Co-ed Isn’t the Best Ed: The Dawn of Girls in Boy Scouts

James Dubreuil ‘19
EE Staff Writer

Boy Scouts. For years and years, it has been Boy Scouts. On October 11th, the 107-year-old organization known as the Boy Scouts of America announced that girls will be allowed to join scouting packs, troops, and even work to reach the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.

Have you ever heard of the Gold Award? How about Eagle Scout? These two awards are the highest rank in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. Most people only recognize one, and it is probably the latter. As Harrison Gilberti (‘19), an active member of the scouting program for over 12 years, explains, “the Eagle Scout award is universally acknowledged by society, but what even is the Gold Award?” This is just one of the reasons that many girls wanted this plan of action to take place. One Eagle Scout, Arnav Srivastava (‘19), does not believe that “… allowing girls into Boy Scouts is a step in the right direction.” Rather than allowing girls into the Boy Scouts, he believes that it would be a more logical idea to fortify the Girl Scouts program and make it of equal foundation to that of the Boy Scouts.

“Making Boy Scouts a co-ed environment ruins valuable opportunities for both genders in which Scouts are able to learn in a more personalized atmosphere rather than a generalized and less influential atmosphere,” continued Srivastava.

His point is valid: some boys and girls will simply not be comfortable working with the opposite sex at an immature age such as 6th grade. This internal disturbance can put scouts at unease and deteriorate focus on Scouting’s ideals towards being judged in a co-ed environment, ruining perhaps one of the most valuable characteristics of scouting: developing with like-minded boys.
Male-dominated bonding and learning cannot possibly be the same experience as learning alongside females who generally have distinct personality and preferences compared to males.

Although girls in Boy Scouts may seem like a progressive idea, it can also be viewed as an effort by the Boy Scouts of America to jumpstart their organization. Since its peak in 1972, at 6.5 million members, the membership in the Boy Scouts of America has slowly been decreasing. In 2016, the organization only reported 2.3 million members. Allowing girls into Boy Scouts will not only demonstrate the acceptance of the organization to possible members, but it will also open up the membership pool to the rest of the population from ages in the range of 11-18. However, even though permitting girls into the scouting program may seem to boost membership, it has the potential of opposite repercussions as young children considering entering the scouting program would be much more comfortable in an environment consisting of the same gender according to articles set forth previously.

If girls begin to join the Boy Scouts, what will happen to the Girl Scouts? Since this radical change, the president of the National Organization for Women, mentioned that it is, “a good thing in that the Boy Scouts have a long history of discrimination and they are taking action.”

However, N.O.W. President Toni Van Pelt also remarked, “The devil is in the details and we need to wait and see how this plays out.”

Van Pelt realizes that although it may seem like a great idea, it might not be as straight-forward as it seems.

Although this radical change may seem like a great step forward for as conservative an organization as the Boy Scouts, this is definitely not the case. The Boy Scouts are using these more progressive moves as a tactical approach in order to improve its own public image, which at the end of the day is conflicting with the ideals of cultivating a successful young generation.

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