"There are people who still think of Girl Scouts as campfires, cookies and friendship bracelets-but we are so much more!" "What happened yesterday is that we have another new competitor". Girl Scout officials have suggested the BSA's move was driven partly by a need to boost revenue, and they contended there is fiscal stress in part because of past settlements paid by the BSA in sex-abuse cases.
"We are the organization creating - through our skill-building Girl Scout Leadership Experience - the female leadership pipeline", said Mary Barneby, the CEO of Girl Scouts of CT, in a statement.
Local Girl Scout leader Cathy Dayton says the program provides benefits that might be lost in a coed environment. The larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to remain single gender or welcome both genders. The organization will admit girls into the Cub Scouts starting next year and establish a new program for older girls based on the Boy Scout program that enables them to advance to the Eagle Scout rank. "So, when we have the whole family together, that really helps the parents to get the activities that they want". It's about what we convey to young women about their achievements and the context in which they pursue them - that they are less valuable, simply because they weren't designed by men.
I recognize that there are girls and families for whom the Girl Scouting programs in their communities don't meet their needs. "Girls and boys are wired differently - you can't just put out the same curriculum". "It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls". "I'm not sending her out in the woods with 30 boys". But the new policy isn't a straightforward win for girls. However, there are many unanswered questions as to the effectiveness the BSA programming will have on girls.
"We see it as more market competition", Else said, "and that's unfortunate".
Hulet said she is excited about the announcement and agreed with Surbaugh in that the tenets of being a good Scout can apply to both boys and girls.
Ultimately, it will be up to the each Boy Scout troop's or Cub Scout pack's chartering organization, such as Bethel Church or Richland fire company, to decide if girls will be included, Gulnac noted.
Joni Kinsey, an art history professor at the University of Iowa, has been both a youth member and a troop leader in the Girl Scouts and fought against the possible sale of camps in her region. For years, she has watched her daughters, now 14, 16, and 21, participate in the local program, with her oldest earning the "Ranger" award, the highest ranking a woman can achieve.
The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America reported about 2.3 million youth members and Explorers registered in individual programs with roughly 950,000 registered adult leaders, according to its 2015 annual report, the most recent available.
BSA offered camps to Girl Scouts affected by closures.
Mixed feelings also were expressed by the president of the National Organization for Women, Toni Van Pelt.
The BSA said its decision comes after years of requests from girls to join.
Many have rightfully applauded as the Boy Scouts of America have become more inclusive over the past few years. The women are unable to earn the organization's rankings, but are able to participate in the same activities, though they are technically part of a different program.
Co-ed programs through the Boy Scouts organization are nothing new, he said. Most of it was positive.