The Boy Scouts of America will open their doors to girls starting in February, but not all troops will make the switch.
Todd Brinton, Unit Commissioner of Troop #49 in Altoona, said when the organization made the announcement, they received some mixed reactions to the news.
“That’s the one that’s been getting all the funny reception because you have people that totally think it’s the greatest idea. Then, you have people that are quitting the program because they thing it’s the worst thing to happen,” Brinton said.
The organization told troop volunteers they had three options: continue as a boys only troop, create a separate, but associated girls troop, or adopt a completely separate girls only troop.
Brinton said his troop will stay boys only.
“The thing that we don’t want to do, at the volunteer level, is we don’t want to open up the doors and say, ‘hey we’re gonna accept girls but you first have to be separated from the boys when you’re doing your daily meetings,’ and only have one or two girls come because then you know they’re gonna lose interest really quickly when it’s just them and their mom,” Brinton said.
In response to the news, Lisa Shade, Director of Communication for the Girls Scouts, said girls thrive better in single gender environments.
“It gives them that safe, supportive space where they can try something new free from the usual pressures that they may feel at school in a co-ed environment,” Shade said.
This is not the first time girls have been allowed to join a boy scouts program. In June 2018, girls could be a cub scout, which is the younger age group.
Brinton said the other troopers in the area have not decided which path they are going to take.
He added people misunderstand why the organization is doing this. He said they are not trying to steal from the girl scouts or change the boy scouts curriculum. They are opening up another area to influence these young adults in a positive way.