BSA Chief answers your questions about welcoming girls into BSA programs

After the BSA Board of Directors’ historic decision to welcome girls into Scouting, many in the Scouting community had just one question: When can my daughter sign up?

Other Scouters had more specific questions about the reasons for the move, implementation and rollout plan.

On Oct. 30, I asked Scouters to submit their questions for BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh. By the time we recorded the video last week, we had received more than 400 questions.

I read each one, organized them by topic and took a representative sample of 22 questions directly to our Chief. He spoke openly and candidly for nearly 30 minutes.

For the best experience, watch the complete video of our discussion below.

But if you’re short on time, scroll for a question-by-question breakdown. I’ve included the video timestamp so you can jump directly to the answers that most interest you.

Watch the complete video

The questions and timestamps

1. How was the decision made?

Hear the answer at0:27

Question from: Chris S., a committee chairman in the Atlanta Area Council

2. Was decision driven by revenue and/or membership?

Hear the answer at: 5:24

Question from: Willis R., camping chairman for the Longs Peak Council

3. Was decision about lining pockets of BSA executives?

Hear the answer at: 6:41

Question from: Greg L., a member of the district advancement committee in the Atlanta Area Council

4. Will all-boy Cub Scout packs be allowed?

Hear the answer at: 7:43

Question from: Sean W., an assistant Scoutmaster from the National Capital Area Council

5. What will the organization be called?

Hear the answer at: 9:13

Question from: Aidan F., an Eagle Scout living in South Africa as part of the Transatlantic Council

6. Will all-boy language and imagery in handbooks change?

Hear the answer at: 10:07

Question from: Sam S., a Scoutmaster in the Greater New York Councils

7. Was the Girl Scouts of the USA approached?

Hear the answer at: 11:19

Question from: Julie K., an assistant Scoutmaster from the Western Los Angeles County Council

8. How will packs find enough volunteers for single-gender dens?

Hear the answer at: 12:35

Question from: Donald K., an assistant Scoutmaster from the Hawk Mountain Council

9. Can packs have the option to make dens co-ed?

Hear the answer at: 13:50

Question from: Jessica M., a den leader from the Old North State Council

10. Will Cub Scouting become fully “co-ed” in a few years?

Hear the answer at: 14:53

Question from: Bill K., a district chairman from the National Capital Area Council

11. Will there be a uniform styled and/or cut for women and girls?

Hear the answer at: 15:33

Question from: Asiya S., a den leader from the Northeast Georgia Council

12. Will dens and packs be required to register girls?

Hear the answer at: 16:26

Question from: A female Scouter from Florida, who asked to remain anonymous

13. When in 2018 can packs start welcoming girls?

Hear the answer at: 16:59

Question from: Jenny H., a Cubmaster from the Cascade Pacific Council

14. How will the program for older girls, debuting in 2019, work?

Hear the answer at: 17:40

Question from: Allie G., an advancement chairwoman in the Pathway to Adventure Council

15. Will there be a pilot of the older-girl program?

Hear the answer at: 19:31

Question from: Jennifer Z., a parent from the San Diego Imperial Council

16. How will the adult-leader requirements change?

Hear the answer at: 20:23

Question from: Rich B., an assistant Scoutmaster in the North Florida Council

17. What about sleeping arrangements and restrooms at camp?

Hear the answer at: 20:59

Question from: Michelle D. of the Dan Beard Council

18. What about inappropriate situations at camp?

Hear the answer at: 21:44

Question from: Stacey G., a den leader in the Southwest Florida Council

19. Will the BSA help girls feel included and not “second-class citizens”?

Hear the answer at: 22:28

Question from: The 9-year-old daughter of Kathleen P., a parent from Florida

20. Once young women can start working toward Eagle in 2019, will they use a different set of requirements?

Hear the answer at: 23:18

Question from: Debbie P., a committee member from the Iroquois Trail Council

21. What will happen to Venturing?

Hear the answer at: 24:16

Question from: Julie P., an associate crew advisor from the Cascade Pacific Council

22. The change is happening. How can we encourage other Scouters to embrace it?

Hear the answer at: 24:59Question from: Erik D., an assistant Scoutmaster from the Chief Seattle Council

145 Comments

    • Auto Transcript 01
      welcome to this special one-on-one interview with our chief Scout executive Mike sir Baugh about the BSA s historic move to welcome girls into Scouting I’m Bryan Wendel senior editor of boy’s life scouting an Eagles call and joining me is our chief Scout executive Mike servo hey Bryan are you a good citizen I know you wanted to hear directly from the volunteers so what happened is I I wrote a blog post asking readers for their questions first of all how we got to this point how this decision was made and we heard from a volunteer Chris s committee chairman in the Atlanta area council and he he says why was this big of a decision made in a vacuum he said he wasn’t solicited his input wasn’t solicited for the move so can you kind of walk us through how we got to this this historic decision well I sure can you know one of the things that I would invite everyone listening to do if you’re interested in getting a real deep dive into the process we did a live stream it was called a town hall and this was a pretty informal session that I had just with our national service center staff to give them the background on how we arrived at this decision but I get into a lot of the details about how we went through the process overall both at the the council level and then nationally but I’ll give you just a real Reader’s Digest version of how we got to this point we’ve been on a journey for many years of trying to figure out how do we serve the whole family and every task force that we come up with it always comes back to families are looking for ways that they participate together we have really good market intelligence that shows Hispanic families Asian families they’re looking to enter as a family so youth programs that are dynamically growing you know they’re they’re just in some way bringing that entire family in and what we found is that the family dynamics have changed quite a bit in the way that parents are looking to access programs has changed so with all that in the background you know we started talking about how’s a way that we could address this and the idea came forward that you know there’s a lot of girls that are currently participating in Cub Scout pacts we didn’t know how many the more we started talking about it the more we found this is more common than not and it really was again back to the desire of families to come together and participate most people felt involving girls in scouting is fairly easy you know we’ve already got girls involved in a lot of activities but to maintain the integrity of what’s really worked in scouting you know we didn’t want to mess with that single gender model and so that was a stall point that we always got to that people said you know you got to create a family program well one of two things has to happen either you create a completely different program and you would hope that the outcomes you get are similar to what we already know we get in Scouting or you let girls participate in Cub Scouting the big challenge is what comes after and that’s where the controversy always walks in you know should girls be Eagle Scout should they have the same type of program should we have a different program and those were the things that we tested I brought a group of Scout executives in all of our Scout executives around the country there were only that weren’t here shared the basic concepts with them and asked what do you think do you think that we should take this forward and share this with our volunteers at the BSA national meeting and overwhelmingly they said we need to move this conversation forward we had some conversation with our board we shared this at the BSA national meeting there were about a thousand Scouters there all but councils were represented and these are the top leaders of every Council in America but they also were very invested Scouters shared it with that group again overwhelmingly % of them said we need to move this forward and take this out to our scouting family and see how they feel at the same time we needed to do a lot of research to determine is a curriculum and content the stuff is that really relevant for young women the feeling was now’s the time to take it to our Scouters we put together a videotape and a packet of information that we sent out to every council most councils had meetings with their families and they invited we had meetings that occurred in summer camps we had special meetings that occurred during or after roundtable many councils invited anyone who was interested to come out a lot of councils had multiple meetings and upon conclusion of those meetings then we had a survey and the survey went to those participants and we asked all the key questions

    • Auto Transcript 02
      what do they really think we should do going forward is maintaining the single gender aspect of scouting crucial how would we execute in the Cub Scout model and then what would we do at the Boy Scout age well not every council participate in that not most did but there were a few who did not not every council had the invitation to all Scouters but most did first week we had about surveys that were completed by the end of the process , Scouters had weighed in from to , every one of those questions never varied more than two percentage points so it told us that we did have a very accurate reflection of what our scouting family felt what we found is through those meetings people came out Scouters engaged in discussion and a lot of people that came out said you know I was initially very opposed to this after that meeting and through conversation made a lot of sense to me so that’s kind of a long answer to a short question but it we wanted to make sure that we got as good a reflection of Scouting’s family opinion as we could Willis are from the long speak Council he’s the camping chairman they’re asked whether this decision was made because of declining revenue and declining membership and he says he also mentioned whether political correctness was involved in that and is there any truth to that being the primary motivation here why I think that’s a great question you know at first I’d like to address the politically correct nature of it there’s no external pressure our president Randall Stephenson he had a phrase that really struck me as we got into discussions about this topic and one of the things he said was this needs to be a pull from the organization we’re not going to push anything to our Scouters that they don’t want this has to be a demand from our families saying this is a way that we can serve more kids with a scouting program whether it’s financial whether it’s membership I guess it depends on what you mean by membership do we want more kids to get this guiding program absolutely so is it about membership of course it is you know what membership really means to me is we change America we know that scouting changes lives but those lives will change our nation for the good and if we have a steadily declining membership because our families don’t see a way to participate then that’s the wrong thing we heard from Gary ell of the Atlanta area counts and he said is this move simply about you know increasing our own SBS a professional our salary and the salaries of our colleagues here how would you address Greg’s question well I would assure Greg that I’m not paid by member and you know if we have if we have more kids that are the join you know that doesn’t factor into my annual compensation you know this this is really about long-term viability certainly revenue plays into any organizations long term health you know this is about a generation of kids that we want to involve and a legacy commitment with families so that we have multiple generations of Eagle Scouts and when you look at the the revenue models that that membership brings in over the long term it is significant if we continue to decline at two three and four percent of our membership a year well in or years which scallions still be here absolutely but it would be a much smaller organization and I would also contend that it would not be very diverse let’s talk about single gender scouting versus what some some term as co-ed scouting we heard from Sean W an assistant scoutmaster from the National Capital Area Council he’s the father of three boys and he was wondering will there would still be a place within the BSA for boy to have that kind of healthy competitive fun that’s that we all remember from from Cub Scouting and from Boy Scouting yeah if you’ve got an all boy Cub Scout Pack you want to continue that keep doing it you know that this is not a mandatory co-ed that’s why I felt so strongly about not even using the word co-ed we’re not mandating that scouting becomes co-ed you know we want to give the options to parents to participate in a way they find meaningful you know many public schools are co-ed most are well they are in the art you know think about gym time there’s a lot of times that you do separate the boys and girls Sunday school you know it’s quite often that Sunday schools are co-ed and they do some group activities but then they separate in the boys and girls you know there are parents and there are people out there that feel co-ed is absolutely best we looked at a lot of educational material and it’s not clear you know you have a majority of educators feel that co-ed environment is best for kids but you know you’ve also got a lot of other educators that would say

