Girl Scouts Say Thanks, But No Thanks

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The Wednesday Boy Scouts of America announcement to admit girls throughout its ranks will transform what has been a mostly cordial relationship between the two iconic youth groups since the Girl Scouts of the U.S. was founded in 1912, two years after the Boy Scouts. Girl Scout officials have suggested the BSA's move was driven partly by financial problems and a need to boost revenue. The larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to remain single gender or welcome both genders. Starting in 2018, they will be allowing girls into the Cub Scouts.

Tom Smotherman with the Sioux Council Boy Scouts says the national organization is seeing that trend across the country.

"We know girls. Our mission, programming, and objectives revolve around their healthy development".

The BSA's initiative, announced Wednesday, has already chilled what had been a mostly cordial relationship between the two youth groups since the Girl Scouts of the U.S. was founded in 1912, two years after the Boy Scouts.

Hulet said she is excited about the announcement and agreed with Surbaugh in that the tenets of being a good Scout can apply to both boys and girls. "Girls and boys are wired differently - you can't just put out the same curriculum". "BSA's declining membership has been well-documented, as well as other significant challenges it faces". Yet, Boy Scouts has been historically slow to adapt to changing cultural mores which has hurt its standing across the nation, the release points out. "Rather than fundamentally transform BSA into a coed program, Boy Scouts should work to ensure that it expands the scope of its program to all boys, including those whom BSA has historically underserved and underrepresented, such as African American and Latino boys".

Girls have been allowed to participate in some scouting programs at the Boy Scouts, but they have not been permitted to join the organization's most popular programs, the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts, or earn the organization's Eagle Scout ranking. Girls have different environmental and developmental needs, Wilcox said.

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Communications manager Kristi Osterlund said while Girl Scouts are not concerned, the announcement will translate to a decrease in enrollment for Girl Scouts.

Les Callette said, "In both cases, we're not reaching the number of youth and families that we should be, and this is a way we felt we could engage more families in our program, and that's what we wanted to be about".

"I'm very happy that the girls who want to do the kind of camping I grew up with have a place to go - more power to them", she said.

Locally, however, girls are becoming more involved in Scouting. She added that girls do better in a single-gender environment such as Girl Scouts than in co-ed environments.

The Girl Scouts learned back in January that the Boy Scouts were considering opening their ranks to girls, Margosian said. But the 21-year-old never received the same recognition as her son, now 19, who earned the Eagle Scout title.

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