pandering, this plan does nothing for gender equality.

My initial reaction was that Lord Baden Powell, the founder of Scouting, must be rolling over in his grave. They have had multiple disagreements and even legal battles regarding the names of the organizations.

"We have always existed in a space with competitors", the Girl Scout's chief customer officer, Lisa Margosian, said October 13 in an interview.

Rather than operating under the guise that they're doing girls a favor by pulling them away from a thriving organization, where they can create and grow with their peers under the instruction of positive female role models who have walked in their shoes, the Boy Scouts should focus on bolstering their own program and making it appealing for current and new male members. When I became an adult leader of my son's Troop back in MI, I attended some training seminars and one was focused on providing the kinds of activities Boy Scouts are known for. For the curious, I will tell you it looked like tennis ball fuzz with little white dots on the end. Nowadays, there is the notion that a girl is capable of doing anything a boy can do. While we have Scouts Associations in my country, they are co-ed and not very common. Both started out in Girl Scouts at age 6.

Additionally, for more than a century, camping has been a cornerstone of the Girl Scout experience.

Even the President's son took it upon himself to make a comment regarding the announcement. On a Tweet, Donald Trump Jr., wrote, "Strange, I thought that's what the Girl Scouts was for???" His tweet awarded him both criticism and agreement. It is time to make these outstanding leadership programs available to girls.

We remain committed to an organization that is For Girls. Among the people who have reached the rank of Eagle Scout are Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Neil Armstrong. They're simply called "Scouts". Girls and boys are very different growing up, and that could affect the interactions in the meetings. Boys were taught how to work and girls were taught domestic abilities.



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