Accepting Girls a Welcome Change in Boy Scouts of America Founder's Hometown

U.S. Air Force

Local reaction to Boy Scouts.

One member of the Girl Scouts national board called the move "a bad idea" and said the boys' organization was suffering from financial problems and dropping membership attributed to sexual abuse scandals and gender identity and deficient programming. But as membership rolls continue to decline - from 2.8 million in 2010 to 2.3 million a year ago - the change could be strategic."Our focus is to reach more youth with our program", said James Milham, executive director of Boy Scouts of America Hawk Mountain Council in Reading.Although Wednesday's announcement does mark a significant policy change, girls in the Boy Scouts isn't new.

And 2016 National Young Woman of Distinction and Gold Award Girl Scout Sadhana Anantha, of Cary, can attest to the power of a Girl Scout experience, sharing that, "The two most influential STEM experiences during my high school career were spearheaded by STEM programs in Girl Scouts, leading me to branch out into different scientific communities and venture into the modern academic world".

"If the program does go in a co-ed direction, I think the fundamental character of it changes", he said.

According to statistics, in the United States, 90 percent of female astronauts, 80 percent of female tech leaders, 76 percent of current senators and 50 percent of female business owners are former Girl Scouts. Sherman said this news is exciting, giving the "stagnating" Boys Scouts of America a shot of needed diversity and inclusiveness. A program for older girls - mirroring the Boy Scout curriculum - is expected to start in 2019 and will enable girls to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

Girl Scout membership is way down-from 2 million in 2013 to just over 1.5 million as reported earlier this year. They voted to do this project from a pool of three ideas they came up with on their own; the other two were throwing a party for the community's shut-in elders who might be lonely and hosting an event to teach kids about the important contributions of women in society, from medicine to arts to sports. She says the troop is about family, rather than gender. We want to make sure all kids, girls [and] boys, know the scout law, the scout oath.

Dan Gilbert served on the Boy Scout's Executive Council for 15 years and is now a member of the Advisory Council. "Really a lot of the things you learn as a Scout and the values stay with you your whole life". However, the organization issued a statement that implicitly challenged the Boy Scouts' decision without mentioning it.

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"If the charter organization, or the pack, or the troop, would like to have girls in their program they can".

Among those displeased with the announcement was 99-year-old Boy Scout volunteer Russ Gremel. "Girls in Boy Scouting is not a new concept".

With nearly 60 million girls and alumnae across the nation, it's clear that the Girl Scouts program works. They say the all-girl environment of the Girl Scouts helps girls grow up with more confidence and independence than in a co-ed environment. And the Girl Scouts aren't stopping there.

When Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouting in 1912 - eight full years before suffrage - she wanted to create a global movement that would make the world better for girls.

The organization has criticized the Boy Scouts' initiative, saying it is driven more by a need to boost revenue than a fundamental change in position on the need for single-gender Scouting. The shop employees proudly wear scout uniforms as they help parents pick out attire for new members and order patches for pack leaders. They are also developing traits such as grit, creative problem solving, resiliency and bravery, all while unleashing their inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader).

Allman said the decision to allow girls to join is not truly a first.

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