scouts

Can Girls Really be in Boy Scouts?

On October 11, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced that they would be allowing girls into the Cub Scout program beginning in January 2018, as well as preparing a new program for girls that would allow them to earn the rank of Eagle. With this news, as has happened so often in the recent past, I was asked what I think of this scenario. And honestly, I do not have a problem with it.

The first thing you need to know to understand my rationale is that there will still be separation between boys and girls. Even at the Cub Scout level, Dens, which are small groups of 6-8 children, will be single-gendered, while Packs, which consist of several of these Dens, may be co-ed if that is what the unit would like. As for the older girls’ program that is not yet announced, this will be a single-gendered program that will allow girls to receive the rank of Eagle.

Secondly, if you are under the impression that this is the first time that girls have participated in Boy Scout programs, I regret to inform you that are off by 48 years. That’s right, the Boy Scouts allowed girls ages 14-20 to join the Explorer program all the way back in 1969, causing them to have, for a very long time, a policy in place for co-ed camping.

Thirdly, and for me, the most important aspect, is the Girl Scouts’ convoluted history with Planned Parenthood. While the national level of Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) does not have any official connection with Planned Parenthood (at least according to their website), this does not mean that local councils do not use Planned Parenthood to teach the girls in their programs as part of the “Women’s Health” badge (discussions of which can be found all over the Internet). There is also a question over the use of local councils co-sponsoring events that Planned Parenthood are hosting, thus bringing into question the relationship between the two organizations.

Now, I want to make clear that I am not demonizing every aspect of Girl Scouts. In fact, it seems local troops are handled in a comparable manner to the Boy Scouts in so far as each unit is private and has the right to run the program in accordance with its religious beliefs if held in a place of worship. However, whenever an organization promotes the death of innocent life as “health” and is then brought in to educate our children with this model, we must pause and question the beliefs of those who run that troop and see if they are continuity with what we as Catholics know to be true. The same can be held for any Boy Scout troop as well.

So, before you go running to sign your daughter up for Scouts, or you run the other way, just remember to ask yourself the most important question: which organization, at that local level, correlates with what I know to be true. For a Boy Scout troop that supports homosexual marriage is not better than a Girl Scout troop that follows Church teaching just because it’s a Boy Scout troop.

For more information, please see the following links:

BSA official statement on expanding programs

BSA Youth Protection (see regarding coed events)

GSUSA official statement on Social Issues

USCCB Q&A on GSUSA