Boy Scouts of America begins a new era by accepting female members


The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced October 11 that they will welcome girls into their currently all-male organization starting in 2018. Girls will now be able to join the BSA Cub Scout program, which organizes field trips, service projects, and other activities for children between the ages of seven and ten years old, and their Boy Scout program for children between the ages of ten and 17, according to
Currently, BSA has 2.3 million members between the ages of seven and 21 and about 1 million volunteers, according to The New York Times. Boy Scouts of America runs programs throughout the United States and its territories, with the goal of helping children develop a strong sense of moral values and a sense of responsibility toward their communities, according to

Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts in Michigan at a Memorial Day ceremony. Courtesy of The New York Times.

“The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law,” according to
After a hundred years of supporting the development and flourishment of boys, the BSA will now offer this opportunity to girls. 
In an interview with The New York Times, Boy Scouts of America Chairman Mr. Randall Stephenson discussed the benefits of the programs that BSA offers to its members.
“I’ve seen nothing that develops leadership skills and discipline like this organization. It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls,” Mr. Stephenson said, according to The New York Times.
Younger girls will be able to join Cub Scouts programs in 2018, but Cub Scouts “dens” will remain single-sex. A den is a group of at most eight scouts who are all in the same grade. The smaller sized group gives children the opportunity to form bonds with their den leaders and fellow cub scouts, while participating in activities and holding leadership positions, according to
Additionally, older girls will be able to join a Scouting program that will be available in 2019. The program will allow them to reach Eagle Scout status, the highest rank within the BSA, according to
Following the announcement, many spoke out about the decision, including the all-female equivalent to the BSA: the Girl Scouts of the United States of America organization (Girl Scouts). 
“The need for female leadership has never been clearer or more urgent than it is today – and only Girl Scouts has the expertise to give girls and young women the tools they need for success – The benefit of the single-gender environment has been well-documented by educators, scholars, other girl- and youth- serving organizations, and Girl Scouts and their families,” Girl Scouts USA said, according to CNN. “Girl Scouts offers a one-of-a-kind experience for girls with a program tailored specifically to their unique developmental needs.”
Daisy Scouts, members of Girl Scouts’ equivalent to cub scouts, laying American Flags to honor fallen soldiers in Michigan. Courtesy of

In a news release, Boy Scouts of America discussed their decision to allow girls the opportunity to participate in their programs.
“The historic decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls, the organization evaluated the results of numerous research efforts, gaining input from current members and leaders, as well as parents and girls who’ve never been involved in Scouting– to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children,” the BSA press release said.
While girls are now welcome to join the BSA programs, transgender children are also offered this opportunity. Last year,  BSA announced that it would begin accepting scouts based on the gender listed in their program application January 30, according to
“For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports, and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs … However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state,” the BSA said in a statement, according to
Recently, Sacred Heart Greenwich students in their Contemporary Issues class discussed the BSA’s decision to welcome girls into their Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts programs with Upper School History teacher and Speech and Debate moderator Mr. Joseph Valentine.
“In a world where inclusiveness for all has become the guiding principal in society, the idea of continuing to have traditional communities of same-sex environments is still sought out. One needs to look at the foundational reasons as to why girls would choose to join the Boy Scouts instead of the Girls Scouts, and make decisions based on that answer. ” Mr. Valentine said. “If females are looking to participate in similar activities that are found within the Boy Scouts, would a better option be to spend the money to improve the activities and experiences of the Girl Scout program?”
-Katie McCabe, News Editor