The announcement last month by the Boy Scouts of America
that they are changing the name of the organization to Scouts
BSA and recruiting girls to bolster declining membership rolls
is a monumental shift for the century-old Boy Scouts.
It is not a move that will please Girls Scouts of America.
One of its troop leaders, Mary Stuart, told me the upper level
leadership is furious, and being the mother of two
daughters in Girl Scouts she is not pleased with the move, either.
At the very same time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints announced it was pulling out of Boy Scouts and forming
its own youth program as of Dec. 31, 2019, allowing for an orderly
transition for its scouts to complete the Eagle rank or other
projects. The Mormons comprise about a fifth of all Scouts, so
that is a major blow, financially and in terms of fundraising
and memberships. So that could be one reason they are opening
membership up to girls, but only time will tell if it helps their
When I was a Boy Scout back in the day (dark ages, some
would say) and later an adult leader, we did a lot more camping,
and I became a proud member of the Order of the Arrow, the National
Honor Society of BSA. You could say there was hazing involved,
but probably not anymore.
What will happen to the venerable Boy Scout magazine
Boys Life? Will it become Young Life or have
a back and front cover that can be read from either directionBoys
Life and Girls Life, devoting half the content to each
If girls enter the ranks of Scouting, the horseplay and
other contact sports will be a thing of the past. You wouldnt
likely put a (harmless) snake or other creature from the wilds
in the tent of a girl (unless she is your sister). And they had
better assign women and men as adult leaders for each coed unit.
Of course we had den mothers in Cubbing, and young women
in our Explorer posts. I was the adviser to the Explorer post
that formed the Tri-Valley Royalaires drum and bugle corps, and
that included both sexes. But these were high school kids interested
in music, competing equally for positions in the corps.
My opinion might not be popular, but I say let the boys
be boys, and girls be girls as long as they can, providing separate
but equal programs for young people in BSA and GSA. Too bad they
didnt merge the groups, keeping two separate paths for
each. We still have separate physical education classes and separate
I wonder whether fraternities and sororities at the college
level will be faced with discrimination suits someday if they
dont allow the opposite sex into their membership. I wont
even get into the LGBT issue facing many parts of our society
I will still support Boy Scouting financially but probably
split my donations with the Girl Scouts now as they will need
all the support they can get. The least I can do is buy an extra
box or two of my favorite GSA mint cookies.