    • Auto Transcript 03
      in a single gender is best you know we’re trying to create a hybrid that really takes the best of both worlds and what I would say to those units that are just adamant that we’re gonna be co-ed you know it’s a give it a chance because there’s there’s really no reason that you have to put the the two together where most of our questions came from which was an implementation stand you know just get this big question out of the way now from Aiden F who’s an Eagle Scout and lone Scout living in South Africa and he’s in the transatlantic Council which which as you know serves Africa and he was one of several who asked the big question what are we going to call the organization will it will we change the name of the Boy Scouts of America to something without the word Boy in it well I’ve heard that question a lot Brian and what we know about the Boy Scouts of America it means something to people BSA and the Boy Scouts of America is a very strong identity and affinity if you talk to young women who are involved in the venturing program now most are very very proud to be part of the Boy Scouts of America they would identify his ventures but that being a program sponsored by and under the umbrella of the Boy Scouts of America is very strong for them so we have no desire to change the name and then what about the another practical question comes from Sam ass of the Greater New York councils and he was wondering about you know just the imagery that we see in handbooks so will that be changing eventually yes that that will okay what we know is that we’ve got about a year and a half at least to work on the Boy Scout age program for young women and so the materials can have some time to develop we want to have a lot of volunteer and put into that the Cub Scouts is relatively easy the content the badges the advancement requirements all of those are the same just like convoy scouting the core requirements all of the advancement program for young women will be the same as boys and that was very important to our parents what came through in the surveys is that you know you can’t have an eagle light its Eagle or it’s not and if young women are going to be part of the program you can’t deliver a substandard program to them so they will have materials that are specific for them but the program itself is the same in Cub Scouting we will produce handbooks for girls and they will they will have pictures of girls in them and the term nology will be appropriate and we’ll have that ready for our launch so the Cub Scout size is quite easy that the Boy Scout side requires a little more thought we heard from Julie Kay an assistant scoutmaster from the western LA County Council and she wondered if there’s been any talk with the Girl Scouts during this decision and also what you feel this means for the future of Girl Scouts of the USA that’s that’s a question that’s very important and is on the minds of many people we had a number of conversations with the Girl Scouts as we went through this process and what became very clear to us is the Girl Scouts is very girl focused and they they have an intent to remain single gender they’re a little bit different than us in that we position Cub Scouting particularly as a family program for decades the Girl Scouts is a tremendous organization I think it does great things for girls but the key is that parents need options you know we’re not the only ones that built character now I’m absolutely convinced that there’s programs with the -h with the YMCA with Boys and Girls Club that also build important character competencies and an organization like that or like us combined with sports that’s a powerful driver for kids success and but parents they need different ways to participate so I think there’s room certainly for all our real target is not Girl Scouts our target is the families that don’t have their children in any program and we want to provide an option for them this a little bit different probably our most asked question actually concerns finding enough adult volunteers to support single gender dense Donald K was one of many who asked as a former cub master one of our greatest challenges was to have parents volunteer for leadership positions specifically den leaders you know what would you suggest it to Donald and others if you drilled down and looked at the most successful PACs in every district across America what you’ll find is that they have adequate leadership you know we find that the biggest struggles for getting leaders are in our smallest packs and we now have the opportunity to bring a lot of new families in and when a family isn’t split with their activities if they could involve

    • Auto Transcript 04
      their sons and their daughters you’re more likely to get their participation as an adult I had an email from a cub master the other day that was very interesting he asked his parents he said how many of you you have daughters that will immediately start participating in this program as registered members well he’s got a pack of and what he told me is that his pack will be a hundred and six literally overnight now so his concern was how are we going to get enough leaders what he found was the parents volunteered quicker because the whole family was coming they felt a greater sense of identity and he felt that probably gonna have a much easier time attracting new parents let’s move to a question from Jessica am a den leader of the old North State Council she asked about co-ed dens and she said especially in small towns she wants to know if they have the option to make dens co-ed you know I’m not sure that there’s a perfect answer of that I served for a period of time in South Dakota and in South Dakota we had a lot of really small towns and sometimes you only had five or six boys even available in the town so you might have a pack sometimes that we struggled to get the minimum five boys just to start a pack and so they all participated together but the key is they all worked out of their own book and in the program works if you follow it consistently and so each boys still had their own program he maintained the integrity of the advancement schedule but all the boys participated together as a den you know I would encourage as much as possible if you had nine kids I think the best option is if you got four boys and five girls I would separate them into two dens and I think you’re more likely to get the critical mass to be able to do that then when we’ve just had the single gender program for boys we heard from bill Kay a district chairman from the National Capital Area Council who said that single gender dens might be the case now but quote it’s only a matter of time before it’s a co-ed program I see no reason why you would want to have co-ed dents you know I think most people and most parents they see the logic and having little boys be with little boys and girls be with girls but there’s some basic character competencies that kids attain from the ages of about six to eleven and sometimes we think that happens when they’re in the single gender environment because they they react a little bit differently and this that’s why this is really the best of both worlds you’ve got that time when they’re separate but then there’s other times that they’re going to be together Mike a lot of scatterers asked about uniforms and we heard from a SIA s den leader from the Northeast Georgia Council and she wondered will the BSA offer a uniform that’s tailored to a woman or girl let’s say if we get that right women across America will rejoice we’ve we’ve not had good experience with our uniforms and another reaction of our women leaders and we hear that a lot I think this is a good opportunity to go back to square one and say you know what we really need to provide what do people like to wear what’s comfortable and what fits well I’ve heard very strongly we need to keep the blue shirt identical because if there’s any difference then the girls might perceive that it’s a different program there’s others that say you know a powder blue shirt little girls would like to be different and identify as long as the program’s the same that maybe the uniform can be styled a little differently you know I think those are interesting arguments and I think it’s gonna be a fun thing to try to figure out a female Scouter from Florida who asked that if her pack decides to remain all boy just to clarify that’s fine the BSA is fine with that let me be clear on that if you don’t hear anything else if you have an all-boy pack and you like it and it’s working for you we celebrate that we love it we think it’s fantastic there’s absolutely no reason to change this is about creating a scouting opportunity and access for all families we want to do the right things for kids and most importantly we want more young people to experience scouting I have to ask on behalf of Jenny H a cub master from the Cascade Pacific Council and this is good news she said she’s been approached by parents of girls who are ready to sign up today when can they expect to get to welcome those girls in well there is an eagerness and right now there’s just an enormous sense of excitement of when can we start and we’re ready to go today we will go as soon as we’re ready you know what we need to make sure that we do this right and we want to make sure that we have the preparation so that girls when they come

    • Auto Transcript 05
      in they have a spectacular experience I hope that that’s as soon as possible I won’t commit to a date today sure but I promise you that there is there is so much interest in thews e Azzam that we are motivated to get to start it quickly now the BSA also announced that in we’ll see the debut of a program for boy scout aged girls and Ally G an advancement chair woman from the path – Adventure Council did have a question about how that’s going to work well girls be welcomed into existing troops which of course have all boys in them right now will they form separate troops what do we know about that program at this time well what we know is we’ve put together some task force’s extremely experienced Scouters and you’ll find the opinions vary a lot on exactly how that’s going to work and that’s why we needed to give ourselves about a year and a half to work through the details what I would say is that we’ve got some history with this you know some that have been concerned about are we really ready to camp girls you know we’ve been doing that for years and we do it quite well most of our camps are equipped with restroom facilities and shower houses that it can easily accommodate young women as well as young men because we do family camping throughout the country and at the Cub Scout level our founders actually created an organization called campfire girls and for years we had a partnership that was our sister organization and we grew apart in the s but when campfire girls in the Boy Scouts were in partnership quite often the campfire girls and the Boy Scouts would meet at the same time the same place and oftentimes to a chair equipment and the campfire girls might go on their campout now sometimes there are even camp outs where you know the campfire was over on one side and the Boy Scouts were over on the other side so I think we’ve got some experience with that I think we can even go back in our history and see how that worked but what we do know is that when we had those programs as brother and sister organizations we were able to maintain the gender separation but you had a program that was seen as equivalent and as impactful for young women as young men we heard from Jennifer Z a parent from the San Diego Imperial Council who asked whether there’s going to be some sort of pilot of the older girl program we’re looking for input I’ve had many Scouters that have have called me or emailed and said we’re really interested in being a pilot can we start this in January you know we’ve got some things to work out and we want to make sure again that we do it right right I would avoid the use of pilot because it sounds like it’s something that we’re going to experiment with and try out and we know that the Boy Scout program really works for young men educators have said that that curriculum is a hundred percent relevant for young women it really comes down to just logistics and how we execute it and I’ve heard of all kinds of girls who are literally counting down the days and figuring out how many days they could potentially have to be eagle those are great problems to have but I would just ask for your patience we need to work through those things together because this is one that we got to get right rich B’s an assistant scoutmaster in the North Florida Council and and he was wondering about adult leader requirements if we have a pack or a troop that’s all girls what will the adult leader requirements be would males be allowed to lead girls in those cases I think you’ll find if you read the Youth Protection guidelines for all the levels of the program we actually have all those things incorporated now we’ve camped co-ed units for years venturing has tremendous Youth Protection guidelines in place that work very very effectively and so we would see using those same skill sets and just transfer them to the Cub Scout level Michelle D of the Dan beard council asked about sleeping arrangements and restrooms or most camps truly prepared for that you know I can’t speak to every camp in America but as far as the facilities themselves what most councils do have them now some may not some may also find that the expectations rise if you have more Cub Scouts that are camping you’re gonna get some pressure on your council to have a facility upgrades I know that I did several councils that I worked in the more Cub Scout parents that we brought in you know this is a younger generation of parents and frankly they’re not always happy with the wooden – hole outhouse you know I think you’re gonna find that the majority of camps are in pretty good shape for that but but I would expect some facility upgrades to accommodate camping will have to

