The Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts have been separate entities since both organizations were founded in the early 1900s. But the Boy Scouts of America just announced that they will let girls join the Cub Scouts beginning in 2018.
The decision comes after a unanimous vote and many requests from families to allow girls to be a part of this program, according to a statement. The organization said the decision is the result of an effort “to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children.”
Girls will first be allowed to join as a Cub Scout, which means they’ll need to be between the ages of 7 and 10, but the organization also has plans to allow older females to join so that they’ll be able to complete their training and earn the highest Boy Scout ranking of Eagle Scout. This plan will be announced in 2018 and implemented in 2019.
The decision to allow girls in the Boy Scouts was influenced by the organization’s surveys of families, which revealed that parents are interested in enrolling their daughters in a program like Cub Scouts. Education experts also evaluated the content of the program and deemed it relevant for young women.
“Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing,” the Boy Scouts said in their statement. “Additionally, many groups currently underserved by Scouting, including the Hispanic and Asian communities, prefer to participate in activities as a family.”
What Does This Mean For Parents?
This change means that starting in August of 2018, families will be able to sign their sons and daughters up for the Boy Scouts of America. There are many different “packs” within the Cub Scouts, and families are allowed to choose which pack their sons and daughters will join.
Each pack will have the right to choose to remain single-sex or to become co-ed. So, you could choose to have your son and daughter in separate packs or in the same pack, depending on your family’s preference.
The Boy Scouts of America’s director of national communications, Effie Delimarkos told the Huffington Post that the organization has no intention of changing its name for now.
People Respond On Social Media
Following this historic announcement, reactions came rolling in on Twitter. Some people seem very confused about the change, and questioned the purpose of the Girl Scouts if girls are allowed to join the Boy Scouts.
Great idea to let girls into BOY scouts. Why does GIRL scouts even exist if were gonna allow that?
— Hunter Vincek (@HVincek) October 12, 2017
Other parents noted that the Boy Scouts do more challenging outdoor activities, which is why some young girls want to join.
So were my 3 daughters. Girl Scouts doesn't go as far as the boy scouts with those activities which is why girls wanted in.
— Theresa (@imtheresaellen) October 12, 2017
Deciding Between Girl Scouts And Boy Scouts
So, now that parents have the option to decide between the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts, it’s important to understand the difference between the two, especially since there seems to be so much confusion around that online.
According to the Girls Scouts’ official website, this program encourages young females to unleash their inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk Taker, Leader). Being a Girl Scout involves “a collection of engaging, challenging, and fun activities like earning badges, going on awesome trips, selling cookies, exploring science, getting outdoors, and doing community service projects.”
Their activities fall under these categories: STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), outdoors, life skills and entrepreneurship. In other words, as a Girl Scout, your daughter will participate in a variety of activities which will help her cultivate everything from her leadership and public speaking skills to camping know-how.
Meanwhile, the Boy Scout program is about “doing.” They focus on outdoor activities and charitable work that helps the community. As a Boy Scout, your son or daughter will learn how to camp, appreciate the great outdoors and be involved with fundraising efforts and projects that teach them about giving back.
The Common Goal
Both organizations share a common goal of bettering America’s youth.
“We celebrate all youth-serving organizations that build character and feel the most important thing is to allow parents the ability to choose what program is best for their family,” Delimarkos told the Huffington Post.
Ultimately, it seems as though the best way to handle making this decision is talking with your daughter and letting her decide which skills she’d like to focus on and which organization most appeals to her. Because in the end, it’s not about girls vs. boys. It’s about girls having options.