The Prowler

Girls soon to make way into Boy Scouts

Joseph Granat, Feature Editor

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Her abilities go beyond the standard needed for the Boy Scouts, but she can’t hold the title of Eagle Scout because of her gender. Sydney Ireland, 16, has learned the trials and lessons of being a Boy Scout through her older brother’s experiences. Although she possesses the knowledge and skills required for participation, she can never become a Boy Scout.

On October 11, Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh announced on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America that they will be accepting both males and females into their organization. After over 100 years of the scouting, girls can finally have the option to join the boys in their training.

“[Girl Scouts] hasn’t developed over the years and Boy Scouts hasn’t changed either. Girl Scouts started in 1912 and are based on that way of living. This change gives them a chance to do more stuff,” Eagle Scout Brandon McGee said.

The Girl Scouts of the USA has been most well-known for selling cookies and brownies. But, their participation exceeds the infamous expectations.

“We’ve done a million different things; rafting, camping and community service. If you have a good leader, it’ll be fun,” troop leader Kerrin Vance said.

The Girl Scout community may not be as beneficial as one would believe as their highest ranking is the Gold Award. Comparatively to the Boy Scouts highest of Eagle Scout, they do not have as many benefits for this promotion as the boys do.
“[For Eagle Scouts] if you join the military, you would guarantee a high ranking. Being an Eagle Scout helps you get scholarships and jobs. Girls have Gold Award which is not as highly recognized,” former Girl Scout Victoria Mars said.

Victoria Mars, 16, has been involved in the Scouting community since the 5th grade. Her first exposure was to the Girl Scouts where she learned how to make crafts and minor outdoor activities. Mars did not seem to enjoy it as she had hoped as she ended up leaving in her 8th grade.

“Girl Scouts is mainly all crafts and safe activities. My brother is a Boy Scout and he does a lot of outdoors stuff. I heard [and joined] the program of venturing through him,” Mars said.

The Venturing program which is a co-ed Scout program that allows both genders to learn more leadership skills and experience outdoor activities such as water rafting and mountain climbing. While it is an activity appreciated by its participants, it does not however grant a person an Eagle Scout award.

Mars believes “what I have done and what I’m doing is more experienced” comparing the Venturing program to the Girl Scouts.

“[Mars] has more knowledge about tying knots than most boys,” Eagle Scout Jake McGee said.

While Mars may be too old by the time girls being allowed into the Boy Scouts takes effect, there are still millions of young women who can make their way in. In 2018, kindergarten through 8th grade girls will be able to join cub scouts as long as they have their own den. 2019 is the anticipated year where girls will be able to officially gain the title of Boy Scout and work to become Eagle Scouts.

“Girls have been wanting to join Boy Scouts. They’ve been coming along as siblings. It was a good decision on the Boy Scouts of America. But, it won’t change a whole lot for the next eight to ten years,” McGee said.

The curriculum for these girls in the troop may now be the same as the boys, but they have yet to be able to work side-by-side with them. Girls and boys will remain within their own gender groups when doing activities.

“All they want to do is include girls in the program. They will not be in the same patrols,” McGee said. “There will be shift bases and meetings, but they won’t be able to fully work together.”

Girls may not be able to fully work with boys, they will however be able to earn the same ranks as the boys and move through the same curriculum. Young women, like Sydney Ireland, that want to learn the same experiences as the Boy Scouts do may soon be able be able to proudly call themselves Eagle Scouts.

“I think it’s a big step forward. We’re one of the only countries now to have co-ed scouts,” Mars said.

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Girls soon to make way into Boy Scouts