Scouting Worlds Collide with Mixed Reactions

This will probably be the first and only time I will say this, but there is no reason for girls to be included.

This was my gut reaction to the announcement on Oct. 11 that Boy Scouts of America will officially be allowing girls into the Cub Scout ranks of their organization as well as making a new program for them in the higher ranks.

As an Ambassador, the highest ranking of Girl Scouts, and as a dedicated scout since age five, it feels terribly wrong to see Boy Scouts including girls.

It feels as if Girl Scouts is suddenly not good enough, despite the 1.8 million girls actively in participation.

I feel like another thing I loved has been stolen from me by a misogynistic bully.

I feel ignored and invisible, as if my 12 years in Girl Scouts have been reduced to nothingness.

I feel like I am losing a game I never signed up to play.

In the official announcement, the Boy Scouts of America National Board Chairman Randall Stephenson said, “I’ve seen nothing that develops leadership skills and discipline like this organization.”

My time in my Girl Scout troop has taught me leadership skills and discipline, as well as, respect, marketing and responsibility.

When I help plan our trips and coordinate our meals and activities, I learn to be a leader.

When I keep my cool when I am frustrated with my leader or troop mate, I learn about discipline.

When I shake people’s hands and make friends with girl scouts from other cities, I learn about respect.

When I convince people to buy their fourth box of cookies with a smile, I learn about marketing.

When I handle hundreds of dollars after cookie season, I learn about responsibility.

While activities in Girl Scouts might be different and not as well known or understood, the lessons closely resemble those taught in Boy Scouts.

We grow as young women, we grow as a team, we grow as citizens, we grow as people.

The acceptance of girls into Boy Scouts is a message that Girl Scouts is inferior and incompetent, that without the touch of male opinions and ideas, we are not learning enough, we are not prepared.

But this message comes from men who do not know, who have not experienced Girl Scouts and have no right to be making such a decision.

The idea of equality and the removal of gender divisions is admirable, but so much of our lives are already co-ed.

My troop has always been a safe, welcoming place where I can go for advice, guidance and inspiration from my female role models.

I am fully capable of listening to advice from boys and men around me, but I can not always apply it to my life because their comments and opinions come from a different perspective of the world.

I have cherished my troop as a community where I can learn from the girls around me, where I can speak my mind without the fear of being interrupted by mansplaining, where I can laugh with my sister scouts and truly feel like I am learning, growing and being a part of something beautiful.

There is something so comforting about having a sanctuary of supportive girls and women.

My brother is 14 years old and a Life Scout, and I love him to death.

I go to his Court of Honors.

I cheer for him, loudly.

I socialize with his troop mates, asking about their scout trips and their badges.

I smile when they tell me jokes about scouting.

I feel a connection because we are all scouts, but I also know that there is a disconnect because I am a girl scout and they are boy scouts.

And in this situation, I revel in that disconnect.