Local Boy Scouts embrace co-ed change, Girl Scouts to stay girls-only

Maggie Vitela was part of a program with the Boy Scouts when she was 15-year-old. Credit Maggie Vitela

After that, a new program will be announced that will allow girls to continue through the entire program up to age 18 and reach the rank of Eagle Scout.

Existing Cub Scout packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens, or remain an all-boy pack.

Parker found a solution at 13 in the Venturing program, a co-educational wing of the Boy Scouts that allows both boys and girls to participate.

"It could go either way but I think it is good for the Girl Scouts in the way that we have another forum to tell our story why single gender and good learning experiences for girls and for boys as well", said Chuck McKinnon, chief of development for the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio.

David Chace, scout master of Boy Scout Troop 25 at the All Saints Episcopal Church is also on board with the plan.

Now, with the Boy Scouts' decision, parents can decide if that message is best learned in separate scouting organizations - or with boys and girls side by side together.

Founded in 1910 and long considered a bastion of tradition, the Boy Scouts have undergone major changes in the past five years, agreeing to accept openly-gay youth members and adult volunteers, as well as transgender boys.

Tye encouraged her to join The Girl Scouts, but Leia said she was always more interested in doing the activities the Scouts did.

What are your thoughts on allowing girls into the Boy Scouts?

"We as a result of this change are very much going to be able to positively impact society going forward because of the growing role of women", said Charles Mead, spokesperson for the Capitol Area Boy Scouts of America.

"I think it would be funner because they do a lot of like stuff with the environment", said Girl Scout Makayla McAndrew of Scranton.

As of 2016 there were 2.3 million boy scouts throughout the U.S. As of 2015 there were 1.8 million girl scouts.

The Boy Scouts of America says "Families today are busier and more diverse than ever". We are the organization creating-through our skill-building Girl Scout Leadership Experience-the female leadership pipeline. "They wondered, 'why can't I do that?'"

"I think the boys certainly get a camaraderie from being with other boys".

According to Boy Scouts, a survey of parents not involved in scouting revealed strong interest in involving their daughters in the program, with 90 percent expressing interest in a program like Cub Scouts and 87 percent expressing interest in a program like Boy Scouts.

While Russell Etzenhouser, Scout Executive and CEO of the Greater Niagara Frontier Council, recognizes this move may help Boy Scouts enrollment, he says that's not why the decision was made. We're going to have the girls in one unit, and the boys in another unit.

The Boy Scouts of America now has 2.3 million members.



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