16 Oct Girls in the Boy Scouts explained
If you read this newsletter on a regular basis, you almost certainly know that I volunteer a tremendous amount of time to the Boy Scouts. As a consequence, I have received at least a dozen inquiries in the last few weeks about the recent decision by the Boy Scouts to allow 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. I don’t really see the 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 discover 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 we (and our children) have!
And while we are talking about the Boy Scouts, let me insert a shameless plug for EagleCoach.org, my website for future Eagle Scouts. If you know a Scout aspiring to be an Eagle Scout, this is the place for him (and someday soon, her) to land. There are many pages of information, tips and downloads to assist them in the process.
Oh, the possibilities!
The author is David Hunt of Hunt Corporate Services, Inc., a commercial real estate practice representing clients as a trusted advisor for the acquisition or disposition of commercial real estate on Long Island, and throughout the USA. He is Vice President and Board Member of the Suffolk County Council, Boy Scouts of America, a Silver Beaver Award recipient and an Eagle Scout mentor and advisor. David earned Eagle Scout in 1967, and devotes countless hours to Scouting programs and individual scouts.