Eagle Scout is the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting. Eagle is earned after the rank of Life. "Once an Eagle, always an Eagle".

My Opinion on the BSA’s Decision to Provide a Path to Eagle Scout for Girls

“The Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into its iconic Cub Scout program and to deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout. ”  Read the full statement.

First, let’s get the facts straight. Quotes are from the statement.

Your son’s Boy Scout troop is not going to be coed:
“Using the same curriculum as the Boy Scouts program, the organization will also deliver a program for older girls, which will be announced in 2018 and projected to be available in 2019, that will enable them to earn the Eagle Scout rank. This unique approach allows the organization to maintain the integrity of the single gender model while also meeting the needs of today’s families.”

Your son’s Cub Scout den is not going to be coed:
” Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls.”

Your pack might be coed, but that is up to your chartered organization:
“Existing 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. “

In my opinion this is a positive change. It provides additional opportunities for young women. There is nothing gender specific in the Boy Scout curriculum.  I know there are objections. The ones listed below are quotes from my Facebook page.  Let’s look at some of them.

Objection: Boys need to be boys

“I don’t agree with this. There are times guys just need to be with guys. There are things to be learned and discussed when in a same sex group.”
“It’s awful. Why can boys not have just one place that is just for them? Why does it always get ruined?”
“So, where can young boys now go to “just be boys” without having to worry about girls being around? Or is that not “PC” enough anymore?”

First of all, their den is still going to be all boys. And there are already girls at pack meetings, events, family campouts, etc. Cub Scouting is a family program and in order for parents to be there, siblings come along also.

Objection: Raging hormones

“As hormones rage in teen yrs. And boys fart burp and are crude, most girls wont stay in. I dont know why boys cant just be boys. Poor Lord Baden Powell.”

They will not be together in the teen years. Boys will be in Boy Scouts and girls will be in the new program. If they want to, they can join a coed Venturing crew.  Personally, my experience with our coed Venturing crew is that the young men and women are respectful to each other. And we have clear rules in place about things like tents/cabins, showers, being respectful,  hand holding, etc. It has never been a problem having teen boys and girls do activities together.

Objection: Why not Girl Scouts?

“Or maybe change the way girl scouts are ran”
“The Girl Scouts are already have such a program. Getting your Gold Star is the Girl Scout equivalent of the eagle scout. “
“I don’t understand why girls need to be in boy scouts. There is girl scouts.”

Right or wrong, the Gold award does not have the universal name recognition that Eagle Scout does. And the Girl Scout program does not appeal to all girls. Many people prefer the BSA curriculum. Some churches have severed ties with the Girl Scouts due to parts of the curriculum and the people they are holding up as role models. So this gives girls another option.

Objection: Why not Venturing?

“How is this different than venture scouting”
“I just don’t understand why this had to be a ‘thing’– there is already co-ed venturing.”

Venturing (please don’t call it Venture Scouts) is for young men and women ages 14 to 20.   Since the Venturing program starts at 14 so it would only allow girls about half as long as boys to complete the requirements.  And the program uses completely different methods. It is not possible to complete Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class with the Venturing model.  Venturers can in fact currently earn the rank of Eagle, but only if they completed First Class as Boy Scouts. It is possible to complete the Star, Life, and Eagle ranks as a Venturer.

Objection: Religious objections

“As a Former Cub Leader Mother of two Eagle Scouts Grandmother of a Tiger Scout and a Former District Commissioner This is WRONG! This is Breaking the Scout Oath and Law! Reverence to GodScouting is NOT a social club! Scouting principles are based on the Bible! This is confusing to young children ! This is beyond heartbreaking disappointing and disgraceful! Shame on them ! Problems will arise YUGE problems!”

Yes, this is a direct quote. The bottom line is that your chartered organization has control over your units. If your church thinks that boys and girls need to be completely separated, then they probably aren’t going to charter a coed pack.

Feel free to comment below, but please keep it civil. A Scout is courteous.

 

40 Responses to My Opinion on the BSA’s Decision to Provide a Path to Eagle Scout for Girls

  1. Lisa M October 13, 2017 at 4:11 PM #

    I’m excited for girls that want more than what they’re getting out of girls scouts. Gurl scouts should have upped the Annie to keep and attract more girls to their program. Those who don’t see the good in this is wearing a blindfold.

