A New Era for BSA

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Founded in 1910, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has become one of the largest scouting and youth organizations in the United States. Its principles taught young men to be responsible citizens, have character development, and practice self-reliance through several programs, ranging from endurance to education. Two years after BSA formed, the Girl Scout movement emerged and taught young women to have courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place. For the past 119 years, the two vastly different programs have been separated by the gender according to them and seemingly worked well together. As Progressive America has, well, progressed, that changed. As of February 1, 2019, girls are now able to join the newly-dubbed Scouts BSA. And as every history-making decision sparks debate, this one proved to be no different.

To delve into the controversy further, one must understand the differences between Girl Scouts and BSA. For Girl Scouts, the areas of focus are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) which include computer programming and outdoor citizen science; life skills such as how to cope with bullying, how to launch a letter-writing campaign, and how to make smart financial decisions; entrepreneurship and business skills by selling cookies; and finally, outdoors skills. For Boy Scouts, though, the focuses include skill challenges, which are essentially survival techniques. Not only are these areas of focus different, but both tend to fall on different sides of the political spectrum: Girl Scouts being more liberal and BSA being more conservative.

One side of the argument against allowing both genders into BSA is that having girls join would break a long-lasting tradition of only allowing boys. Those who argue this put a strong emphasis on the word “boys” and say it has worked efficiently up until now, so why change it? In this culture and society, changing with the times is a popular and usually positive trend. It appears that for the Boy Scouts of America, this is no different.