    • Auto Transcript 6 of 7
      happen over time if their concern about inappropriate situations happening that was what Stacey Gee a den leader in the Southwest Florida Council asked I I asked those folks you know first step back and and just think logically about other things that you’ve been associated with you know how does your church camp kids you know we’ve been camping boys and girls and venturing programs and exploring for years we wouldn’t come up now with the idea that we put them in the same tents we don’t have that problem at all what we have in Scouting is we have almost a million leaders these are smart people and they know how to keep kids safe and we know that say d is absolutely paramount of everything we do and creating that safe space you can never have good program that results if kids don’t feel both physically and emotionally safe a question from Kathleen P a parent from the Florida Keys and her question actually is from her nine-year-old daughter so this probably qualifies okay young guests a question it’s a great way will the BSA do everything it can to make female scouts feel included and not just second-class citizens who are barging in on the boys activities from a nine-year-old Kathleen you have got a smart daughter I love that question and that came out so strongly Brian in our surveys what we found is that parents said we can never give a second-rate program to our daughters what we need is a program that’s just like scouting what that became is that program is scouting and the other thing I would say about our million leaders out there is Scouts are nice people we live by the Scout Oath and law and we are welcoming and PACs that have both boys and girls in them I know that they’re going to give them a great experience they also get to work toward Eagle Scout and Debbie P is a committee member from the Iroquois Trail Council and said she heard a rumor that girls will have a different set of requirements for obtaining Eagle Scout you’ve already said no to eagle light but let’s just reiterate here for Debbie that the the core requirements for Eagle will be the same is that is that correct eagle is eagle the core requirements for Eagle are structured in such a way that you learn citizenship fitness community service you know all the things that we envision that an Eagle Scout becomes those requirements need to be identical for young women they’re the same because an Eagle Scout is an Eagle Scout well beyond that there’s plus merit badges so every voice cutting experience is pretty unique they pick different things I think girls are going to be the same way you know essentially what we know is that you have to have the same program to give the same recognition so Eagles Eagle and what about venturing Mike because Julie Pia and associate crew advisor from the Cascade Pacific Council was was wondering what’s going to happen to the BSA’s existing program for young men and young women and to you know there’s a reason why boys who were in Boy Scouts joined venturing I’m one of them actually you’re one of that obviously venturing appealed to you kept you attached to the program you know young women I don’t think they’re gonna be any different I think they’re gonna participate in that program of Boy Scouting as far as the rank advancement in whatever name we eventually come up with but I think they will also land on venturing being a place where they can explore and do different things so I’m very positive that I think venturing is gonna increase in membership now our final question from the volunteers is from Eric D and assistant scoutmaster from the chief seattle council and eric said he’s on board with the change but he was wondering how to best encourage other Scouters that they encounter to embrace this change so how can people like Eric and others out there and help you know encourage their fellow Scouters to to embrace this what I have found is that a lot of scout executives that have encountered people that initially very upset and their picture is you’re going to ruin Boy Scouting and what it does for young men because now you’re gonna have girls in there too what they’ve invited them to do is go to that livestream piece and there’s been about , views of that already and most of them have said that those Scouters come back and say you know I hadn’t really thought about that it makes a lot of sense there’s logic to what you’re doing I would just encourage all of our Scouters just talk about it and what you’re gonna find is that everybody has a very personal experience with this I had a friend of mine said you know there was a Scouter and he named him and he said I was sure he was going to be completely against this and hate

    • Auto Transcript 7 of 7
      this idea and the first thing he said is I’ve got two granddaughters they’re gonna join the second that you open it up and he said I’d love for one of them to be an Eagle Scout so it’s I think just talking about it that’s great and any parting words for for the viewers at home I’d say thank you for the opportunity Brian I appreciate what you do and and I would encourage everybody out there that’s a Scouter you know go to Brian on scouting there’s always a lot of good stuff there and and we need to hear your thoughts as you find things that we may have missed invariably there’s going to be a couple of eyes that we need to dot and T’s to cross and we’re going to need to know those things so please keep the communication and tell us what you think but I hope here is enthused and as excited as I am about this I am just hearing daily from hundreds and hundreds of Scouters that are chomping at the bit and ready to get their daughters involved in Scouting so we’re looking forward to a great adventure in eighteen well thanks for your kind words and thanks for thank you sir all right bye appreciate

    • Is this going to be an issue? I thought the requirements for a scout were simply to be First Class, camp at least 15 nights and be approved by your scoutmaster to be a candidate for election. If girls can earn ranks, wouldn’t they be eligible? Although female venture scouts were ineligible because they could not earn the first class rank, there does not seem to be a specific ban on female members as female adults can be inducted . I would think that once girls are eligible to earn ranks they would be able to be voted in.

      • I think a lot of the old guard will have a problem with it, but I think you’re right. Really the only logical/possible solution is to keep the membership requirements exactly the same as they are now. If girls can earn ranks and camp (which they will be able to), I say let them in OA.

        • I was tapped out and did my Ordeal as a BSA leader! I was on equal footing with my fellow inductees. I participated in all the challenges and work details. This was almost 2 decades ago.

        • Aiden, I agree. Based on the vibe that I felt from the youth and the last NOAC, I believe there will be no issue from them for young women to join the OA. The only problem will be, as you said, the “Old Guard.” As long as everyone keeps in mind that the OA is youth run we will see what happens.

      • The issue is that the OA is “provisional” in participation, the youth don’t necessary come with a leader, and don’t camp as a troop. I know for a fact in our lodge that there is no absolute accountability as to who is where at any given time, like there would be on a unit campout.

    • In the Live Stream video that is mentioned in this question list does address the OA. The answer was they don’t yet have an answer. Mike acknowledged the need for an honor camper program for girls but weather the OA or another organization has not been decided. The OA did not form on day 1 that Scouting did. It will be at least 2.5 years before the first girl is eligible to become a member (1.5 years for program to start and then another year to meet eligibility requirements. I believe Mike mentioned a task force will be formed to submit recommendations.

      • If the girl pushes it, she could be eligible in less than a year. My oldest son had met the camping requirement in 9 months. He just wasn’t First Class yet.

      • The “transcripts” have no puncturing or capitalization. That are at best difficult to read. A proper written transport is required for many uses and discussions at the local level. Please make it available preferably through the BSA website.

    • Some of your readers with limited hearing and with anemic computers cannot hear the oral presentations. Please provide a written transcript for us. The entire discussion commentary is interesting. Have your consulted the hierarchy of the LDS Church as they are a significant membership in the BSA? And the BSA identity is respected world-wide. You may be well-served to look at the organization of Scouts in several Latin American nations; most are co-ed and most start kids at age 5 and maintain levels until age 25. Take a look. Many use the term Rovers for different steps in program development. Baden-Powell did extensive outreach in Latin America.

    • Excellent question! I thought the same a week ago while walking. Your question goes beyond theory of YPT but its TRUE IMPLIMENTATION.. How will our Camps and facilities this new “twist” to Scouting.

    • Where Councils and camps are struggling there are reasons for it. Identifying those reasons is the first step to fixing whatever the problems are. The BSA programs are not inexpensive for members: uniforms, equipment, training costs, transportation etc., and camps are expensive to maintain, but they do deliver great value. If there is a case where an area is so poor that raising money and attracting volunteers is a huge challenge, then maybe the National will be able to apply some of its fundraising muscle towards some Council assistance grants? This may already be the case (I’m just not aware of what happens on the national level).

    • I have been doing NCAP assessments for the past four years and had the pleasure of touring many camps in my area, and everyone has made upgrades to their facilities to be co-ed. I would venture to guess there are most camps have already made these updates. As Mike said, Venturing, Exploring, and Family Camping have been around for decades.

  1. concur with transcript request. Also an older girl program needs to be up and running by January 1, 2019 because those girls who join in the Summer or Fall of 2018 will be eligible for AOL, and thus Cross Over into Scouting January 1st. And technically they would be eligible Dec 1st, 2018 at the earliest, 6 months since completing 4th grade.

  2. Thanks for including my question! I’m glad to know I won’t have to buy a new uniform now with an updated organization name! 😉

  3. The Chief’s answer to Question 13 (When in 2018 can packs start welcoming girls?) is great news. He said: “There is an eagerness and right now there is just an enormous sense of excitement, [of] ‘when can we start’ and ‘we’re ready to go today’. We will go as soon as we’re ready. We need to make sure we do this right, and we want to make sure we have the preparation so that girls when they come in they have a spectacular experience. I hope that’s as soon as possible. I won’t commit to a date today, sure, but I promise you that there is so much interest and enthusiasm that we are motivated to get this started quickly.”