    • Deb L October 17, 2017 at 6:49 AM #

      I led a GS troop for 20 years of 16 girls. We hiked, camped, went white water rafting, went on 15 mile bike trips, rappelled, traveled to New York, Chicago, Boston, and to the Atlantic Ocean (we’re from Ohio). The year they graduated we went on a cruise. Several earned their Gold Award. I also had boys ask me if they could join my GS troop b/c their Boy Scout troop was boring. I organized Day Camp for the county and had several brothers tell me they liked my camp better than the Cub Scout Day Camp so it goes both ways. I’m now a Cub Scout leader. Both programs are good for the children but each need their own group. Parents need to get involved to make both groups top notch.

      • Jessica October 19, 2017 at 11:38 AM #

        agree 100%

      • Ranger Rick October 20, 2017 at 6:02 PM #

        God Bless you Deb! You are right in my opinion. The more enthusiastic the parents are…the more enthusiastic the Scouts are. Girl or Boy! The better the individual program!
        I can teach a girl how to use flint and steel just the same as a boy. Both just have to do their best. Welcome all kids to scouting Now lets put away the politics and go get dirty in the woods!

    • Ranger Rick October 20, 2017 at 6:10 PM #

      This is a YUGE problem…??? -3 for spelling. HUGE…So the person above then believes that the Bible and its stories only pertain to men/boys and women are not at the same level…HHHMMM. Perhaps the women in the family still do not vote either possibly? Get with the 21st century please.

  2. Shawna October 13, 2017 at 6:30 PM #

    Thank you!! I have been answering and seeing the same comments. I find many who are saying them are people who don’t know much about BSA programs or are have been away from them for so long that they are unaware of how family friendly Cub Scouts is and that girls are already there. They just don’t get recognized right now.

  3. Brandy October 13, 2017 at 6:41 PM #

    Loving this opportunity for boys and girls! We all need more role models and those that have life skills. My son is an Eagle and he agrees that girls and boys can accomplish Eagle as there is nothing in the requirements that is gender specific.

  4. Seana October 13, 2017 at 6:42 PM #

    I’m happy about the decision. Wish it had come in time for my 15 year old daughter.

    My 16 year old son is involved in both a Troop and a Crew – although I’d like to believe we have shaped him to have strong respectful platonic friendships with girls, I think he has gotten a great deal from his Venture experience. (As well as from friendships with little sisters of older scouts along his path.)

  5. Janelle October 13, 2017 at 7:42 PM #

    I am stoked about this decision! What a great way to make the program grow and bring in more volunteers and ideas! It’s interesting that many of the comments I am reading on other sites, they aren’t even involved, but feel the need to form an opinion. This is a good move for the BSA! 🇺🇸

  6. Mark Foley Sr October 13, 2017 at 8:07 PM #

    It is amazing how girls are welcome to come to Cub & family events up till age 11 then they send them away to 14 currently. At 14th and have the option of Ventering or Sea Scouts, Explorer & Stem. Girl can earn the Venting Summit Award , Sea Scout QuarterMaster rank ( the Highest Rank in Sea Scouts since 1930 & only 33 youth earned it in the US.) Most BSA youth Leadership positions at the Consel, Area, Reginal , National & International level have female youth serving with male youth leader on commites Right Now.
    As a former Cub Scout Leader, Boys Scout Assistant Scout Master, Ventering Committee Member, Sea Scout Skipper and Dad of Two Eagle Scout. My third son is 14 Life Scout. Life is Co-ed my son know how to be gentlemen .
    Make no mistake boy can be boys while they grew into fine young men in Souting.

  7. Jennifer October 13, 2017 at 8:40 PM #

    I agree! Why not share the values and encourage even more model citizens? It’s a great idea that is long overdue. Most other countries have Scouting (not only boys or girls)

  8. Rick October 13, 2017 at 9:10 PM #

    “And the Girl Scout program does not appeal to all girls. Many people prefer the BSA curriculum. Some churches have severed ties with the Girl Scouts due to parts of the curriculum and the people they are holding up as role models. So this gives girls another option.”

    So now girls have the option to be in an all girl program or join the boy/girl program, but boys no longer have there own program that just they can do.
    Why are all these parents wanting there daughters join BOY Scouts? There is an Organization for girls it’s the GSA. I keep seeing “it’s not as good as the BSA”, well then make it as good, with out the Scouts and parents there are in GSA you can demand it become better. If your a dad or mom then join GSA and be a leader. What it looks like to me is that they have a boy in Cub Scouts and they don’t want to invest anymore time in a different organization for their girl so they just push for their girl to join Boy Scouts. I keep seeing “this will be great for my daughter”, but I keep thinking this will not be great for my son. There is a difference in how boys and girls interact with each other. The boys I have play rougher then girls and I don’t want to keep saying don’t do that she’s a girl and YES they say it will be boy Dens and girl Dens but they will come together at all kinds of events. You say girls are already there but there a guest there so it’s different then being the member. So Just get more involved in your daughters activities and not shoe horn her in to your sons because it’s easier on you. I think there will be a lot of parents getting out of BSA if they let girls in. I know Eagle Scouts wont mean as much as soon as it is awarded to a girl.

