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Boy Scouts?

Tony Eytan's Boy Scout Memorial 19253 licensed under ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tony Eytan's Boy Scout Memorial 19253 licensed under ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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The 107 year-old organization called the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), is known for teaching boys useful life skills ranging from cooking to wilderness survival. With the goal of supporting young boys in their physical, mental, and spiritual development, the BSA provides a learning environment unlike any other. Recently, the BSA council made a decision that has proven to be incredibly controversial: allowing girls to join. While this decision may seem to come off as an act of acceptance and equality, it was done for all the wrong reasons.

Many argue that the BSA council only made the decision to allow girls to join because of how few new male members are enrolling. One group against this decision is the Girl Scouts themselves. In August, Buzzfeed News obtained a strongly worded letter from Kathy Hannan, president of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, accusing the BSA of courting girls to boost their falling enrollment numbers. With this new decision, the BSA is virtually attempting to steal the Girl Scouts’ members.

At its peak in 1972, the BSA had almost 6.5 million members, according to the organization. Today, that number has dropped by more than half. In 2012, it had 2.8 million members. Four years later, that number dropped by 500 thousand people to 2.3 million.

One of the most exciting things about being part of the BSA, besides knot tying, is summer camp. Scouts all around the world will travel to these scout summer camps to learn new merit badges and simply have a good time.

After the decision was made, extra steps will have be taken in order to adjust to this new policy, including the scout summer programs. Since everything has functioned based on one gender, new bathrooms, showers, and sleeping arrangements will have to be made in order to maintain the privacy of all.

Even if none of this had occurred, problems amongst both sexes wouldn’t be treated the same. Many leaders in scouting haven’t adjusted to the concept of gender equality. They wouldn’t be able to tell a girl that she had to build a shelter using sticks and pine needles to sleep in. Some of the male leaders involved still think that they’re living in the ‘50s, based on my previous encounters as a Boy Scout. According to The Atlantic,“The boys of 2017 will go on to relate to women in ways different from the boys of 1910—who would know women as wives and family, but had little expectation of working together as peers.” Because of this, girls wouldn’t be able to get the full experience if they did end up joining.

Even if this policy was enforced to promote equality and feminism, it still has many negative effects for all Boy Scouts. The BSA should have collaborated with the Girl Scouts on events and camps that they could possibly be able to work together on. Stealing members from the Girls Scouts is an unnecessary thing to do. One simple action made by the BSA council has proved to be an incredibly contentious issue, even from a pro-equality standpoint.

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Boy Scouts?