In the feud of the week, it's boys versus girls—but in Scouts. The two organizations that teach young kids about everything form wilderness survival skills, to the value of volunteering, and lets them collect patches to prove it, are currently engaged in a major conflict over member recruiting as both organizations have seen their numbers decline in recent years, according to The New York Times.
Basically the Girl Scouts has accused the Boy Scouts of a secret campaign to recruit girls to their organization, stealing potential members from the Girl Scout fold. Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, the president of the G.S.A., wrote a letter to her counterpart Randall Stephenson at the B.S.A., which said, in part, "I formally request that your organization stay focused on serving the 90 percent of American boys not currently participating in Boy Scouts." Holy snark!
It seems the B.S.A. has been looking to serve more girls within its organization, seeking input from members nationwide since last spring, The Times reports. They have considered creating a girls-only program, or partnering with the Girl Scouts. But apparently Hopinkah Hannan felt the boys were being sneaky about their efforts. She wrote in her missive, "Girl Scouts made numerous attempts to engage B.S.A. in an open and transparent dialogue about their intentions, and have always been more than willing to work with B.S.A. to determine how best to serve today's youth."
Interestingly, this isn't the first time the B.S.A. have looked to extend opportunities to girls to join. A program called Venturing is for both men and women, ages 14 - 21. It wasn't immediately clear on the program's website how Venturing differs from what a girl might experience in Girl Scouts, but perhaps having the opportunity to meet people of both genders is the plus. And not having to sell cookies.
It's worth mentioning this isn't the first time the lines have been blurred between the two scouting organizations. Recently a boy attempted to join Girl Scouts. And with transgender issues increasingly coming to the fore, the groups are going to have to figure out how to proceed to serve all youth, regardless of their chosen gender.
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Effie Delimarkos, who is a spokeswoman for the Boy Scouts, told The Times families are asking for even more ways for girls to be involved with their organization. It was her belief that any conflict over recruiting can be smoothed over. Perhaps for a "working things out" badge?
Would you let your son join the Girl Scouts—or your daughter join the Boy Scouts?