    And it the references to opening up Cub Scouting in the “fall of 2018” on the follow on pieces after the October 11 announcement have been edited to remove the “fall” references, and instead say things like “Cub Scouting will be available to girls beginning in 2018”. The FAQ on the Family Scouting page also drops the “Fall” reference, and instead says “Starting in 2018 (exact start date yet to be confirmed), families can choose to sign up their sons and daughters for Cub Scouts”.

    Given that, hopefully girls don’t need to be relegated to “tag-along” status at summer activities like day camp, resident camp and pack summertime activities … after all, kindergarten boys can join Cub Scouting and start working on Tiger right after school ends, and this year’s Tiger boys can work on Wolf then too. Hopefully there will be no need to hold girls back from the fun and recognition at these fun summer events in the Packs that want to welcome girls.

    After all, the original press release / announcement from the CSE and Board said (before a later edit) “Starting in the 2018 program year, families can choose…”, which lines up with the end of school. The official “Cub Scout Cycle” piece uses a June start for simplicity: https://www.scouting.org/…/Cub…/PDF/Appendix/511-807.pdf

  4. Thanks, Bryan. Well done. And I strongly encourage folks to watch the CSE’s “townhall” video at https://livestream.com/bsa/nationalcouncil/videos/164161163 for more discussion on the background and decision-making process.

    My concern remains that inviting girls to participate in our two largest traditional programs doesn’t do anything to address the reasons why BSA membership has been declining for 45 years.

    I am baffled by the notion that this will hurt the Girl Scouts of the USA. This is not a zero-sum game where if BSA wins GSUSA has to lose. Just as there are vast numbers of boys not involved in Scouting (see preceding paragraph), there are vast numbers of girls out there not (yet) involved in any Scouting program — more than enough for everyone. This is an opportunity for both BSA and GSUSA (and American Heritage Girls, and Campfire, and all the other Scouting and Scouting-like programs out there) to show how and why each is different from the other, and enhance the ability of families and youth to choose the programs best for them.

    • How can it not hurt Girl Scouts… everyone keeps look at this from some isolated, autonomous perspective. If half the girls in a Girl Scout troop leave the troop to become Cub Scouts…. those girls are all friends. Friends want to be with each other, Scouts in general was started to put structure around gangs of friends… Girl Scout troops will fold because friends will want to stay together. The question is, after the first few years of boat rocking, will GSUSA have enough momentum to move forward, or will Cub Scout girls peter out and GSUSA pushes on stronger than ever.

      • If BSA4G takes off, I’m pretty sure it will attract a different set of girls than GS/USA … Girls win.
        If GS/USA encourages the institutional changes that will allow moms build the multi-den/multi-patrol structure that allows competitive outdoor programs to rise to the fore … so what if BSA4G fizzles? Girls still win.

      • The “friends stay with friends” theory works both ways. If some girls want to stay in Girl Scouts rather than going over to a BSA program, their friends will stay in Girl Scouts with them.

        If the idea is that BSA should never try to compete with Girl Scouts, that ignores the needs and wants of millions of girls that have chosen not to be Girl Scouts because Girl Scouts doesn’t offer the type of program they want. (BSA has the same problem with boys.) Are we supposed to say, “Oh, well, girls — too bad, so sad. Even though we have a program that you _would_ enjoy and (like Girl Scouts) would help you become the kind of leaders that our country needs — you can’t have it BECAUSE YOU ARE FEMALE.”

        BSA has finally outgrown that view.

  5. I was disappointed to hear the piece about possibly doing a different uniform for girls. It’s one thing to tailor the uniform to different physiques (male or female) but making a totally different styling or “powder blue” shirt for girl Cubs is not the right way to go. Don’t take us back to the days of the yellow den mother shirt where we weren’t allowed to wear khaki. Uniform is one of the Aims and Methods, I hope we don’t forget that.

    I’m also concerned about the separate handbooks for boys and girls. Why is gender or sex relevant? No need for he/she when you can use the pronouns of “Scout” or “Tiger” or “Wolf” etc. Seems like wasteful duplication of efforts that could be spent elsewhere.

    • I think there should be a different color, if ever so slight. Sadly, it can be difficult to tell boys and girls apart these days. But yes, it would be nice for them to go back to square one and try to design a uniform that women are comfortable wearing.

    • I agree. Uniforms and handbooks should be the same. Yes, make uniform male and female-just like you have for leaders. Handbooks–when you need to republish because you need more books modify the pictures to include boys and girls. But to totally reprint books to provide female books is a waste of money

      • They need new books already, anyway, since they updated the entire program after just a year and kept using books that are out-of-date. Perfect timing to update images/verbiage AND the program in the books. It is silly to have separate books.

        And, oh, please redesign the ladies’ uniform! The pants are awful and ill-fitting, and it would be nice to have a version of the shirt that doesn’t need to be tucked in.

  6. I am very pleased with the answer to question 11. Although the question is about uniforms styled for women and girls, CSE Surbaugh’s answer seems to be a bit broader: “This is a good opportunity to go back to square one and say, ‘What do we really need to provide? What do people like to wear, what’s comfortable, and what fits well?'”

    • Keep the existing uniform for adults who want it, but add more official uniform options, such as polo shirts in various colors and a bring-your-own-pants option, such as “any tan pants or shorts may be worn with the official polo shirt.” Oh, and neckerchief always suggested, worn with slide or loosely around neck with ends knotted.

      • BSA attempted to implement an Activity Uniform consisting of a polo and shorts from August 1 1989 to until some time in the late 1990s, I believe 1998 when Venturing came out was when they did away with them. The uniforms were not popular and other than in the BSA handbook and fieldbook of the time, you never saw anyone wearing them.

        Also I believe a council in Maryland tried to do something like that with Under Armour, and the way it was set up, it was more expensive to have that alternate uniform than the Field Uniform. Every rank had a different colored shirt, which added to the cost.

        • Both items I mentioned WERE official. Both were attempts to replace the current field uniform with one that was all purpose. I do not know why the Activity Uniform of the 1990s did not work. But I am betting the ‘Alternate Uniform” that the Maryland council was experimenting with failed due to costs. For Boy Scouts they would need to buy a new shirt every time they advanced since the shirts were rank specific. And the shirts were in the $25 range.

        • The activity uniform (such as the red polo shirt with yellow fleur-de-lis or a camp t-shirt or troop t-shirt, combined with uniform shorts or pants) was _not_ an all-purpose substitute for the button-up tan uniform shirt plus uniform shorts or pants. When the field uniform with correct insignia was required for particular events, you couldn’t substitute the more casual activity uniform. The activity uniform was for getting sweaty and dirty, not for meetings and ceremonies where the tan field uniform shirt with badges, patches, and pins was expected.

          I agree that the activity uniform as shown in the handbooks was not popular, I suspect because (1) the BSA-produced polo shirts were expensive and not well designed (I had one), and (2) the shirts were supposed to be worn with the field uniform pants or shorts, which were also expensive and not well designed, and the majority of Scouts and adults didn’t own them anyway.

          At the same time, unit / organization / event t-shirts, polo shirts, fleece vests, windbreakers, hats, etc. are very popular. But unless you are up close or the screen printing is really big, you can’t tell that the wearers are Scouts.

          As the Chief says, go back to square one and come up with a uniform that people like to wear, that is comfortable, and that fits well — qualities that many adults are not finding with the current field uniform. Just make sure that such a uniform is associated with BSA (a neckerchief is a good way to do that).

          If folks have an official, all-purpose uniform that fits, is comfortable, and that they like to wear, we’re going to get more folks wearing the uniform more often — promoting the Uniform Method of Scouting and giving Scouting some great marketing in the community.

  7. “The change is happening. How can we encourage other Scouters to embrace it?” Thos one is so simple to answer it isn’t even funny. Jump on board or you’re gone. Process owner: the chartered organization representative. The question of whether units go coed is solely a chartered organiztation determination, not an individual unit determination.

    As COR, I decided our pack will be coed. Luckily, everyone on my team is onboard. However, if I had someone who isn’t, they’d be gone. The COR has the sole authority and discretion to “hire and fire” at will.

    If you are in a unit belonging to a chartered organization that approved a coed program and you have a Scouter who is actively resistung change, just think of how you’d handke the same in your church or business. It’s not “mean”, it’s in the best interest of strengthening the unit and carrying the Scouting movement into the next era.

      • Sarcasm, right? This notion that you “believe what we believe, or you’re gone,” is not the right way to approach this topic.

        • Total sarcasm. Mr. Ciancio, at least in his statement, does not present himself or his leadership abilities in the best light. I can only hope that it is the passions of the moment getting the better of him rather than being indicative of the way he participates in the leadership of his unit.

    • Wow…you must be blessed with plenty of adult volunteers. My guess is your Pack is on the smaller side and spends little time outdorrs or camping.

    • Dear Keith – “it’s not mean, it’s in the best interest of strengthening the unit and carrying the Scouting movement into the next era.” Well – I suggest instead of thinking like a light switch = all or nothing, you consider the beauty of a zipper = it allows traffic to merge smoothly, and at times can prevent an otherwise very caring and positive volunteer from making an ass of themselves. Working in a area where we seem to always be greatly under staffed, we’ve been forced to find positive ways to motivate our volunteers, rather than just inviting them to leave. Balance is a good thing.

    • It is not a decision to be made by the COR. The final decision is made by the Charter Organization. Generally the Charter Organization and COR will discuss the pros and cons. But it is not a decision made by the COR.

  8. I had to purchase a new shirt for my Webelo, and he found it to be very stiff. I recommend that if you wash the uniform a few times with something called “fabric softener” than the child is more likely to enjoy the soft feel of the new shirt. It really worked! He wore his shirt to the last pack meeting!

