March 19, 2018

Local councils weigh in on Boy Scouts' admittance of girls

14 October 2017, 12:58 | Austin Hogan

Eagle Scout Nigel Bailey of Troop 962 St. Andrews Methodist Church has earned all 137 merit badges

Eagle Scout Nigel Bailey of Troop 962 St. Andrews Methodist Church has earned all 137 merit badges

The response to the Boy Scouts of America announcement this week that the 107-year-old organization will expand its tent to include girls came as swiftly as a troop selling out of mint Girl Scout cookies. Well, as we saw with the integration of openly gay scout leaders, individual packs will have autonomy: They can choose whether to stay all-boy, establish two separate packs, or integrate the two packs together while making provisions for boy and girl dens. "I couldn't disagree more". In doing so, the girls realize that they are able to have a seat at the table, or even at the head of the table and are thereby more confident, self-assured, and ready to compete in the real world. "It's a safe space for a girl to be a girl".

"Parents who are our leaders, are our grass roots people are there saying you know I provide program for boys, I can only be at one place at a time, I'm a single parent". He and his wife, Megan, began their careers as professional Scout executives with the Boy Scouts in IL in the late 1990s. We can't say for sure, but over the past few years its attempts to reflect modern American life have been marked - for that, the group should be congratulated.

If your only regular contact with Girl Scouts involves the boxes of Thin Mints stashed in your freezer, then you may not realize all the valuable opportunities the organization offers girls starting as early as kindergarten.

Some local families connected to scouting are wary.

I don't begrudge the Boy Scouts' decision to allow girls to join their program. It's a huge part of what my troop does - from caroling in the nursing home to donating food to the Williamstown food pantry as younger girls to completing more complex projects as they grew more mature. But joining the Boy Scouts shouldn't be the answer.

Pulley said her son, who has Asperger's Syndrome, benefited immensely because of the Boy Scouts. For his Eagle Scout project, he led the troop in painting a historical building for the International Soap Box Derby.

Those groups said the Boy Scouts' new initiative would not weaken their commitment to single-sex programming.

Moreover, if society expects workplaces where men and women treat each other respectfully, that training has to start with children, Eliot added.

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The Boy Scouts will no longer be just for boys. While boys and girls will have the same curriculum and can earn the same awards, they will remain in single-gendered dens. The decision followed years of requests from both girls who wanted to join and families who wanted their daughters to join the Boy Scouts.

Parents from the troop have stepped up to fill the leadership positions, and the scouts attended the Camp Bedford Harvest Fun Day Oct. 7. Without knowing exactly how it would be implemented, or how their roles might change, many felt the development could overwhelm program volunteers.

In Western New York, the Girl Scouts serve about 15,000 girls and there are 21,000 total members including adults, she said. Nationally, both Boy and Girl Scouts have report declines over the past year.

"There's always been a little bit of 'Is there anything for younger girls, ' and I think that kind of suggestion coming from families has kind of driven this conversation", said Ron Gardner, scout executive for the New Birth of Freedom Council with the Boy Scouts of America.

Troop officials said Wells plans to continue to help the troop by participating as an assistant scoutmaster.

Shirley said her granddaughter could run with the boys. "It's nice it's focused on girls - allowing girls to be girls without having to compete with boys", she said. "Our program is written for girls, by girls", said Communications and Marketing Manager for the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, Gina Dzielak.

"It's a nice gesture", Rodriguez said of Boy Scouts welcoming girls, "but I feel like there's already opportunities for girls".

John Douglas, a computer engineer and U.S. Navy Reservist in Irondale, Ala., admitted that he doesn't know much about the Girl Scouts, but he thinks the good outweighs the bad when it comes to opening Boy Scouts to girls. Aside from the political issues, the Girl Scouts have also been rightly dinged as an administratively bad cookie manufacturer with a sideline in youth development. The national Girl Scouts Association has about 1.5 million members nationally, down about 500,000 since 2014. The Girl Scouts don't need to "live up to" the Boy Scouts or "step up their game" to be more like Boy Scouts.

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