Jamie Kim co-editor-in-chief
Boy Scouts of America announced on Oct.11 that starting next year, it will allow girls to join the organization. In 2018, girls will be allowed to join the Cub Scouts program, and in 2019, a program allowing older girls to earn the rank of Eagle Scout will be instated.
This announcement has not only elicited a national debate, but also stirred conversations within the Norman Nation, including senior Michael Huang, who is currently working to become an Eagle Scout.
“I believe that Boy Scouts accepting girls is a big step towards being inclusive, as teaching girls to be strong leaders will come as necessary now and in the future,” Huang said.
Junior Daniel Wiener, also a Boy Scout, feels more personally connected to this change since he has a younger sister.
“Girls like my sister, who join their brothers on camping trips and enjoy it, can also feel the same sense of accomplishment that we do as they progress through the ranks of scouting instead of just tagging along,” Wiener said.
The organization’s main reason for opening up to girls, as stated by National Board Chairman Randall Stephenson, is to develop leadership qualities in girls, just as it does for boys.
“I believe that all the skills that I learned and refined from Boy Scouts, such as how to be a leader, should be taught to both boys and girls. They will both equally benefit from these abilities, if not now then in the long run,” junior Wesley Wu, also a Boy Scout, said.
While many, including women, have celebrated this decision, one group in particular has criticized it: the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, whose main argument is that the Girl Scouts program provides girls a positive environment to develop skills.
“Being in Girl Scouts has taught me to become a leader. It’s just that we learn some different skills, like selling arts and crafts, than the Boy Scouts do,” freshman Esther Goldberg, who had been a Girl Scout for six years, said.
However, history teacher Dan Moroaica, a father of two Girl Scouts, believes that the change is beneficial, as now, girls can learn the skills many Boy Scouts do.
“Obviously Girl Scouts is a great program, but Boy Scouts has certain activities that are only available to them that are just not part of the curriculum that Girl Scouts offers–some are more outdoorsy, some are more about self-sufficiency and self reliance. There are a lot of great skills that Boy Scouts teaches that don’t have to be just for boys,” Moroaica said.
Moroaica particularly favors the new program that will roll out in 2019, which will allow girls to earn the coveted Eagle Scout rank.
“[Becoming an Eagle Scout] is another advantage for getting into colleges; having that basically is an honor that very few people have. Having it only available to boys made it a little sexist,” Moroaica said. “This enables anyone who meets the standards to qualify for that, which is awesome.”