Boy Scouts Will Allow Girls to Join in 2018

On Wednesday, October 11th, the Boy Scouts of America announced that they were going to start letting girls join their program in 2018. When I got the notification on my phone, I was shocked. I stared at the news update, unsure what to make of the news; then, I got angry.

I've been in Girl Scouts since I was in first grade. My family had just moved to town, and my mom wanted me to make friends, so she signed me up for our local Girl Scout troop. I would go on to earn my Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards (the latter being the highest achievement in Girl Scouts), and the girls in my troop are still my best friends to this day. Some of my favorite childhood memories come from Girl Scout camping such as making monkey bread, roasting marshmallows on a fire that I built, or having fun with my friends in the cabin.  I also remember attending Broadway Shines a Light on Girls Education, where I got to see Michelle Obama and Princess Rania of Jordan speak.

The reason Boy Scouts has decided to allow girls to join their organization is because, apparently, there have been many requests from girls and families to allow this to happen. These girls and families believe that the Boy Scout programs offer skills that girls need for the future, but have they forgotten the existence of Girl Scouts?

The lessons I learned by being a member of Girl Scout Troop 2378 are things that have shaped me into who I am, and I can honestly say that I wouldn't be at American University if it weren't for the skills and achievements afforded to me by Girl Scouts.

At every meeting, Girl Scouts recite the Girl Scout Promise, promising to "serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law." The Girl Scout Law outlines the principles of Girl Scouting, including honesty, consideration, courage, responsibility, respect for yourself and others, and making the world a better place. 

At every level of Girl Scouting, girls earn badges and work on projects that build skills for ourselves and help the community around us. Some of the badges we earn include first aid, making friends, detective skills, babysitting, movie-making, marketing, public speaking, business etiquette, staying fit, and respecting authority. We also do programs like the Girl Scout Bake Off, where we are taught the importance of competition and how to win and lose with grace. Various "Take Action" projects teach girls the importance of speaking up and taking responsibility for ourselves. Even cookie season taught us how to properly speak to people and how to sell a product.

For each of the major achievements in Girl Scouting, girls must complete a service project, each one increasing in merit and difficulty. For my Bronze Award, my troop volunteered at a food pantry, collecting items over the span of a few weeks and forming relationships with the people that frequented there. My Silver Award project was a tutoring program for middle school aged kids over the summer, reinforcing the importance of learning even when you're not in school. At the end of my sophomore year of high school, I received my Gold Award. My project for my Gold Award was a guide for new students moving into my neighborhood, and I created a club at my school that would continue to update the guide and help new students become acclimated to our town.

Everything that Girl Scouts has taught me has made a valuable contribution to my development. While I understand the goals of inclusivity by allowing girls to join their ranks, Boy Scouts is unintentionally undermining all of the good that Girl Scouts does in shaping young women in today's society. Girls should have a space where they don't have to compete with boys and be able to create a bond with girls that have similar interests.

Cover Photo Credit: 1

Gif Credit: 1, 2