Though the official Boy Scout mantra regarding this change is that the organization wants to give girls the opportunity to do the neat things that boys do in Boy Scouts instead of the girly things that girls do in Girl Scouts, the unofficial subtext appears to be that the Boy Scouts' membership ― and subsequently income ― has been on a downward slide over the past few decades and recruiting girls is a Hail Mary to hopefully boost the organization's numbers.
At this point the policy for allowing girls into the Cub Scouts and later Boy Scouts is that, while the girls will be technically part of the Boy Scouts, their dens will be segregated from the boys and will be led by female leaders.
So apparently the dens will still be groups of girls led by women doing the girly things that girls do. Except that instead of the Girl Scouts getting the membership of these girls, Boy Scouts will get it.
Sure sounds like a hostile take-over to me. Not to mention that it will likely create a situation for the girl Scouts in which they will be considered the "B" team to the boys' "A" team. Which I guess will be good training for the world these girls will face as adult women.
And BTW, does anyone else find it un petit peu obnoxious that the subtle assumption in our society among many is that what boys do is always better than what girls do, so that girls should be encouraged to abandon their dolls, princess gear and Girl Scouting and take up toy trucks, Star Wars figurines and Boy Scouting? I mean, why shouldn't boys likewise be encouraged to play with Barbies and lobby to join Girl Scouts?
Get my point?
All right, in truth I don't seriously have a problem with who joins what. As long as the kids are happy, as was my daughter Theresa ― who wanted nothing to do with Daisies or Brownies ―
From my experience the truest thing I've ever heard said about Scouting, be it of the Boy or Girl variety, was in a statement from Lisa Margosian, a Girl Scout official who defended Girl Scouting as a "safe space" for girls. This is what Girl Scouting really was for me. Aside from all the enjoyable activities, the camaraderie, the mastery of indoor and outdoor skills, feelings of accomplishment, and the other things I picked up from Scouting, I believe that for me Girl Scouts was first and foremost a safe space through my adolescent and early teen years to be my dorky little self, to step off the Peer Group Expressway once a week and during camping weekends, a space in which I could laugh and be silly and goofy and young and uncool and accepted and accepting without fear of being dorky and silly and goofy and young and uncool and unaccepted. In the world I had to try to fit in. In Girl Scouts I just did fit in. Because most of the girls in Scouting back then were like me, traveling in the slow lane of the Peer Group Expressway; and in Girl Scouts that was a comfortable lane to be in.
The least true thing I've heard said about Scouting was in a statement by a Boy Scout official who claimed that Boy Scouting developed "outstanding leadership skills and organization."
I believe it is a myth that Boy Scouting develops discipline and leadership in boys who don't necessarily come by those characteristics naturally. What Scouting does offer boys is enjoyable activities, camaraderie, mastery of indoor and outdoor skills, feelings of accomplishment, and, first and foremost, a safe space in which to laugh and be dorky and silly and goofy and young and uncool and accepted; a place where it's okay to be comfortable traveling in the slow lane of the Peer Group Expressway.
To each Scout their safe space, wherever that may be.