  9. I am curious if having girls in Boy Scouting isn’t a violation of the original congressional charter that states, “The purposes of the corporation are to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916.” I know we have had girls in BSA orgs for quite a while, but I am wondering why the Girl Scout charter doesn’t already meet the need? Seems like having two government instituted agencies performing similar tasks doesn’t imply the need to simply consolidate the charter into a single “scouting” charter. I’m not necisarilly against girls in the program, I just really don’t see the value of re-inventing the wheel instead of helping the parallel chartered org meet the need under their charter.
    Boy Scout Charter:
    http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title36/subtitle2/partB/chapter309&edition=prelim
    Girl Scout Charter:
    http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title36/subtitle2/partB/chapter803&edition=prelim

    • Not necessarily. If in the long term more boys join because sisters and girlfriends are involved, then in fact BSA would be more true to its charter by allowing BSA4G.

      • That is quite an interesting stretch. I bet if we served beer for the adults, we could get more parents involved to get their boys into Scouting. How far can we stretch this?

      • Do you honestly believe more boys will join because girls have joined? If this nets a 1-2% membership increase I will be incredibly surprised.

  10. I am disappointed to hear that BSA is not going to consider a name change. In this same interview they said that they are not going to alienate girls. However, by keeping the word BOYS and excluding any mentions of girls in the name IS alienating girls. If they want to accept girls and not have them feel like second class citizens, then female scouts should be acknowledged in some form in the scouting organization’s name. Or, do away with any gender refer all together and just call it Scouting of America. If they are going to commit to it they need to commit all the way and not make half-hearted gestures.

    • My little girls and I did a year or two of Girl Scouts but they found the program to be boring and insipid compared to their brothers’ adventures in Boy Scouting, even with all of the (unsanctioned) activities I incorporated. If I go shopping at Fred Meyer’s and don’t like the name Fred, I don’t try to make the whole chain change its name. If I want to join Lion’s Club but I’m afraid of lions, I don’t try to force the whole movement to change its name to Kitty Cat Club (or whatever). If girls actually want to be Boy Scouts, it seems to be a done deal. There were apparently not enough women leaders willing to invest in beefing up the Girl Scout program into something that would interest these renegade girls. It could have been done, and still could. Girls and women could work together to incorporate more camping, high adventure, or whatever it is the girls seem to think they have to have. I haven’t met any boys whining about wanting to join Girl Scouts! Lots of good reasons for that!

      • Sorry you apparantly didn’t find a good troop. Girl Scouts offers a wide variety of high adventure activities. In Girl Scouts troops decide which badges or activities they do based on the interests of the girls in that troop.

    • Well If you want the name changed you have to go through congress, so even if they did want to change the name, this would take years lol. Keep in mind that the charter of the BSA is specifying that the program is meant for boys, and therefore the whole statement would need to be changed. This is a good first step, as there are many who are not on board with this change. They are being allowed in now, so isn’t that what counts?

    • I’m not disappointed. I know many young females who are proud to be have “boy” stitched on their venturing uniforms and patches. In fact one of my crew VPs was disappointed when the uniform upgrade no longer had “BSA” stamped on the buttons (feature I had never noticed). May BSA4G never lay aside its “B”!

    • Give them some time. If they made that change now, they might lose some of their support. I’m pretty sure once the program changes are implemented, they will come back and talk about the need to have the name reflect the organization. They recognize you can’t make the change at once, which is why the regular changes. There’s one more major change left, and that will be to eliminate or make optional the Duty to God so the atheist youth members can join. Give them a year or two.

    • One of my concerns about the entrance of girls into the BSA is that they (some not all) would immediately begin to complain about how they are treated and how things should be done. It appears that that has already happened.

      • Not sure what you mean. As soon as a a boy joins, he may complain about how he’s treated and how things should be done.

        Sometimes such a boy is right, that’s why have boards of review,

  11. Realistically, the congressional charter means nothing as far as operating the BSA. Are we going to serve boys, YES. Have we already been serving girls, YES. Nothing in the charter says we cannot serve girls in any capacity.

    It’s a ceremonial document at this point. It’s good to have, but not necessary. The federal government cannot deny the BSA the ability to do what they want.

  12. Thank you ajoshfan for your show of respect.
    Attitudes like Erin, is what bothers and worries me the most about the new policy.

  13. Overall good interview and very informative. I surprised however, that not once did the mention of Scouts Canada come up. Boy Scouts of Canada admitted girls in 1998, changed their name to Scouts Canada and boys and girls wear the same color uniforms so that makes girls included from the get go. My having been both a Asst. Scoutmaster and a Exploring Post Advisor with many conversations with other Post Advisors who had only girl members, I see no problems that haven;’t already been solved.
    There will always be some men in Scouting who resist any change, are prejudiced against girls or women, and are even racist, but Scouting will grow and prosper and become even more valuable to our nations’s future, in spite of their grumblings and gripes.

    • I have had more women (equally young and old and experienced and inexperienced Scouters) complain to me about this change than men. The vast majority of the men I have spoken with are okay with it. You say “there will always be some men … prejudiced against girls or women, and are even racist …” but that statement is pure conjecture and it is correlating racism with this issue. Not one of the people I know to be against this change are racist. Some of them are black, others are white.

      I think you have a prejudice of your own that those who oppose this are intolerant jerks and this prejudice of your is neither kind or helpful.

      Personally, I support the change but I can’t stand by while someone calls honest people racists just because they disagree with the change.

  14. Well I wonder if was looked at Canada and what happened when they went co ed? I think I remember they changed the uniform for boys and girls. I know they are still losing numbers just like the BSA. So I have not studied this and I don’t know the program in Canada.

    http://www.scoutscan.com/issues/membershipstats.html

    But membership is down 63% since 1990 to 2013. With membership around 60,000.

    But with the huge increase in fees and opening up membership. I sure wounder how much of a money issue we have going at the National level. What is all the money being spent one?

    • Actually, if you look at the statistics of most of our international partners, they all lost substantial membership when they went coed. Now there is a question of was the loss due to going coed or was going coed just coincidental on timing. In any case, UK Scouting has only recently gotten to the numbers of participation they had when they went coed years ago, and that’s with 20% girls, so at best there’s a 20% drop from their original membership.

  15. You are very inconsiderate to not have the text of the answers with the questions! Did you ever think some people can’t use their speakers or have headphones?

  16. Since 1969 when the BSA’s Explorer Division began allowing young women 14 to 20 to participate. Then in 1998 the Exploring program was re-organized and split into today’s Exploring programs that are primarily career-oriented and venturing crews. In 2017 local Venturing and Explorer programs include many young women and of course adult women are involved in every aspect of scouting from Den mothers to Scoutmasters as well as local Scout council board members and professional staff.

    So, I’d say that the recent announcement is not about young girls and young boys sharing a tent or even neighboring tents on a campout. Rather it is about making Scouting’s tried-and-true program and high adventure activities available to girls and young women. With this change the BSA joins most every other World Federation of Scouting county that offers their country’s scouting programs to both boys and girls.

    As an Eagle Scout (1966) and father to two girls I’m excited to see this gap in the BSA’s program finally about to close!

  17. They keep referring to these ‘surveys’ but never releasing them. The BSA is not helping themselves and is creating distrust because all they release is a two videos, an oped at CNN of all places, and a 1 page glossy (essentially)

    You would think that if the surveys really support at the 90 plus percent level, BSA could help dispel the perception of this being membership driven by being open with these surveys-especially if the surveys were that positive.

    Also, I find is disconcerting that part of the support for the decision is that girls are already participating with Dens/Packs. He answered that single gendered dens are the way forward, but you can read the comments here and know that there will immediately be coed dens. Is BSA going to take a stand or be OK with packs that make dens coed? My Council Executive’s press release specifically used an example of coed dens saying it was a great thing.

    • When, and if, the surveys are ever released the original text of the questions needs to also be released. Without know exactly what was asked we will never be able to discern the intent of the survey, nor the intent of the responses.
      I think I remember saying ‘A Scout is Trustful…’ quite a few times through the years.

    • If you listen closely, Mr Surbaugh did sort of address it round about. While he answered the direct question by stating he doesn’t know why anyone would (which suggests that either he is not really talking to people or he’s not being totally open), he also suggested that as long as individuals work in their own book, the integrity of single gender is maintained. I expect they are fully aware that many dens will immediately go coed.

    • BSA could do everything you’ve suggested and you wouldn’t change your mind. You’ve already decided not to trust them because its national volunteer leadership made a decision you don’t like.

  18. If we really want to make girls feel included, then they need to have the exact same uniform. We also need to officially change the name to Scouting of America much the same as Scouting of Canada who changed their name when they started allowing girls in 1998. It seems a bit ridiculous to label a co-ed organization with a gender specific name. Personally, I would have voted against allowing girls were I given a vote. Not because I have anything against girls, but because I think it is okay for boys to have an organization just for boys. The vibe is different when boys are with boys and it is good for them to have that time together. The teenage years are awkward and taking away a safe retreat for boys to just be themselves and develop leadership, character, and outdoor skills without worrying about what girls are thinking of them or doing is a good thing. It has also been proven that boys and girls learn better in same gender classrooms. However, I respect that my opinion is on the losing side so i will graciously accept the decision to allow girls into Scouting. Allowing girls doesn’t mean that my son can’t still get a lot out of Scouting or that BSA isn’t a great organization. If I want to set an example of the values of Scouting that I teach, then I must set the example for my son and two daughters to wholeheartedly embrace the decision to allow girls and still do my best to make Scouting great. To do anything less would show a lack of character, one of the values I am trying to instill in my son and two daughters.

    • Jeff, I agree with the first part of your post. Having taught High School for 30 years I can say with reservation that there are different dynamics with genders are mixed. Most HS Student Councils are dominated by girls. In Calfornia (not sure of others) some of the state universities are now 60% female. I would love to hear that they actually consulted with anyone with expertice in this area.
      As for the second part of the post, I’ll just say that one of my favorite flags is yellow and has a snake on it.

