Girl Scouts of WNY ‘vehemently oppose’ including girls in Boy Scouts
Press Release, Girl Scouts of Western New York
Yesterday afternoon, through a press release on their website, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced they would be accepting girls into their membership starting in their 2018 program year.
While we support girls and their families having a variety of options and activities, we vehemently oppose this decision and stand firm knowing that Girl Scouts is the best leadership experience for girls in the world and will remain a separate organization from BSA.
This is not the first time Boy Scouts has pursued the girl market in an attempt to bolster its membership. BSA’s declining membership has been well-documented, as well as other significant challenges it faces.
For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts of the USA and Boy Scouts of America have worked in a respectful and complementary manner, and we have been mutually supportive of each other’s mission to serve our country’s youth. However, Boy Scouts has been historically slow to adapt to changing cultural mores, which has hurt its standing within various communities across the United States.
From coast to coast and inner city to rural plain, there are millions of boys in need of motivation, guidance, and leadership skills. Rather than fundamentally transform BSA into a coed program, Boy Scouts should work to ensure that it expands the scope of its programming to all boys, including those whom BSA has historically underserved and underrepresented, such as African American and Latino boys.
Girl Scouts remains committed to and believes strongly in the importance of the all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides, which creates a necessary safe space for girls to learn and thrive. We hear from girls and their families every day about the value of the incredible experiences we offer them, including in STEM, outdoor, entrepreneurship, and life-skills programming. And thousands of exceptional Girl Scouts earn their Gold Award each year, Girl Scout’s highest award, becoming Gold Award Girl Scouts by transforming an idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with measurable, sustainable, and far-reaching impact at the local, national, and global levels. Gold Award Girl Scouts are looked at more favorably during the college admission process, earn advanced standing in the military, and 90% attribute their success in life to Girl Scouts.
Here in Western New York, our Girl Scouts travel around the world to places like Costa Rica and India; they build robots and compete in robotics tournaments; and I am very proud that our council has one of the highest number of Gold Award Girl Scouts in the country. Girls earn the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award for incredible Take Action projects that make a profound and lasting impact locally and internationally. What also makes Girl Scouts unique is the iconic cookie program where girls learn financial and entrepreneurial skills. Everything we do at Girl Scouts—from holding troop meetings to selling cookies to camping to exploring STEM—is safe, girl-led, and girl-focused. No other program in the world can do what we do for girls.
The benefit of this type of girl-centered environment has been well-documented by educators, scholars, and other girl- and youth-serving organizations, as well as Girl Scouts themselves. We are dedicated to ensuring that girls are able to take advantage of a program tailored specifically to their unique developmental needs. Only Girl Scouts has more than 100 years of experience helping girls tap into their leadership potential by reinforcing and extending the skills they learn in school in a supportive, encouraging environment in which they feel safe to just be themselves. At Girl Scouts, we are girl experts, and we work every day to help girls develop the courage, confidence, and character necessary to make the world a better place.
Girl Scouts is, and will remain, the scouting program that truly benefits U.S. girls by providing a safe space for them to learn and lead. And, around the world, the vast majority of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides are in single-gender organizations. Last week during our G.I.R.L. 2017 convention, nearly 8,000 girls and those who support their healthy development—including incredible and inspiring speakers, our dedicated volunteers, alumnae, and leaders from across our Movement, as well as many from the general public—came together from all over our country and across the globe to celebrate and amplify the incredible power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) in our Movement.
Our programs are research and evidence based and from this research, we know that Girl Scouts excel in important aspects of life. In fact, a report that the Girl Scout Research Institute published this past summer, The Girl Scout Impact Study, shows that participating in Girl Scouts helps girls develop key leadership skills they need to be successful in life. Compared to their peers, Girl Scouts are more likely than non–Girl Scouts to be leaders because they:
- Have confidence in themselves and their abilities (80 percent vs. 68 percent)
- Act ethically and responsibly, and show concern for others (75 percent vs. 59 percent)
- Seek challenges and learn from setbacks (62 percent vs. 42 percent)
- Develop and maintain healthy relationships (60 percent vs. 43 percent)
- Identify and solve problems in their communities (57 percent vs. 28 percent)
- Take an active role in decision making (80 percent vs. 51 percent)
The Girl Scout effect is proven: in the U.S., 90 percent of female astronauts, 80 percent of female tech leaders, 75 percent of current senators, and 50 percent of female business owners are Girl Scout alumnae! Girl Scouts understands the vital connection between young girls’ development and their future success, and offers a leadership experience like no other. To join Girl Scouts visit gswny.org or call 1.888.837.6410.