BOY SCOUTS: A program for everyone

Matt Troher, A&E Editor

Growing up as a boy without a prominent central male figure in my life, Boy Scouts was an outlet for me to be, well, a boy. Through my six years as a Boy Scout, what I’ve learned is how to be a proper citizen.

In my time as a Scout, I’ve partaken in many of the trademark activities associated with Scouting. I’ve gone to summer camp, camped in the woods, marched in parades, and learned life skills through the merit badges I’ve earned. Some of my fondest memories and best friends are those I’ve made through Scouting.

In a statement released on Oct. 11, the Boy Scouts of America promised to “deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.”

When people read the headline “Boy Scouts will allow girls to join”, they get the image in their heads that boys and girls will be in the same troops together, going on campouts and partaking in activities together. This isn’t the case. The plan states that starting in 2019, girls will be able to join the “Scouting program” in female-only troops.

This is a step in the right direction. Scouts have been behind the curve of progress for too long. It wasn’t until 2013 that the ban on openly gay scouts was lifted, and it took until earlier this year for openly transgender boys to be allowed to join the ranks.

For an organization whose vision statement is to “prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law”, it’s certainly taken them some time to reach those goals.

Many critics say ‘why can’t the girls have Girl Scouts and the boys have Boy Scouts?’ Despite sharing a similar name, the two organizations have different programs. The highest rank in Girl Scouts, the Gold Award, is not nearly as well known as the Boy Scout’s highest rank, Eagle Scout. High adventure, a term used by the Boy Scouts to describe an extraneous form of outdoor activities does not have an equivalent in Girl Scouts.

Just let the boys be boys and the girls be girls. But why does this have to be the case? Why not let them choose? Every kid, regardless of gender, has individually unique skill sets and interests. They should be able to choose which program suits them better.