    • Hi Annabella, comments on this blog post are open. Frankly, I don’t have the bandwidth to moderate comments on multiple channels so I thought it would be best to have the conversation in one place. Your thoughts are welcome here.

  19. The questions proposed to our Chief Scout Exec and his answers seemed to indicate that everyone is just biting at the bit for this co-ed thing to happen. The very fact that this Q&A is here tells me that self righteous liberals in Irving know that this is going to be very unpopular. I travel quite a bit and am known for my volunteering in Scouting (which will come to and end with the advent of girls in the BSA) and that I am an Eagle Scout. If I have been asked once, I have be asked a hundred times of my opinion of all this. Before giving my opinion, I ask theirs. 100% have said (among other things) “It is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of”. Much like the “Boy Power 76” program in the ’70s, this attempt to boost revenue for the BSA was a dismal failure. This crazy “merging of the sexes” will be no different. Oh, and as far as wanting to appeal to “Families”? Other than picking up additional registration fees for a couple of years before they grow weary of the “new” diluted program, I would call this TOTAL BS!!! Nice job in dismantling a great program, that has lasted for over 100 years, survived a terrible Flu epidemic and two World Wars, for shear ideology and money!

    • You’re spot on! This is nothing but a desperate money grab to keep the paid BSA bureaucracy awash in cash for a few more years. Scouting has had bureaucracy problem for decades which exists only to serve its own financial need. Now with the collusion of a Wall St CEO infested board, the volunteers who actually make Scouting work are being spit on. We’re already seeing accelerating membership losses with the last cave in to the homosexual lobby and this move will just kick the afterburners in. I give the program about 5-10 years left at best. I don’t know of ONE current adult male volunteer who wants to take on the responsibility of co-ed camp outs.

  20. People said the same thing about the Venturing program, that it won’t work, people will hate it. You know what, it works and works well. In our area we have no Girl Scout programs and there are girls that want to do something like Scouting. So hopefully it will work out.

      • I agree that, if Venturing distinguished by merely being coed, it’s membership trajectory leaves room for pessimism.
        But it’s a rewarding program. I’m glad my family has been part of it.

      • Co-ed or not Co-ed – in my opinion the Venturing Program is targeting one of the hardest age groups 14-21. What normally happens around 17-18? Graduation, youth are looking at going to college or working full time maybe both. Possibly moving to a different location. Venturing is a fine program, but there are a number of other things that may be creating a demand on a young adult’s life.

  21. These changes are going to have costs. None of the summer camps we have attended over the past few years have had facilities or space in the facilities for another gender. They will need showers and related facilities for the boys, men, women, transgendered, and girls. Construction companies are not non-profits, so there will be costs. Books are going to change; printers and distributors expect to get paid. The video talked about uniform changes; Scout uniforms are far from inexpensive. Is National setting aside a budget to cover these expenses? The councils are already cash strapped enough. If National requires the councils to support these changes, they need to provide the funding. If National cannot pay for it, the councils should have the authority to say no, we cannot take on the expense. YIS, JTK

  22. Tony Verreos – Eagle Scout, San Francisco, CA 1967 As one of those variously termed old timers, old guard, before the common era etc. Scouters, I have had an abundance of opportunities to criticize BSA National for policies which the Executive Board and leadership stubbornly failed to address in a timely and professional manner for decades. No point going into what and why, as most are well aware of areas of friction. The influence of Bill Gates seems to have been pivotal. I’m so pleased to be able to view the video with our BSA Chief Scout Exec. Mike Surbaugh dealing with all issues head on, and clarifying the roots of Scouting, its old connection with Campfire Girls (which many of us did not even know about), and the focus on family. It’s gratifying to hear the amount of research work that was done, and the outcome being crystal clear: do not dilute the product. Just like in school, the military, or the business world, there is one standard for everyone regardless or which toilet you use. In some cases local unit leaders and parents seem to be unaware of the need for and functions of Councils and National, and that is in my opinion a PR opportunity for National.

  23. BSA has been a way for father figures and role models to pass along a skill set to their and others sons.
    Boys are leaving the program because there is a shortage of leaders that can operate an outdoor program. It’s true having children later in life leaves little energy for this lifestyle. Adding girls takes a shortage of leaders and drains it further offering no benefit to the boys program. We should demand the chief resign.

    • This is so spot on. You have summed up the essence of what BSA was literally chartered to do, and you have done it succinctly and clearly. Well done.

      If anything, this is more needed now than it ever has been, especially as we see more and more homes with single mothers. I think the Girl Scouts have it right that BSA needs to focus on those boys that are not served rather than fundamentally alter the heart of the organization.

      I keep asking the question “how do the boys in Boy Scouts actually benefit from this?” I honestly can’t see how. As I have said before, this family scouting business is a Trojan horse. As HeresTheOppositeView has stated, BSA is a way for fathers and father figures to help young men become men of character (i.e., the charter). Everything else is simply window dressing. Admitting girls to the program is not going to make that any easier or better.

  24. Really….I was born and raised in Portugal where Scouting has always been co-ed just like the rest of the World, except for two countries, USA and Saudi Arabia, finally we are in the right path, forty years behind but that’s a start.
    Program must remain the same for boys or girls, camping is for boys and girls, one question, when you go to work, in our daily lives do male and female, eat, drive, walk, talk different, is there a boys burger king and a girls burger king or a boys side of the street and a girls side of the street.
    We need to teach our children that the other sex is not taboo, we need to teach our children to live under the same roof regardless of their gender and then maybe all this sexual harassment and rape numbers will start to go down.
    By now most of you are thinking that I’m a mental and that this has nothing to do with Scouting. But think for a minute.
    And for those of you who are totally against Scouting becoming CO-ED, I personally think you are afraid that girls will do a better job at it than some of the boys….

    • I don’t think our Mental at all. I have said in the past when I went to the World Jamboree in 1983 in Alberta Canada and that’s when I found out about other countries being co-ed but not the USA. I have a daughter in Girl Scouts and my Troop does camping trips with her Girl Scout Troop at least twice a year. The Trips go very well and both Troops have a Good time and Fun together. Also I believe keep Program and Uniform the same for All, no need to change that.
      So From 1 Scoutmaster to another, Great Post.

      • For the same reason (i.e., driving an agenda) that anyone who spouts this incomplete narrative fails to mention that (1) most of these countries (93, in fact) also maintain a separate Scouting organization open solely to girls, and (2) Europeans countries experienced a backlash following the membership changes to their main Scouting organizations, which resulted in programs that under-serve boys. For example, the UK now has at least 10 different Scouting organizations, several of which are intended to provide the boys program that others have abandoned. Unfortunately, these programs are generally not welcomed by WOSM, and thus you do not see them at World Jamborees and other international events. Also, it’s easy for those driving the co-ed agenda to ignore the all-female programs in the UK and elsewhere by speaking specifically of WOSM-member organizations. Why? Because nearly 100 of these large and successful all-girls Scouting programs register with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and not WOSM.

        Bottom line: Highly successful Scouting programs designed specifically for boy and specifically for girls (i.e., not co-ed) exist in many countries, particularly those touted by some as being “more enlightened”, but it’s easy to twist the narrative to suggest otherwise.

    • Actually, Scoutmaster, you hit it very squarely on the head. Young girls are far more mature than boys a these younger ages (cub and younger boy scout age). When combined, the girls take over handily and the boys let them, ultimately missing out on the very reason we do Scouting in the first place. Worse, girls tend to behave better and then are held as a standard for the boys who are berated for not acting like the girls. It is common in our schools today, where boys even at kindergarten age, are being suspended and expelled at record numbers.

      • This is my big concern. Boys need the time to grow, learn and lead. With girls the girls will at this time take over. I am an Eagle (1977), my son (2010). If my daughter had joined, having much more drive, she would have excelled, and that might have prevented my son from excelling as he did.

        cub scouts is one thing, but separate the boys from the girls.

        • It seems that BSA is meeting your wish, encouraging scouters to have a separate BSA4G troop.

          Having worked with a number of female youth, none fit the same mold. Some female venturers were highly motivated; others, not so much. Only one was enthused about any award or recognition.

          It’s a very big stretch to infer that girls’ advancing would undermine their brothers’ advancing. With some male siblings, I’ve seen that. But, by and large, each brother’s trail to Eagle is uniquely his own.

  25. It sounds like somebody needs to start thinking about what they should be changing what the girl scouts actually do instead of just selling cookies.

  26. NOT EVERYTHING IS SO ROSY DOWN HERE IN THE TRENCHES
    Everything is easy when the presenter “cherry-picks” his responses to defend his own positions. He did demonstrate good preparation and presentation skills. Having been a Cub Scout adult leader for 11 years and now a Boy Scout adult leader for two, I say show me that increase in volunteers and more specifically qualified leaders that will step up to make the program work. I think Chief Scout Exec skirted the real issues that real leaders face. Good Sales pitch none-the-less.

  27. Previously a Scout Master, later Post adviser of a Ham Radio Explorer Post 681 sponsored by the US Naval Publication and Forms Center in Philly. We had a few girls as members after 1968. As long as they obeyed the scout law and learned Morse Code and other requirements we all got along well together. On overnight exercises the only requirement we had was that the girls had to sleep with their parents.

  28. Our crew was up on the climbing mountain at Philmont’s Cimarroncito camp with a mixed gender venture crew. The entire dynamic of the trek was absolutely different. The scout’s mind’s were immediately shifted away from scouting and focused on two gregarious young ladies holding court on the mountain. You can’t ignore that this will be a negative dynamic that will be introduced.

