I want to applaud, I really do. But first, I want to know why and why now? They’ve come around on allowing homosexual youth, but not on atheist youth. Now they will allow anyone regardless of sex, will this also allow any gender?
Some facts and a question:
BSA Enrollment has dropped from ~3.3 million in 2000 to ~2.3 million today. Somewhere around 25% of that ~2.3 million number is LDS, or Mormon scouts, who have decided recently to leave BSA and form their own program, largely due to diverging values. The LDS church was using Scouting as their male youth program. They aren’t moving them all away at once, but they are starting with ~200k older kids, so it will probably take a few years. I think that the departure of the LDS program is a positive move for BSA, as Scouting appeared to be slow to change with our culture due mostly to demands from that demographic (and some others). However, with enrollment now dropping by about half in the last 17 years, there needs to be a change. Maybe this is it, but is the decision to allow young women to fully participate made in desperation to save BSA, or is it a genuine desire to serve young women? What does this do to Girl Scouts, a completely different organization?
A note on my experience - I am an Eagle Scout and a former adult leader for several years in my late 20s and early 30s. We had young women in my units when I was a teen in the late 1980s / early 1990s via Explorer Scouts, now called Venturing. I was also a Venture Crew Advisor (equivalent to Scoutmaster) as an adult. The Explorer/Venture rules were carefully tailored not to allow rank advancement in those programs, only through a troop, so that young women couldn’t become an Eagle Scout. I questioned it then, and am glad it is changing now. We had a few excellent young women who deserved the chance to become an Eagle Scout. I’m sure there are more out there.