Girls don't need the Boy Scouts' approval

Local councils weigh in on Boy Scouts' admittance of girls

Local scouting community reacts to Boy Scouts changes

During middle school, non-Girl Scouts' interest and involvement in their communities decreases, whereas Girl Scouts' desires to solve problems in their communities rise.

By telling young women that they need to earn Eagle Scout rank to get the recognition and benefits it conveys, we are sending a crystal-clear message: To get the respect you deserve for your achievements, you have to join a historically male-oriented organization and meet that group's definition of success.

"We really believe girls and families should have multiple opportunities", said Tish Bolger, CEO of Girl Scouts River Valleys, which serves 30,000 girls in Minnesota, and some of Wisconsin and Iowa.

And 2016 National Young Woman of Distinction and Gold Award Girl Scout Sadhana Anantha, of Cary, can attest to the power of a Girl Scout experience, sharing that, "The two most influential STEM experiences during my high school career were spearheaded by STEM programs in Girl Scouts, leading me to branch out into different scientific communities and venture into the modern academic world".

"Leadership skills, courage, confidence - you get to build all of that in Girl Scouts", said Abdi. The letter requested that the Boy Scouts work on recruiting the boys who were not members of the Boy Scouts instead of working to gain female Boy Scouts. Jones feels the decision will allow girls to move through rankings they've never had and gain new experiences. A look at the organizations' subject areas found that 11 percent of Girl Scout activities were art-focused, while only 2 percent were science-oriented.

The Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday that it will admit girls into the Cub Scouts starting next year and establish a new program for teenage girls, a move that marks a historic shift for the organization founded for young men more than a century ago.

Sydney Ireland, a part-time resident of Bridgehampton who has spent the past four years publicly advocating that girls be admitted as full members of the Boy Scouts, was ecstatic. And for some young women, the chance to participate in Boy Scouting programs will give them a chance to pursue their goals in exciting ways. She says the troop is about family, rather than gender.

The decision to integrate girls into Boy Scouts' programs has been met locally with an unenthusiastic response.

Faced with a decline in numbers and under increasing pressure from organizations like NOW to modify their rules, the Boy Scouts caved once again.

When Matt Skelly was coming up through the Boy Scouts of America in his youth, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout was the ultimate accomplishment. Yet, Boy Scouts has been historically slow to adapt to changing cultural mores which has hurt its standing across the nation, the release points out. For older girls, existing coed Boy Scout programs can and do help address those shortfalls.

Among those displeased with the announcement was 99-year-old Boy Scout volunteer Russ Gremel.

Boy Scout leaders said the change was needed to provide more options for parents.

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.

"We believe we are in this all together and for what's best for the kids", said York.

From building race cars to programming robots and using resources wisely through environmental conservation and wildlife protection, girls are discovering their passions and using their voices to make sustainable change locally and globally. The shop employees proudly wear scout uniforms as they help parents pick out attire for new members and order patches for pack leaders. "It's nice it's focused on girls - allowing girls to be girls without having to compete with boys", she said.

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