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How will admitting girls to some Boy Scouts programs change both organizations?

by AirTalk®

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Boy Scouts carry an American Flag in the annual Memorial Day Parade on May 26, 2014 in Fairfield, Connecticut. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday that it will be admitting girls into the Cub Scouts.

As reported by the Associated Press, the change will start next year, and older girls will be admitted in 2019, enabling them to earn an Eagle Scout rank. Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s chief scout executive said that the “values of Scouting...are important for both young men and women.” But the Girl Scouts of the USA have opposed the plan, saying the move was put into place because of financial problems.

Both organizations have had drops in memberships in recent years, and the announcement is adding strain between the Scout groups, each of which is more than a century old. So what does this announcement mean for both the BSA and the Girl Scouts? What are the differences in skills both groups teach young people? And how have the BSA and Girl Scouts changed over the years?

Note: We reached out to the Boy Scouts of America and they did not reply to our request in time for our air. The Girl Scouts of the USA declined our request to join the conversation today, but pointed us to this statement posted on its blog.

With guest host Libby Denkmann.  


Kenya Yarbrough, director of marketing and advocacy at the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles

Ben Jordan, professor of History and sustainability studies at Christian Brothers University; his recent book is “Modern Manhood and the Boy Scouts of America: Citizenship, Race, and Environment, 1910-1930” (The University of North Carolina Press, 2016)

Susan Miller, associate professor of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University; she is the author of “Growing Girls: The Natural Origins of Girls’ Organizations in America” (Rutgers, 2007)

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