This past week, the Boy Scouts of America announced that soon young girls would be allowed to join the Cub Scouts and, eventually, the Boy Scouts thereafter. Overall, the news has been received openly by some while resisted by others. More simply, the left has congratulated the BSA for joining the 21st century, while the right has scorned it for an overextension of political correctness.
As a past scout myself — and an Eagle Scout — I am actually quite conflicted in my opinion.
HOW WE GOT HERE: Boy Scouts to let girls join, earn Eagle Scout rank.
On one hand, I am in favor of the decision regarding its move towards equality. I believe Girl Scouts to be an excellent opportunity itself — yet no one can deny the status our society bestows on Eagle Scouts. A quick read online will be fast to tell you the list of astronauts, presidents, CEOs and others who have all obtained the rank through years of hard work during their youth. Many of the young women I have grown up with are shaping to do incredible things both in the private and public sectors now that we are postgraduates. It is doubtless that they could have also benefited from the lessons in leadership, servitude, and responsibility that my peers and I did.
Yet, I also have thoughts weighing against the decision — namely, the age and maturity of the boys within the scouts. Speaking as a prime example, I was nearly sent home from more than one campout for misbehaving along the lines of starting fires, pulling pranks and generally behaving in an overall immature manner. I fully accept I may sound behind the times saying so, but I believe adding girls to the mix would have most likely resulted in worse behavior solely on my part. There probably is something behind taking a group of boys to the woods and teaching them how to be men — and maybe there is some merit in trying to preserve that idea.
The initial announcement described the situation as one that will in part be left to the charters of each troop, meaning the organization that sponsors the troop and lets them use a communal space for meetings. In the coming months, we will probably see lawsuits and threats as some charters refuse to let the troops be coed organizations — but I believe that is all just part of the growing pains this new decision will bring. Personally, I see it as important to still respect the charters, which refuse to accept the new ruling because to do otherwise would ignore the contribution many of them have made for years regarding the Scouts.
NICOLE VILLALPANDO: Will local girls become Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts?
Time will tell whether the decision is right or wrong. We might see the ongoing decline in Scouts turn around as an influx of new members joins — or we may see an exodus of many current Scouts as the decision takes root.
Maybe 10 years down the road, there will be a surge of bright new leaders — or maybe the program will fail. Until then, the best we can do is keep an open mind. Focus on the positives, yet be aware of the negatives and the challenges the decision will hold. In essence, we should hold on to the Scout motto: “Be prepared.” Prepared to accept what may be uncomfortable. Prepared to hold heads high and be leaders regardless of the situation. Prepared to continue to serve the community in all aspects.
Brougher graduated from Georgetown High in 2012. He studies at the University of Tübingen in Germany