    As for Canada Scouts. it’s difficult to find, but there are some discussions on line that say there is a looming problem with girls taking all the leadership spots in the troops- admittedly I can’t vouch for the data. You get some awkward boys with some girls that mature more quickly that certainly have the attention of the boys and you run a real risk of no boys in leadership positions. My experience with Middle School Student Councils shows they are very heavily slanted toward girls just as demerits and suspensions are very heavily slanted toward boys. This won’t readily be apparent but we can’t put our heads in the sand that by introducing girls, we are providing less opportunity for boys in the one program in America fighting this nationwide trend of treating every boy how acts out as in need of discipline and medications.

    People also like to point to British Scouts. Their bylaws have such great points such as Duty to God is not a bar to membership (there is in fact a separate Scout Oath for Atheists). There is guidance on the role of the Scout leader in providing contraceptive and abortion advice. They advise that scouts forming relationships should be allowed privacy to explore those relationship on scout trips. There is a multiple page FAQ on the role of the leader in providing condoms on campouts. So, it is naive to think that this isn’t a negative we will have to deal with at the boy scout level.

    Separately, I would ask that the Scouting leadership is truly open to dissenting opinions. You see a comment from Keith Ciancio above who says “I’m the COR, I know best and you are gone if you raise any concerns.” Keith needs to go ponder the scout oath and law and see if he is living up to it. I suggest this kind of attitude isn’t. I can’t think of another time I was treated as poorly as I was by a paid scouter when I asked his help (our council didn’t do the outreach Mr Surbaugh said they were supposed to) to sell me on the program and give me ammunition to fight my chartering organization who was (one again) discussing not chartering my troop. It’s been a month and I’m still stunned by the response I received, and very much questioning my future in scouting because of this response.

    • Concerned,
      There will not be coed troops. There will be a separate program for girls 11-18. That program will use the existing core Boy Scout advancement requirements, but the program will be separate (like Venturing is separate from Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts.)

      • While officially there will be no coed troops, unofficially there will be. I have one troop that told me the CO does not have the resources or manpower to do two separate programs. They will have a separate girls unit on paper, but they will be fully integrated in the troop.

        When I mentioned this at the town hall with my council key 3, every volunteer in favor of going coed agreed that will happen and was OK with it. Unlike the CSE above, the Key three ignored the comment. Even the CSE noted that some small units currently do not have the numbers to have separate all boy dens. How will this change when girls come.

        • There are already coed troops and dens. This is only going to exacerbate that rather than change it. There are even members of the Woodbadge FB page proudly displaying their daughters in uniforms.

        • I have met scouters who are allowing troops to operate this way currently. The girls are fine missing out on boy scout advancement. They enjoy the fellowship and activities. It will be interesting to see how quickly they sign on to BSA4G.

  29. I am too waiting for that survey. I am an Eagle Scout and active in Scouting for 20+ years as a leader. Seems like we have forgotten boys. Look, boys need good leaders. The program is meant to develop young men. Adding girls to the mix is going to hurt their self esteem. Your loosing membership because your trying to cater to everyone but your not focusing on….. wait for it………BOYS!

  30. A sad day for Scouting. These initiatives are in poor taste. They undermine the integrity of Boy Scouts and are the beginning of the end. As an Eagle Scout, for the first time, I am embarrassed of Boy Scouts. Scouting should have had the balls to stand up and say NO. This entire concept is based on flawed logic. No one had the guts to tell these fools the truth. It is not Boy Scouts responsibility to fix girl scouts or provide a place for girls to become Boy Scouts. Focus on developing young men into great citizens. Period. If they wanted to do an experiment create “Family Scouts” and see how that does. If it succeeds, keep it. Don’t destroy the establishment. So Sad.

  31. I love the change to include girls in the program. However, Mike Surbaugh took a very political approach to the “co-ed” den/troop question, I.E. he didn’t answer it. I understand that there “will be an increase in volunteers” because of this change, but will there actually be enough of an increase?
    My daughter is already part of the Girl Scout program, if she wanted to stay in an all girl program; why not just stay over there?
    She already participates in her brothers’ dens activities and has been since the oldest started Scouting. Unofficially, she has been a Scout from the beginning. I feel that the program should be able to integrate the girls into the program without singling them out with their own dens.
    I have traveled to parts of the world that uses a co-ed program, I.E. Australia, Mexico, and Canada, and some of their programs are fully integrated with no issues of singling out the boys vs girls.
    I understand that there are some that will say they should stay separate because “the boys will step back and let the girls run the program,” these are actual quotes from a Girl Scout mother, or “there are things boys do that girls shouldn’t,” “the girls will be an after thought in the program,” etc.,etc. There are boys and girls with a different level of drive at all levels. There might be a boy that has that mentality, but the program in place already addresses those issues by forcing that child to take leadership roles to gain the next rank.
    Each of those “issues” will be a mute point if the unit leadership is actually involved and willing to put the effort in.

    • David, like you, I laud the decision, but we must understand that many of our fellow Americans dread it.
      Describing WOSM organizations as “fully integrated with no issues” is an overstatement. Integrated organizations have issues that you and I deem to be trivial, but others think those are central to their world view and their vision of what they want for their boys (or what some boys have told me, they would like for themselves).

      The availability of volunteers will depend on local culture. To make this work for some packs I can imagine, for example, a tiger DL dual registering for both the boy’s and girl’s den, and then operating both dens in the same room at the same time. In other packs facing exactly the same situation, I can see leaders saying, “Sorry girls, we don’t have an extra leader for you, Bye.”

      I don’t envision current Girl Scouts like you daughter jumping to the BSA4G ship. Especially, if they are in an active troop that generates as much fun as a pack or troop. But, a girl wanting to join one of those fun GS/USA troops, if it is at capacity, cannot join that troop, but instead is offered membership in a troop that doesn’t suit her interests. (This happened to my daughter, and I’ve repeatedly heard this from other girls. She patiently waited six years to become a venturer.)

      So, what we have is a necessary compromise that encourages scouters to still maintain a boys-only space, but challenges them to look at the possibility of extending scouting to girls in their community. It’s a middle ground that I think satisfies very few. Will it work? Like you mentioned, it depends on the determination of leaders … how many of them think this is a real need … and how many of them are up for a challenge.

  32. The main difficulty that I have in understanding BSA’s decision is that this is all based on making it easier on families.

    For the Cub Scout family they will now have a couple of options:

    Option 1: Taking their son to one Pack’s Meetings and then taking their daughter to another Pack’s Meetings:

    If units are to pursue this option of remaining separate, the “All-Boy” Pack and “All-Girl” Pack many units would be forced to have them meet on separate nights due to space constraints of their Chartered Organization (CO). Additionally some CO may not be open to units needing an additional week night to run meetings for new “All-Girl” Pack – this would mean that the “All-Girl” Pack may need to find a different CO. Again negating any convenience to our families. Having “All Boy” units and “All Girl” units really does not accomplish much in making it easier on the family.

    Option 2: Looking at the Co-ed, but not Co-ed option of having one pack with “All-Boy” Dens and “All-Girl” Dens:

    What does this do to help a single parent with two children? What if the children are twin brother and sister and they both are Tigers? That parent can’t be in two locations at once. Additionally many units may run into spacing issues. Separating the dens by sex means that potentially units will have twice as many dens. How many COs have the facilities to accommodate this?

    For Troops, National doesn’t even allow for a Co-ed Troop with “All-Boy” Patrols and “All-Girl” Patrols. Boy and Girls shall not meet as part of the same Troop. What is this doing for the families that BSA is serving?

    Unless the “All-Boy” Troop and “All-Girl” Troop meet on the same night and at the same location, what benefit is there to families? Unless the “All-Boy” Troop and “All-Girl” conduct the same outings then you are pulling parents in two different directions or even creating more calendar conflict.

    While the premise for allowing girls was so that BSA could better serve its’ families, it appears that National has seriously missed the mark

    • It’s a pretty rash assumption that two packs or troops can’t meet at the same time. Some CO’s (e.g. mosques) are inherently set up for sexes to meet separately at the same time for the same purpose. Others won’t have a problem with pack 1 and pack 1-4G having the same cubmaster and assistant and occupying the same open space. Other’s will demand separate leaders and separate time-slots for separate units — maybe even telling the new unit to pick a different CO.

      Our CO has never had a problem with troop, crew, pack, den sharing the facility at the same time (as long as fire safety standards are maintained). Our COR has already made it clear that they will support us in whatever BSA4G program we wish to provide whenever we wish to provide it, or not.

      Bottom line: it’s on the scouters who have been pressing BSA for years to legitimize their efforts to demonstrate how they will make it work.

      I agree that this may serve some families well, and others not much differently than now.

      IMHO, the real game-changer is that girls will have access to a program with no cap on unit size, with strong links to a chartered sponsor to encourage longevity, and desirable quality benchmarks.

      • I think that it is pretty rash to assume that they could.

        I did not state that this was the case across the board. There are many small churches in my district that charter units. These churches have just enough room for the Pack to meet one night and the Troop to meet another.

        My previous unit was with a CO with such limited space that only two dens would meet on any given night. For Pack meetings we were able to have all dens meet in the sanctuary.

        • So, because some COs don’t have space for expansion, capacious CO’s shouldn’t sponsor BSA4G packs on top of their existing scouting program?
          By that logic, because some COs only have space for 30, no troop in the nation should have more than 3 patrols.

          At the end of our troop meetings, we circle up, cross arms and hold hands for the SM minute. All of us except for two boys “form a break” by leaving hands unlinked. Why? Because there’s always room for one more. That’s the problem with some scouters, they sincerely believe they can make it work and want the chance to try.

