/Scouts opening doors to girls’ membership

Scouts opening doors to girls’ membership

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Pradyot Sharma

Staff Writer

The Boy Scouts of America announced on Oct. 11 that they would break tradition and start accepting girls into their Cub Scouts program.

This is another major change for the Boy Scouts, who welcomed openly gay members in 2013 and allowed gay troop leaders in 2015.

The latest gesture made by the organization toward breaking gender exclusivity has brought about a lot of backlash specifically from the Girl Scouts of the USA.

But one is left to wonder whether it is a victory for inclusivity or just a ploy to salvage the Boy Scouts, a failing organization where membership has declined by a third since 2000.

Lisa Margosian, the chief customer officer of the Girl Scouts, seemed to label this a marketing stunt and asked why the Boy Scouts are not pursuing the remaining 90 percent of American boys instead of trying to attract girls to the organization.

In fairness, many girls are already unofficial members of the organization but have been excluded from the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts programs.

It is the prestige and the youth leadership program of the organization that is a huge draw for both boys and girls, but, until now, girls weren’t allowed to earn the highest honor such as being Eagle scouts.

Scouting programs in the United States have a huge history of producing great leaders and have benefits that teenagers of any gender can reap. But having two of the largest scout organizations in the country warring over membership does not help anyone, let alone the members.

A solution to that, which doesn’t seem realistic at this point, could be a merger between them to create a united scouting program. Under this umbrella, the scouts could offer programs for both boys and girls, allowing them to participate and achieve merits in all scouting programs.

Nevertheless, now that the Boy Scouts have decided to become a program for not just boys, the organization cannot continue calling itself that.

If it is indeed fair inclusivity that is driving this decision, then the organization cannot proceed under its current moniker and would have to consider rebranding it to reflect that equality it seems to be advocating.