The Boy Scouts of America have announced plans to accept girls into their ranks, much to the chagrin of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Tweeters also reacted feverishly to the news.
The Boy Scouts released a statement Wednesday, outlining their vision for implementing the changes and for the scouts movement to become gender neutral.
“This decision is true to the BSA’s mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law. The values of Scouting – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example – are important for both young men and women,” Michael Surbaugh, the group’s Chief Scout Executive said in the statement.
According to the plan, the Boy Scouts say there will be small groups of six to eight members, called “dens,” that will be segregated by their gender. Existing dens will have a choice to either accept the new female dens into existing packs, create new all-girls packs, or remain as all-boy packs.
Muriel Berry, Director of Communications for Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland, criticized the unilateral announcement of the controversial change.
“It’s a disappointing time when an organization goes ahead and makes this type of announcement without talking to the other organization that for years has had a formidable, wonderful partnership,” she said, according to KFDI.
“We would have preferred to have both national organizations sit down and really have a strong, robust conversation about how we can jointly serve families and continue to be experts in our primary gender areas,” Berry added.
Girl Scout President Kathy Hopinkah expressed her dissatisfaction with the plan in August, writing to the Boy Scouts board that they were running a “covert campaign to recruit girls,” as the Girl Scouts have experienced declining membership numbers since 2014, according to figures provided to AP.
Twitter went into a frenzy Wednesday as news broke of the changes, with President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., voicing concerns over the Boy Scouts announcement.
Journalist and Eagle Scout, James Bovard, also stated his opposition to the new plan.
Former Google employee, James Damore – who came under scrutiny and was subsequently fired from for sending out a memo on gender diversity to fellow employees – came out in favor of the Boy Scouts’ decision.
Presumably, tomboys would enjoy Boy Scouts and the boys would enjoy and learn from them
Why deny kids that?
Protect culture, not segregation
— James Damore (@JamesADamore) October 11, 2017
A secondary benefit of this is boys working alongside girls, being led by them, being taught to respect their expertise, etc.#BoyScouts
— Charles Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) October 11, 2017
In recent years, the Boy Scouts have eased restrictions on membership to their group.
In January, they announced a change that would pave the way for transgender individuals to join the group. And in 2013, they lifted a ban on openly gay members.