Local scouting community reacts to Boy Scouts changes

Local councils weigh in on Boy Scouts' admittance of girls

Girl Scout Troop 12940 presents the Little Free Library they created using an old dollhouse at Wild Oats last fall.

Ruby Jenco, Girl Scout ambassador from Troop 8709, is working toward her gold award and thinks the achievement deserves more recognition, like the Eagle Scout rank. "What happened yesterday is that we have another new competitor". Annali has been informally joining her brother Jayden, 9, at his Cub Scout meetings for about a year after leaving a Girl Scout troop, their mother said.

The Boy Scouts already have their Venturing and Sea Scout programs that have been open to teenage girls for years, and leadership wanted to expand opportunities to girls of all ages, Gardner said.

"'The values of scouting - trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, courageous and reverent, for example - are important for both young men and women, ' said Michael Surbaugh, chief scout executive".

"I think that just highlights, when you separate boys and girls, the environment and the culture diverges", said Lise Eliot, a neuroscience professor at Rosalind Franklin University who's written about gender stereotypes.

Giles emphasized that every Scout unit has a chartering organization that can decide if they will keep an all-boy pack or start an all-girl pack - or make the pack co-ed, with single-sex dens. She says the troop is about family, rather than gender. Their focus is on girls, let them figure it out.

The Indian Waters Council is taking about the only stand it can on the major change in policy announced by the Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday.

Communications manager Kristi Osterlund said while Girl Scouts are not concerned, the announcement will translate to a decrease in enrollment for Girl Scouts. If "boys will be boys", how long do you think it will be before a girl (or, more specifically, the parents of a girl) will be offended?

The Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana boasts almost nearly 53,000 youth members this year, though the chapter has seen a decline from more than 69,000 girls enrolled in 2013, a trend Payton said has been seen across most youth service organizations in recent years. Our local councils offer resources as well, so you won't be in it alone.

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Even this new move by the Boy Scouts isn't completely inclusive or integrated. And there have been deep rifts between leadership and grassroots members over the direction of programming and efforts by many councils to sell summer camps.

"All of our issues have weakened us to the point where the Boy Scouts now see opportunities", she said.

The Girls Scouts' statement puts it this way: "Girl Scouts is, and will remain, the scouting program that truly benefits US girls by providing a safe space for them to learn and lead".

"The Boy Scouts' house is on fire", Garcia wrote in the Huffington Post. Programs for older girls are expected to be available in 2019.

Besides being scout leaders for Troop 14, Juliet LeMond and Lauren Pulley both have sons in the Boy Scouts.

Other countries have shared-gender scouting organizations labeled under a gender-neutral name, such as Scouts Canada and Scouts Australia. As a result, she has mixed feelings about the Boy Scouts' new overture to girls. In catering to pressure groups, the Scouts are now losing the parents who would once sought out the unique and wholesome experience of Scouting.

The Girl Scouts sought unsuccessfully to dissuade the Boys Scouts from making the change and said it will remain committed to a single-gender mission. Currently, the Boy Scouts have 2.3 million members, versus the Girl Scouts' 1.8 million. Both organizations have also faced competition from conservative Christian youth groups, including American Heritage Girls and Trail Life USA.

Among those displeased with the announcement was 99-year-old Boy Scout volunteer Russ Gremel.

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