    • Scouter Mom October 14, 2017 at 7:06 AM #

      Yes, girls are already present and participating at Cub Scouting events. It is a family program. They are welcome at pack meetings, council events, and more. You still have the option to join an all boy pack, but chances are the sisters will still be running their cars on the derby track and playing the games with the boys.

      The Boy Scout program will still be all boys. The new program will be all girls.

    • Dawn October 14, 2017 at 12:30 PM #

      What kind of person holds the belief that an award is lessened because it’s been earned by a female. It’s an earned award, period. The only reason it has not been awarded to a female is because that opportunity was not available. Is the Purple Heart lessened because it has been awarded to females? Is the Noble Peace prize been lessened because of females? So disappointing

      • Kathy Ruppert October 15, 2017 at 1:19 PM #

        This is by far my favorite comment of all.

  9. Tom October 15, 2017 at 11:03 AM #

    I think it is a wonderful thing having a son earn Eagle while his twin sister could not. Both are in venturing and she was at the national jamboree that allowed girls to attend. I do NOT believe they should be separate. Packs and troop have a hard enough time to find scouts as well as leaders. Venture Scouts is a great example that it works.

  10. Richie Palka October 15, 2017 at 11:41 AM #

    As a Cub Master, Past Scout Master, Den Leader, Asst. Scoutmaster & Cub Master , many positions on the committee as well as chair and Charter Organistion Exec and Rep, I see some obstacles to this decision, but they can be overcome easily. I look forward to the challenge. Without knowing the full story, I have already heard Scoutmasters say “I did not sign up for this.”

    I will put this forward, we will need to have a mother or father sign up as a Den Leader for their daughters Den as she signs up. Having been a Cub Masrer, Webelos Den Leader and Tiger Cub Den Leader at 5he same time is hard with only one gender to be concerned with.

    I think it is interesting. If people are unhappy, why don’t they get out and make the GSA better for the girls who want to join the BSA because the GSA does not do the job for them. I know many GSA Leaders who work real hard to give the girls a great program.

    I must say, that Camping GSA style is like checking into the Hilton, versus cutting down a site, clearing large rocks building a fire ring and then find wood for the fire, cut it up etc.

    Even cabin camping is so different. BSA is extreme rustic, for lack of another word. GSA is very nice as we found out one year when all BSA sites were booked and we were able to find a GSA camp which was having its annual boys weekend. I leaving the cabin to go to the latrine until I realized there was porcelain indoors, not to mention showers with hot water. I was in heaven.

  11. erin October 15, 2017 at 2:53 PM #

    It is hard to give a point of view when you see both sides of the coin. I have a pack that I am a de leader for and it co-ed for 15 yrs plus. And I am a leader for two packs that are all boys. I have a daughter who was a girl scout for 4 years before she was signed up for the pack in Cambridge mass. She had been in the gsa til her junior year was supposed to start. She is on her webalos year and switching to the troop this coming summer. And I have one that started as a lion and if I say a scout is. I have her attention as soon as I say it. I also have a brother is in his second year as a boy scout and he was not showing any improvement in scout with the pack her was with. He just got his tenderfoot last june. He has join the pack as one of our den chiefs. and we just had out pumpkin fest yesterday and he was able to tomahawk and had fun doing it. I see the improvement if the pack and troop are the right fit for the kids, and I would not treat my daughter an different that the boys do with me at scout. A scout is loyal and I am very loyal to my scouts and to my kids

  12. Jim R October 15, 2017 at 6:56 PM #

    I have 5 daughters and my job as a Christian father is to protect them physically,mentally and spiritually. This is the age when their hormones start kicking in. They start experimenting and pier pressure is ridiculous at that age. When the first girl gets groped or molested because of this decision all you who have daughters will say (How could we have been so stupid) we don’t know how others kids are raise but our own and we don’t know what their home life is like. Are you people willing to accept responsibility for this decision because it’s our kids who will be forever damaged by it.

