Girls can join the Boy Scouts

Local councils weigh in on Boy Scouts' admittance of girls

Local scouting community reacts to Boy Scouts changes

Girl Scouts plan to remain Girl Scouts, even as Boy Scouts have chose to accept girls.

The program for girls older than Cub Scouts projected to begin in 2019 will allow them to earn the Eagle Scout rank, the highest achievement in the organization.

Following the announcement by Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to open its programs to girls, Girl Scouts remains committed to and believes strongly in the importance of the all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment.

We are girl experts, proven by the outcomes: Girl Scouts develops positive values, a strong sense of self, healthy relationships, and a commitment to community service.

Tom Smotherman with the Sioux Council Boy Scouts says the national organization is seeing that trend across the country. Jones feels the decision will allow girls to move through rankings they've never had and gain new experiences.

"I went overseas with Girl Scouts and I camped all over the United States with Girl Scouts, but he did very recognizable Boy Scout things, so there's a difference", she said.

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Girls will be allowed to take part in female-only cub scout dens using a similar curriculum starting next year.

While the Girl Scouts of San Diego chose not to comment on the Boy Scouts announcement, they do point out that they have an equivalent rank to Eagle Scout, known as the Gold Award, which carries equal prestige even though it is lesser known.

The BSA's initiative, announced Wednesday, has already chilled what had been a mostly cordial relationship between the two youth groups since the Girl Scouts of the US was founded in 1912, two years after the Boy Scouts.

Under the Boy Scouts' new plan, Cub Scout dens - the smallest unit - will be single-gender, either all-boys or all-girls.

Locally, however, girls are becoming more involved in Scouting. "For co-ed groups, it does say that there must be a girl leader when female troops are present and male leaders for boy troop members". Over the years, the programming has also been reimagined to fit scouts' needs.

Policies opening scouting to homosexual and transgender youth and leaders also have led to controversy. "Rather than fundamentally transform BSA into a coed program, Boy Scouts should work to ensure that it expands the scope of its program to all boys, including those whom BSA has historically underserved and underrepresented, such as African American and Latino boys".

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She is among many Girl Scout alumni concerned that camping and other outdoor activities have lost their prominence in the programming now promoted by the GSUSA.

Clarke Farrer, the scout executive for the BSA's Grand Teton Council headquartered in Idaho Falls, said this was a decision that has been kicked around for several years now.

Both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have experienced sharp drops in membership in recent years.

Girls have been participating in the high school level of the organization since 1971.

Those groups said the Boy Scouts' new initiative would not weaken their commitment to single-sex programming.

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