  33. I can understand that there are issues with Girl Scouts being available, or the local program not being what some girls desire, however, I agree with the position that this organization’s focus needs to remain on the development of boys in a boy centric environment. If that means the program is not for everyone, then so be it. There are many local BSA programs that bend rules to allow effective participation of girl siblings to a degree (typically under the direct involvement of the parents). An effective organization and program can’t be all things to all people. The current / traditional BSA program is not necessarily a program that fits all boys either, just as Girl Scouts is not a program that fits all girls. I’d rather see BSA/GSA work together to promote co-sponsored portions of programs that can allow for some co-ed components. I believe the political / ideological forces and desires to force fundamental change is what is at the heart of this. I just simply believe that no one is owed a program that meets their individual personality and desires, nor is BSA any kind of guarantee of future life success. With the internet making social outreach and gathering so easy, its increasingly easy to find groups that girls (and boys) can find fulfilling and rewarding. My opinion is not because I am afraid girls will do better (I would expect to see that), or that I am against the advancement of women, or whatever other negative sterotype is peddled. I have two daughters whom I am equally committed to helping to achieve whatever they want to achieve in life, and will have them engaged in GSA and/or other programs and activities that help in that.

  34. Q

    First – my comment are nothing against girls joining the BSA. My comment was just a statement to the fact the National has made this decision under the guise of “making it easier for families” when is some cases it will not.

    Your logic that that because some units only have space for 30 would somehow translates to no troop in the nation should have more than 3 patrols is an extreme reach.

    Nothing is set in stone, there are small Troops, large Troops, and even medium size Troops.
    You can’t assume every unit’s situation is the same

    Not all units can be large units.

    In my district there are many small churches. There aren’t any large mega-churches that you would find in the big cities. Meeting spaces are limited. Around here, units tend to run to the capacity of their Charter Organization.

    When you begin to exceed the capacity of your meeting space, you have to look for creative ways to use your space, you may have to look for a new CO with a greater capacity (which my Troop had to do 6 years ago), or you and your District Executive may even look towards forming new units to serve the Scouts.

    Furthermore, just because a CO charters a Cub Scout Pack, a Boy Scout Troop, and a Venturing Crew this does not mean that they will be willing to potentially charter an “all-girl” Pack and an “all-girl” Troop. We can’t assume that they have to, or will charter additional units. (again I am not against having girls join – trying to figure a way to make it work under the premise that National is making it easier for families)

    This is something that each set of leaders needs to discuss with their Chartered Organization before assuming that they will.

    There is an agreement that needs to be made (your Annual Unit Charter Agreement). Part of this agreement is that the Charter Organization agrees to ensure appropriate facilities for the unit for its regular meetings. If the CO does not have the facilities to adequately support additional units, they are not obligated to do so. We can’t we assume that they will.

    • I’ll agree that “family accessible scouting” was an abysmal piece of marketing doublespeak. I’m glad more recent announcements (this post included) stripped the term from the headline.

      Some units will implement program that helps certain families and impedes other families in participating in BSA.

      If this takes off in communities with limited facilities, I envision it doing so with a little teamwork on the part of multiple CO’s. How that looks will vary. It’s a big country, and scouters are pretty clever.

  35. The transcript needs to be a proper transcript — sentences, paragraphs, punctuation. Please BSA, hire someone who understands modern standards of communication and web design. And by modern, I mean more recent than 1955. As far as the girls joining though, I am all for it.

  36. I’d like to see co-ed cub scout dens. We have 2 boy, girl twin sets in our pack. The girl twins have been a part of their dens for a couple of years now. The dens operate the same as the all boys dens. These kids don’t think anything of it. The parents should take their cue from the kids.

  37. I applaud the move to make Scouting a more family inclusive program. Society has changed with so many single parent, blended parent and two working parent families that this makes a lot of sense to provide a strong family values program to the whole family. Over the past few years many changes have occurred including lowered ages and new programs for membership, allowing openly homosexual youth and adults full membership, allowing transgender members, pretty much the whole LBGTQ group and of course now girls… some changes were imposed or forced by some degree and various means and some to avoid potential court losses and the most recent seems to be by choice. The last group banned from membership are youth and adults in agnostic/atheist families. The BSA is a secular organization that does not require a monotheistic faith but rather allows for a very broad interpretation of ‘God’. It would seem that in light of all the other changes that it is time to open the door to this final segment of society. Certainly, many agnostic/atheist youth might actually come to embrace a belief in a higher power by virtue of their Scouting experience. At the least, they will be able to participate in a strong character, citizenship and leadership values program.

  38. As an Eagle Scout of 30 years, I do not like the move to let girls join Boy Scouts. Why you might ask? It’s called BOY SCOUTS!! We all know the percentage of girls joining Boy Scouts will be low. You’re probably going to have ONE girl per troop…. maybe.

    Keep in mind, the parents of that girl won’t be able to just send her off to camp. One of them will have to attend a week of camping during the summer and once a month when the Troop goes camping.

    Reason being, girls wont be allowed to bunk with the other boys and she won’t be able to bunk alone.

    That lone girl will feel like a 5th wheel amongst a troop full of boys that razz each other.

    Just wait, it will come, when the first “sexual harassment” lawsuit is filed by some triggered female because she’s around a bunch of rowdy boys.

    Will the Girl Scouts be opening their doors to transgender boys or boys that “self-identify” as a girl? I think not!

    The main reason why I dislike this move, it now dilutes the prestige of the Eagle rank. Currently the Eagle Scout rank is earned by 4% of registered scouts annually.

    Now, adding girls to the mix, it will be a RACE to be “the first girl Eagle Scout”.

    In addition, girls that are 16 or older with aspirations of Eagle for their college application, you may as well inform them, “if Eagle is your goal, you won’t have enough time.” You have to earn Eagle before your 18th birthday. It would take at least a solid 2-3yrs to earn all your merit badges within the rank requirements.

    There are 6mos time constraints between ranks. Not to mention holding leadership positions, along with annual community service and fulfilling the service project. And Troops hold 2-3 court of honors per year. So, you may have fulfilled your requirements, but you haven’t received your badges or rank advancement yet.

    And finally, you can’t say it’s NOT a money grab!! We all know that membership is down for both Cubs and Boy Scouts. Girl Scouting numbers are down too, and we know that pissed off the GSA. Good way to keep relationships stable.

    In my opinion, this will be yesterday’s news once girls join, realize it’s “not easy” and will drop. Just like the whole permitting “openly gay” boys to joining. I never heard of one joining the ranks.

    #BadMoveBSA

    My 2 cents

    • Anthony –

      The first part that you take issue with potentially have a lone girl in a troop or the girls feeling like a fifth wheel – not being able to camp with the Troop. The info put out about Troops is that there won’t be co-ed troops. If there are girls that wish to join the Boy Scouts, there will need to be all girl troops. To date, troops won’t be co-ed.

      Personally I don’t see a major issue with co-ed troops. We have co-ed Venturing Crews. I also believe not having co-ed Troops fails to deliver on making things easier for the families. The whole premise in which this change was based upon was an effort to make it easier for families. Having only all-girl and all-boy troops does not make it easier for families with both a boy and a girl in the program. A family with both a girl and a boy in scouts may find themselves supporting Troop meetings on night a week for their son and another night for their daughter. Then campouts may be on different weekends or even conflicting weekends. Then you have summer camp. A family may end up supporting two different weeks of summer camp for their children.

      Yes there will be a race to Eagle. Some young lady will get her name in the record book as being the first female Eagle. I do hope that National makes sure that that person actually earns Eagle – not getting credit for things that may have been done before they are actually registered.

      Lastly in life all things are a matter of time. Yes some girls who may want to join may be too old to meet the time constraints to earn Eagle. (Courts of Honor don’t play a part in your argument. Time constraints are based upon the date an award is earned not awarded). We have Boys that join that may not have enough time to earn Eagle. We also have boys that are more focused on camping and having fun that they put themselves in a position where they don’t earn the necessary rank in time to make Eagle. As adult leaders we try to guide them so this doesn’t happen, but ultimately it is up to the Scout to do the work. This is why Eagle is such a prestigious award. Only 4% earning Eagle.

      What makes you think that by a girl earning Eagle the award will be any less prestigious? Given the circumstances do you believe that more than 4% of girls that join will earn Eagle?

    • Although I agree with your bottom line that this is only opens the door for a minority of girls, I disagree that the issues you pose are insurmountable.

      The lone girl is not unlike Lone Scouts … similar problems, similar solutions. Our troop (which isn’t clamoring to welcome girls but willing to help anyone learning to hike and camp) is an example. We don’t always require buddies in tents. We don’t always require tents. According to the guide to safe scouting, a shelter is made coed by hanging a tarp vertically to allow for female’s private sleeping quarters.

      It’s sad to say, but the harassment suits are already there … be it unisex or mixed sex environments. Regarding GS/USA and transgenders, they have had a very public permissive policy towards young biological males who identify female. Sorry you missed the memo. Last year, BSA adopted a similar policy.

      Regarding Eagle rank being diluted, there are issues of concern (e.g. Insta-palms, camping and physical fitness definitions, ageism, parental involvement, etc ), but I don’t think welcoming girls exacerbates this. What devalues our rank IMHO is when the award is not conferred on a first class scout (the concept, not the patch) who acquired all of the same achievements as other Eagles past and present. Others are welcome to disagree. But, in an age where women are sought out for careers in the military, it would be good advertising if the most skilled among them at boot camp could say they gained their competencies on the trail to Eagle.

      Also, you seem confused about the timing of ranks. A scout’s rank is conferred on the day of his board of review. Troops may actually have the SPL award the patch at the next meeting. A two year time frame is reasonable for a mature and focused scout. From time to time we have a 16 year old drop in and they get up to speed fairly quickly. In fact one scout who did just that 5 decades ago motivated me to get serious about rank advancement.

      If this is a “money grab” I can’t imagine a worse way of doing it. Waiting 5 fiscal quarters to collect fees from customers who are already using the product would enrage most boards.

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