With more Packs being accepted into the pilot of the Family Scouting Program, including a few in the Laurel Highlands Council, I thought this would be an appropriate time to publish this post that I have been working on for a few months. After hearing the news that the Boy Scouts of America would begin admitting girls into the Cub Scout & Boy Scout programs, Cub Scouts in the 2018 Program year and Boy Scouts in 2019. I immediately began receiving questions from both my Scouting and Non-Scouting friends for my opinion on the decision. Those who have asked know my opinion, and I will be sharing that with everyone today. Before I state my opinion though, I want to make it clear that this opinion is my own, and I will back it up with research and observations from both the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA where applicable.

My Opinion

The decision of the Boy Scouts of America to admit girls into the BSA's Cub Scout and Boy Scout Programs is the right move.

While this opinion is NOT the most popular, it is mine and I will do my best to explain why.

My Reasoning

  1. The simplest reason, is the decisions compatibility/ability to further the mission of the Boy Scouts of America, which is:

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

This reasoning can be backup up, as far bak as the inception of the organization in England by Baden Powell (B-P). B-P is quoted in "Baden-Powell: Founder of the Boy Scouts" as rhetorically asking the following to himself:


To which, he answered:

I think girls can get just as much healthy fun out of Scouting as boys can...and prove themselves good Scouts in a very short time.

The missions of these two youth development organizations, The Boy Scouts of America, and the Girl Scouts of the USA have similar missions:

Boy Scouts of America

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

Girl Scouts of the USA

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

the main difference, that I see, between these missions is the specificity that the BSA provides in their mission. They not only specify WHAT they will do, but HOW as well. This can be further demonstrated through the Oath and Law of the respective organizations:

Scout Oath (Boy Scouts of America)

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

Girl Scout Promise (Girl Scouts of the USA)

On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

Scout Law (Boy Scouts of America)

A Scout is:

Girl Scout Law (Girl Scouts of the USA)

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

The Oaths of both organizations, while similar in content have one major difference, contained in the first line of both, the BSA says that "On my honor, I will do my best...", while the GSUSA says, "On my honor, I will try...". This small difference is one that I believe shows the difference in the teaching methods of the two organizations, and their philosophies are made apparent again through the words of the "Law" of each organization. The Scout Law provides a list of traits that every Scout must possess, while the Girl Scout Law states that a Girl Scout must do their best to live by the traits outlined in their law. While I will be the first to admit that no one is perfect, demanding that every Scout do, rather than just doing their best, provides motivation for members of the BSA, and shows that there is ALWAYS room to improve. It is not my goal to say that the GSUSA or the BSA have a better program than their alternative, I just want to share my opinion and back it up with the differences I see in the goals of the program available to the public, since I have never been associated with the GSUSA, I cannot speak to any first hand experiences. It is my belief that both programs have their merits, and any Parent should weigh their options as appropriate for their child. Having said that, as an Eagle Scout, I still believe wholeheartedly in the program of the Boy Scouts of America and believe that they are in the right in offering the 'Family Scouting' Program as a way for familys to Scout together.

Please feel free to leave comments below, but I do ask that you keep the conversation civil. No personal attacks, or derogatory comments about either organization will be tolerated. Professional and Civil debate are very much encouraged.

Girl Scouts of the USA. (2018). Who We Are - Girl Scouts. [online] Available at: http://www.girlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/who-we-are.html [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].

Jeal, T. (2001). Baden-Powell. Yale University Press, pp.469-471. Available at: https://books.google.com/books?id=Ek2gKC8EMD4C

Scouting.org. (2018). Mission & Vision – Boy Scouts of America. [online] Available at: https://www.scouting.org/legal/mission/ [Accessed 20 Feb. 2018].

https://beascout.scouting.org/ - Find a BSA Unit Near You
http://www.girlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/join/council-finder.html - Find a Girl Scout Council Near You
https://www.scouting.org/familyscouting/ - BSA Family Scouting Resources