    • Thomas Schuckman October 19, 2017 at 1:07 PM #

      Jim with that ill mentality i guess you keep your daughters away from boys like all girl school, all girl christian church and so on and so on. I have a daughter that was a Venturing scout and camp with a crew of boys and girls. Scout program in the rest of the world is actually co ed. My daughter made great friends more male than females thru out her scouting life. Worked on several Eagle projects since she would never be able to do her own. For a man to have those thoughts that you have proposed in your statement, it is not the boys I fear but people like you.

    • Kenneth Shaw December 4, 2017 at 10:14 AM #

      Mr. R,

      To step up to a leadership position (Cubmaster and Wolf Den Leader for me) is to accept responsibility. Scouting reinforces a positive home life and the chances of something bad happening doesn’t stop at gender.

      I respect your opinion but things will work out.

  13. Joshua October 15, 2017 at 6:59 PM #

    I disagree with the sentiment about the Girl Scout Gold Star not having the same recognition as the Boy Scout Eagle Award. Per the Recruiting Manual, we are allowed to give Advanced Pay Grade of E3 to any male with an Eagle Scout award from the Boy Scouts and any female with a Gold Star from the Girl Scouts. That literally gives them the same level of recognition by the United States Government itself.

    • Dave October 17, 2017 at 6:46 PM #

      I agree with you about the government recognition.

      But many private universities and most corporations don’t know what the Gold award is. I tell everyone who has earned his Eagle Scout rank to put that on his resume, even if he is 50, because it has virtually universal recognition. The Gold award is not known by many in the general public unless they were involved in Girl Scouts.

  14. catsmeow123 October 16, 2017 at 10:42 AM #

    I think girls should have this opportunity the same way that boys do. Just because its a girl doesn’t mean that the award is less deserved. Girls and boys both have the right to get awards and basic survival skills. People shouldn’t say that it is less meaningful because a girl got it.

  15. Carol October 16, 2017 at 12:17 PM #

    Jim R., are you aware that girls have been in Baden Powell Scouts, Venturing, Explorers, Sea Scouts, all camp staffs, Jamboree, and most camporees for decades?

  16. Ann Perrone October 16, 2017 at 10:19 PM #

    As with most other major changes (from going vegan to block scheduling to mandatory seat belts to gay people in the church), there are several stages that people seem to go through. With social media as well as anonymity the stages are expressed publicly, loudly, and sometimes fact-challenged. Nevertheless, expect to see mocking and counter-factual memes, dire predictions of hell and damnation, ecstatic over-enthusiasm, taunting, fence-sitting, signing up, quitting, unexpected alliances, and nuts-and-bolts questioning. Personally, I prefer to hear from people with recent experience in both the BSA and GSUSA or at least recent experience with one of these. Take a look at the world model of “Scouting” (Canada, UK, Germany, Mexico, India, Greece, Trinidad, etc) and learn what works. Read up on how the proposed single-gender dens and patrols will be structured and run. Look for market research on what many Scouting families indicated they wanted. Listen and listen and think and don’t shut down. I think it’ll work. I’m going to work hard to make it work in my Troop.

  17. Dave October 17, 2017 at 7:05 PM #

    It’s important to understand that the BSA and GSUSA charter units differently. The BSA partners with community organizations (churches, civic clubs, businesses, etc.) to charter units. The chartered organization has full control over the unit.

    GSUSA charters all troops through their local council.

    So the statement “Some churches have severed ties with the Girl Scouts due to…” might just infer the support of GSUSA, but they have not been able to charter a GS troop.

    • Deb L October 18, 2017 at 6:26 AM #

      Girl Scouts do not charter troops. Troops form and meet wherever they choose – schools, churches, fire stations, community buildings, etc. There is no charter fee and their meeting site is only supplying that – a meeting site.

  18. Lance October 18, 2017 at 10:00 PM #

    This is another sad step in the feminization of America. Allowing girls into the Boy Scouts is just beyond ridiculous. Mike Surbaugh and every BSA executive who approved this have destroyed a 100 plus year old institution.

    • Scouter Mom October 19, 2017 at 9:31 AM #

      If you don’t want girls in the BSA you need to find a time machine and go back to the 1960’s. The BSA has been serving young women for decades – through Exploring, Sea Scouts, Venturing, STEM Scouts. I believe Explorer Posts became coed in 1971.

      The Boy Scout program itself will remain for boys only. Girls in that age group will be served by a new program.

      • Lance October 19, 2017 at 11:58 AM #

        Okay, let me jump in my Delorean and kick it up to 88 mph to visit the 1960s

        Really sad to me that so many people try to justify this. Boy Scouts is for boys. Girl Scouts is for girls. If girls were unhappy with the Girl Scout program, then they should have worked to fix it.

