Girls don't need the Boy Scouts' approval for their achievements

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As one woman claiming to be a troop leader said in an unofficial GSUSA Facebook group, "I am completely fed up with the journeys and badges". However, Farrer said initial discussions to make both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts programs co-ed died down about a year ago. "I personally think the Girl Scouts should stay the Girl Scouts, and the Boy Scouts should stay the Boy Scouts".

Girls will be able to join Cub Scout dens in 2018 and start working their way toward an Eagle Scout ranking come 2019.

Jan Barker, the long-serving CEO of the Girl Scouts' Heart of Michigan Council, suggested that Boy Scout programming would not be appropriate for many girls. In 2016, 822,999 boys were in Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts and 136,629 young men and women were in Venturing and Sea Scouts.

But allowing girls to join the Boy Scouts marks a dramatic change in the organization, and the decision quickly drew an online backlash, as well as criticism from the Girl Scouts, who now would have to compete for members.

As the story goes, a meeting in 1912 with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of Boy Scouts, inspired Juliette Gordon Low to establish Girl Scouts. "BSA's declining membership has been well-documented, as well as other significant challenges it faces". "Why not just put them [Boy and Girl Scouts] together and you could probably accomplish more with the kids ..." 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.

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We need more organizations - and leaders - who are willing to share those truths and those ideas with young people in our community.

-What opportunities might be available for girls and boys in a coed Boy Scouts 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. Every aspect of our programming (local and national) has been created to be girl focused and girl-led. Now known as the Venture Scouting program, it was formerly the Explorer Scouts when girls were first included in 1969.

Denise Ebersealer, the Director of Development and Communications for Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, said they want to maintain as many girls in their program as they can. Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi will stand true to our mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place and to the convictions we share through our traditions.

"Competition is nothing new for the Girl Scouts", said Kim Fraites-Dow, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania. "I just wish it were with the Girl Scouts". "We lost so many girls because of the weak programs and lack of support for outdoor activities".

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Wilcox said Girl Scouts is positioned for continued growth.

Nelles also said she was embarrassed by the harsh tone of some GSUSA statements assailing the Boy Scouts, such as one written this week by Latino civic leader Charles Garcia, a new member of Girl Scouts' national board.

But a local chapter of the Girl Scouts said the decision won't change much for them.

According to statistics, in the United States, 90 percent of female astronauts, 80 percent of female tech leaders, 76 percent of current senators and 50 percent of female business owners are former Girl Scouts.

"The Boy Scouts' approach is very militaristic and top-down, and I don't know if that's the best environment for girls to feel nurtured", said Barker, whose base is Kalamazoo, Michigan. Or do "boys need time to be boys and girls need time to be girls"?

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