In the Mix

October 7, 2017

The Scouts

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Written for: Communicado Magazine
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I was a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout. A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Still remember the oath I took…

My sister was a Brownie, but, not a Girl Scout. Just didn’t embrace scouting the way me and my guy friends did. This was elementary school. By the time we reached junior high – we now call that middle school – we also were done with scouting. But, it tends to stick with boys a bit longer than girls…

Having said that, the distinctions between the organizations were clear and relevant.

Now in the year 2017, Girl Scouts of the USA are taking issue with girls not being able to join the Boy Scouts of America. But the rationale for why girls should be allowed to be Boy Scouts is having trouble standing up to scrutiny.

Their plea is this: Girls can and should be able to do all of the same things boys can do. Traditional feminism. OK. But specifically, girls want to be able to achieve the status of Eagle Scout. There is a solution…

GIRL SCOUTS: Create a program under Girl Scouts that is the equivalent of the Boy Scouts Eagle Scout. This is not a gender issue, this is a programatic issue.

Girl Scouts make MILLIONS of dollars a year selling Girl Scout Cookies. The Boy Scouts do not sell cookies and have to date, not taken issue with Girl Scout’s dominance in the cookie business. Why? They have different programs that run their business.

Burger King and Wendy’s are both fast-food hamburger restaurants. Wendy’s isn’t complaining because they can’t sell Whoppers. They simply create new menu items. Different menus, different companies. Different programs, different organizations…

Of note: For 2015, Girl Scouts of the USA sold 194 million boxes of cookies to a revenue of $776 million dollars. They now sell online AND in-person.

Question: Feminism was at its most critical tipping point in the 1970’s and I don’t recall this issue surfacing then, so why now?

So I took the liberty of speaking with women of all ages and asked the question, “Should girls be able to join the Boy Scouts?” I haven’t gotten a positive answer yet.

For even the most pro-women of the sample, I still got a, “Can we let little girls be little girls… They’ll have plenty of time to be discounted by men over the course of their lives, let that start as late as possible.”

Harsh but true. But attempting to find fault with the Boy Scouts of America is not the answer…

The message we should be sending to Girls Scouts of the USA is that they need to work on growing their organization. If they like elements of the Boy Scouts of America programming, reach out to their leadership and ask for partnership to develop new/better/equal programming for Girl Scouts.

Unlike Burger King and Wendy’s, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are not in competition. They can work together to advance each other’s agendas. Burger King wants Wendy’s out and vice-versa. Boy’s and girls need to learn to work together constructively for a lifetime… why not start early…

Unisex may not be the best look for the Scouts. Girls: Assert your independence here just as you do in the board room.