The Mormons have severed ties with The Boy Scouts of America. The Girl Scouts are mad. Many have lost faith in the Boy Scouts of America.
America is in the midst of a huge culture shift. Youth-serving organizations MUST adapt or dissipate. Leadership is tough. Leadership requires making the tough decisions that people don't want, but it's best for them. The Boy Scouts made a tough decision. As an Eagle Scout, I salute the BSA leadership for choosing to accept all youth. The Boy Scouts have adapted and they will see their program grow stronger.
1. This decision was a long time coming. I heard rumors about accepting girls in 2013. The decision to accept all youth has been discussed, debated and deliberated for years- it was not an impulsive act to gain more members.
2. There are only two countries in the world that do not integrate scouting programs- the USA and Saudi Arabia. Do we really want to have the same gender-divided programs as a country that forbade women from driving until 2017?
Scouting was started in England. England has since developed an integrated scouting program for boys and girls. Boy Scouts of America can and will do fine with this decision. If nearly every country can run a scouting program with boys and girls, America can too. Most American Boy Scouts have had someone's mom serve as a leader. Many American Girl Scouts have had a dad serve as a leader. There's no reason to keep the program divided by sex. Kids learn great in co-ed schools and properly supervised co-ed recreational environments are no different.
3. Roughly 10 years ago, the Girl Scouts restructured their entire organization. During this time, both scouting organizations discussed combining their programs and operations. The Girl Scouts walked away from the discussion. I don't know why they walked away, but that's what happened.
4. In 2017, Boy Scouts started allowing transgender youth because the United Way gave them an ultimatum- accept transgender youth or lose United Way funding. Boy Scouts kept their United Way funding, but lost private philanthropic dollars as a result. By accepting females, Boy Scouts is now able to maintain their United Way funding because they do not discriminate based on sex AND take a step back towards their Judeo-Christian heritage by accepting all youth without endorsing the transgender philosophy. As a result, they can regain the philanthropic relationships they lost from changing their policies. The people who were outraged about the transgender policy change are probably still mad about the BSA decision to accept leaders who are homosexual. BSA won't regain all of their previous philanthropic funding, but their decision to accept all youth brilliantly side-stepped the transgender issue. With their decision, accepting transgender youth no longer is a national issue- it's placed in the hands of local troops and local leadership that reflect local values.
5. Leadership is leadership. The brilliance of the Boy Scout curriculum is that a young mind can learn to lead, dabble in many topics, and find their God-given talent. Learning how to serve others and lead with integrity does not depend on a child's genitals. We have both male and female leaders in America that lack integrity. The Boy Scouts can equip the next generation of leaders.
Ever since the Boy Scouts' decision to accept girls, The Girl Scouts have doubled down on their girl leadership expertise. As an Eagle Scout, and many other people agree, the Boy Scouts have a better program. Don't agree? Poll your friends- What's the highest rank of Boy Scouts? What's the highest rank of Girl Scouts? Recognizing the highest rank is directly correlated with how much the program is valued.
When I worked for a Girl Scout council, I was impressed by the way they accommodate parents and they do a much better job at helping parents find a troop suitable to their child's needs. With that being said, however I was not impressed with the leadership I saw. During my employment, a $100,000 per year donor dropped the council. No warning. They sent the email and then went to lunch. When our Executive Director tried calling them, she was left with an unsuspecting secretary. They put this Girl Scout council in a rough situation. I knew it was bad and one day, as I left work the same time as the Executive Director, I asked her about it. She said that the council would be fine, they have some reserves saved up and if anything is going to happen, "We'll tell you WAY in advance." A three months later, two weeks after I returned from my wedding, they laid me off. I get it, cuts had to be made but... I was blindsided. I knew we were in financial trouble, I had read the financials but I trusted the Executive Director's words. In addition to being misled, they cut their ties with me immediately after a pot luck. What a shock. "Let me unplug my crock-pot before I pack up my things. Does anybody want one last bite? One month into marriage, I got laid off after a pot luck. Their planning showed me viscous they can be.
6. Families are busier than ever and Scouting is a family affair. It makes more sense to include the whole family in one program. In recent generations, mostly since the TV became popular, families are not eating meals together. In Scouts, you just have to eat meals together. You don't have TV's on camp-outs and good leaders don't allow anything with batteries except a flashlight and an emergency radio. This culture change can re-institute family dinners and respect for elders. At the end of the day, it will come down to the average leader and how they implement the new way forward but I am confident the BSA leadership made a wise decision.