        This is going far beyond “equality.” This is about suppression of men and masculinity. This leftist ideology has already been working its way into corporate America and the public schools for the past several years.

        Yahoo is now being sued as the company’s female-heavy leadership tried to virtually eliminate all men from the company…how’s that for “equal opportunity.”

        There’s a big difference between girls and women being involved in BSA sponsored programs (Explorers, Venturers, etc.) or with women being in support roles, as well as members of other BSA programs, as opposed to having girls as actual registered members of the “Boy” Scouts of America.

        • Scouter Mom October 19, 2017 at 12:33 PM #

          I can say with 100% certainty that Venturers are “actual registered members of the Boy Scouts of America”. They fill out the same application as Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. The young women in our crew get a BSA membership card just like everyone else. This is fact. I’m just saying this is nothing new. Nobody made this much fuss over girls being BSA members until now.

    • Hut November 12, 2017 at 5:57 PM #

      Lance,

      Simple question. How did Mike Surbaugh and every BSA executive who approved this destroy a 100 plus year old institution? I see a lot of emotion and not much thought. I see lot of right or left, but no middle.

      I was and am a Cub Scout leader. Little sisters are so prevelent that we create many “sibiling dens” which work and act separate from my son’s den. I get tired of hearing about “absolutes” and seeing all the “histrionics” from crtics. It sounds like you are only interested in freedom for yourself and taking it away from others to do what they deem fit. Just saying… that is how I see it.

  19. Christopher Allen-Poole October 22, 2017 at 11:02 AM #

    I’ll start by admitting I would prefer all boys.

    > Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls

    Balderdash. This statement assumes that there will be both enough scouts of both genders to be able to support multiple dens. If there is one first grade boy, and there are five first grade girls, what will happen? Are you saying that the boy can’t join a den because he’s a boy? What about the reverse?

    Cub Scouting is about the family, and families will always be involved (of both genders), but I find it impossible to believe that “your den will be only one gender”.

    Actually, come to think of it, I’m surprised that the standard is “if a pack wants to have coed dens, or single gender dens, that will be up to the pack.”

    • Christopher Allen-Poole October 22, 2017 at 11:03 AM #

      And, as a side note, my Tiger only has three in his den (including him), if a girl wanted to join us, I’d be very, very glad of it.

  20. Jenny Burroughs October 25, 2017 at 1:10 PM #

    Hello, do you thing councils should start implementing a committee of volunteers that can assist in the transition. So I’m thinking of starting a committee in my council where a few of us can assist with questions from volunteers or even assist in pack transition. Packs are going to need representation from the chartered organization all the way down to the public. Let me know!

  21. Wendy October 25, 2017 at 7:45 PM #

    I find it interesting that scouting in most European countries is co-ed and has been for some time. So if we need to see an example of what may or may not happen we should look to our friends across the ocean.

    • Debra A Lovensheimer October 26, 2017 at 7:31 AM #

      Guide Girls, another name for Girl Scouts, is in Europe. Girl Guides/Girl Scouts is in 150 countries around the world. http://www.wagggs.org. I post this merely as a point of interest.

  22. Tom Fellrath November 2, 2017 at 9:39 AM #

    I wish that the BSA would get out of the identity/membership game (religions, sexuality, gender, etc.) and instead focus on delivering a fantastic youth leadership development program with top-flight resources. Just wave the white flag at the culture warfare going on in our country and move on. The Bob Gates-driven model of letting Chartered Orgs determine the suitability of leaders is perfect (and, to a degree, is being used with the Cub Scout repositioning). Let each organization decide if they want to be open or not, whether to embrace traditions or not. That immediately solves a lot of problems for the BSA.

    The frustrating thing about the Cub Scout move is that it “kinda-sorta” allowed girls in. Once the bloom is off the public relations rose of this decision, we all intuitively know that the BSA is once again going to be forced to explain why they treat one group of people differently than another. It may have been what was necessary to move the ball forward, but there was another way.

    Let the Chartered Orgs decide membership composition, BSA. Please!

  23. KAREN MILLER November 2, 2017 at 1:48 PM #

    well, as much as BSA would like the units to be separate I know of an existing boy troop in TX and one in NC that will start unofficially incorporating girls as of Jan 2018, and I’ve seen similar notes posted on several Girl Scout leader facebook groups. Girls don’t want to be part of a brand new unit without institutional knowledge, equipment, trained leaders. They want to be part of the groups already doing cool stuff.

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