The Boy Scouts of America made a shocking announcement on Wednesday, declaring the organization now open to girls, who will be permitted to join the Cub Scouts and progress through the ranks to as far as Eagle Scout, the historic institution’s highest honor. In a vote, the BSA board of directors reportedly decided unanimously to make the landmark change in the charter of an organization that has been strictly limited to male membership for more than 100 years.
“Today, the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into its iconic Cub Scout program and to deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout,” the Boy Scouts said in a statement.
“This decision is true to the BSA’s mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law. The values of Scouting—trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example—are important for both young men and women,” said BSA chief scout executive Michael Surbaugh. “We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children. We strive to bring what our organization does best—developing character and leadership for young people—to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders.”
Not surprisingly, the decision is being met with its fair share of pushback. One group in particular is suspicious of the organization’s motives.
“The need for female leadership has never been clearer or more urgent than it is today — and only Girl Scouts has the expertise to give girls and young women the tools they need for success,” Girl Scouts USA said after the announcement. “The benefit of the single-gender environment has been well-documented by educators, scholars, other girl- and youth-serving organizations, and Girl Scouts and their families. Girl Scouts offers a one-of-a-kind experience for girls with a program tailored specifically to their unique developmental needs.”
Whether this is a stunt the Boy Scouts are pulling to increase membership or yet another cowardly attempt to pacify the left, it is unsettling to watch a tried-and-true organization that has been a force for good in so many lives make these drastic changes all of a sudden. We’d like the give the Boy Scouts the benefit of the doubt, but they’ve been chipping away at the traditional values they used to uphold for some time now. This feels like pandering, and it’s the kind of move that is likely to do MUCH more harm than good in terms of enrollment numbers.
Maybe the cultural landscape of America 2017 has no place for a wholesome organization like the Boy Scouts of old. If that’s true, it’s a shame. Actually, it’s downright heartbreaking.