Boy Scouts of America to allow girls to join


<pedant>Scout rank has been there a while; I started in 1981 and it was still fairly new then.</pedant> But yeah, that still means that for most of the history of BSA, it did not exist. I think so much of it overlaps with Arrow of Light that it’s redundant; they might as well confer the Scout rank onto the Arrow of Light recipient right then and there.

I believe that, at the same time they introduced Scout, the uniforms changed from olive-colored shirts to khaki.

My son has lost interest in it but the main new thing I noticed was that they did away with skill awards (the metal ones that fit over the belt). When he was in Cub Scouts, it was all right on the cusp of changing, but much of his Bear handbook (mainly, the illustrations) was just how I remembered from the late 1970s.

IIRC, way back when, “Lion” was the same rank that’s now called “Webelos.” IMO nothing disrupted pack night than having Lion-age (and, in some cases, Tiger-age) Cubs running amok among 5th graders who, as the “big boys,” were expected to keep still.

Part of me wants to see my son stick with Scouts and finish what he started. (I didn’t finish, myself, though I made it farther, and put more effort into it, than he did.) The other part of me says if he’s not interested, he’s not interested – and the Jamboree episode just makes it easier for me to accept that.

FWIW I’m unaware of any public school (at least, in my area) that sponsors any Boy or Cub Scout groups. I thought it had to do with BSA’s stance on religion and that taxpayer-funded organizations could, or would, no longer sponsor troops/packs. OTOH the local high school rents (or was renting) its cafeteria to a church on Sundays, so maybe that’s not the reason. Local schools also (to my knowledge) do not sponsor Girl Scouts or Camp Fire, and those have no religious qualification. My kids’ elementary school would let all of those groups publicize on back-to-school night, but the school’s involvement started and ended with that.

(various edits for clarity)


I don’t have a storied history, but the organization as a whole seemed to be stressing that the scout rank is now different somehow.
It used to be called “a joiner’s badge” just for walking in the door, but as of 2016, it’s got some actual “demonstrate and know” requirements.
As in now you have this grey area of kids that are attending a meeting, but haven’t yet attained any rank.

And yes, keeping the lions and tigers engaged enough to let the older cubs be the exemplary beacons is… difficult. Although sometimes it’s harder to keep the older cubs in place, because they’ve finally learned that authority is only as honored as you make it.

Finally- looks like there’s some PTAs that sponsor troops, and I may have been conflating that. You’re likely right about the distinction.


Good for you for supporting both. I’m sorry to hear about the family logistics, though. Bummer.


You obviously are ignorant of the fact that Scouts has implemented the strictest standards I know of to keep adults from the opportunity to abuse children. Adults are simply NEVER permitted to be alone with minors, not driving in a car, not in a “one on one meeting”, not in a tent. Even if a HS senior turns 18 he’s no longer allowed to share a tent with his buddies. By presuming EVERYONE potentially guilty, there’s no discrimination in the protection of children.

If other institutions like churches, education, athletics and business (particularly Hollywood) had these standards, where persons of authority are not alone with their subordinates, we’d have a lot less abuse.


Girl Scouts puts a huge premium on troops being “girl led” which means that, in theory, the troops are free to do whatever the girls are interested in. This is why there is no hard and fast rules for what sort of activities a troop does. There are incredibly outdoorsy troops. However, one challenge is that what a troop does is often limited by what the leaders are comfortable doing.

Where GSUSA has failed (and, I fully believe, starting with the council mergers which completely undermined its ability to support volunteers) is that it no longer offers the training and support for leaders that helped them do things they personally weren’t familiar with. (There used to be these great how-to guides that would walk troop leaders through every step of say, running a camping trip). Honestly, the best thing GSUSA could do sometimes would be to go back to the way they were doing things before.


What makes me sad is that there are probably a lot of families thinking just this. And GS will suffer as it loses girls and some of its best volunteers. (I used to love scouting family volunteers, because they stepped up).


I have trouble thinking of GSUSA as heavy handed, considering it’s pretty much abandoned its previous work of supporting the councils and the volunteers.

The reason that the boy scout’s fundraising sale goes differently is because BSA gets a vast majority of its funding through (major) donations and grants. It’s like the default “I’m going to give money to help the youth” organization. They don’t actually need the money from the sale.

Girl Scout councils get 70% of their operating budget from the cookie sale. Money from donors and grants is rather few and far between.

I’ve got my dark suspicions for why that is (starting with the fact that no one can talk about girl scouts without being dismissive or essentially patting them on their darling little heads).


I think if BS allowed kids to set the agenda it would look a lot different too. Seems like a bad idea, pushing kids out of their comfort zone is one of the benefits of an organization like BSA. A significant number of Scouts, at least in our troop, are kids with social or emotional issues whose parents were looking for something outside of school for additional socialization and structure. Most of these kids would not be choosing a 10 mile hike!!


…at least below the 49th parallel.


If you know anything about the girls souts–it’s that they’d never let either of those two things happen.


At practice last night, my goalie–the only girl on the team–came over and high-fived me saying “I can be a cub scout!” She was beaming.

They had to swab the deck a bit while I went over to get a sip of water and compose myself. At the U10 level, they are always a quick distraction away from anarchy, so I needed to keep my Coach Sternface mode active.


Not sure where you’re from, but the Kaposia district in the SE Metro of the Twin Cities has apparently been piloting the girl Cubs program for the past year.
The participants expected it to roll up in the next 3-4 years, and it seems to have taken them by surprise as to how fast they rolled out.

(youth hockey makes me think there’s a >10% chance you know of where I’m talking about…)


That makes sense. BSA tends to test out new program changes, like the Lions. I’m surprised they could keep it quiet.

Heh, I was talking soccer. I’m in suburban Philly.




An educated guess! A good one, too. In a parallel universe, perhaps.


Its interesting that the Eagle Scouts I knew growing up, who joined the military tended to gravitate towards the highly skilled sections. Not “grunt” material. An Annapolis grad who became a surgeon. A West Point grad who joined the JAG. Two people who became Air Force pilots One person who joined the Department of State after military service (and probably a CIA “spook”).


The trouble is that GSA’s main goal seems to be continuing to fund GSA national HQ. Everything else is basically a side project. To which I ask, what then is the point of national HQ, except to file necessary paperwork for non-profit status?

The cookie sales also don’t net them near as much as they should, because the bakers union keeps demanding a larger cut, and time negotiations such that failure might mean no sales at all for a year. They’re a bit hamstrung by their own brand: they’ve convinced Americans that they need thin mints, which makes sending all or part of their cookie order somewhere else very difficult. In my opinion, teaching young girls that it builds character to be a slave labor force for a niche baking industry doesn’t sound like a particularly empowering lesson.

Compare this to the fundraising in BSA: cub scouts sell pop corn, and when I was a boy scout, we didn’t even do that: we sold yard supplies, like fertilizer and ladybugs. The primary idea being 1) let the younger kids sell the easier thing, 2) most people aren’t buying things that they want, they’re buying things that they merely don’t mind having, just to support scouting. You could similarly have girl scouts selling 'Nilla Wafers and Twinkies at a markup, and people would still buy them to support the girls.

(Edited for improved clarity.)


I would so kill to be part of Team Venture.


The problem is that you’ll need to die a lot


You misunderstand me. The girls don’t avoid doing stuff outside of their comfort zone; they’re all about getting excited about things that they haven’t done before or are worried about. (see the cookie sale and the shy girls). But the problem is that many of the parents and leaders aren’t good about providing or suggesting activities that are outside their (the leaders’) comfort zones.