Ri­vals de­cry Scout de­ci­sion as ‘war on boys’

His­toric pol­icy shift will al­low girls to join

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY BRAD­FORD RICHARD­SON

The Boy Scouts of Amer­ica’s board of direc­tors on Wednesday unan­i­mously ap­proved a plan to open Cub Scouts to girls next year and to es­tab­lish a pro­gram by 2019 that will al­low girls to be­come Ea­gle Scouts, a his­toric pol­icy shift that drew im­me­di­ate crit­i­cism from a ri­val Scout­ing group.

Boy Scout lead­ers cited the cen­tury-old or­ga­ni­za­tion’s de­sire to de­velop the next gen­er­a­tion of fe­male lead­ers and to al­low fam­i­lies to par­tic­i­pate in out­door ac­tiv­i­ties to­gether.

“We be­lieve it is crit­i­cal to evolve how our pro­grams meet the needs of fam­i­lies in­ter­ested in pos­i­tive and life­long ex­pe­ri­ences for their chil­dren,”

Michael Sur­baugh, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica, said in a state­ment.

Es­tab­lished in 1910, the Boy Scouts have long stood on tra­di­tion, but in re­cent years, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has yielded to a chang­ing cul­ture by re­vis­ing its ad­mis­sion pol­icy to per­mit openly gay Scouts and adult vol­un­teers, as well as trans­gen­der chil­dren who iden­tify as boys to join.

Mark Han­cock, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Trail Life USA, said the ad­mit­tance of girls into the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica is part of a grow­ing “war on boys” that views the sexes as in­ter­change­able and mas­culin­ity as some­thing un­de­sir­able. He said the de­ci­sion Wednesday is just lat­est step in the Boy Scouts’ pro­gres­sive evo­lu­tion.

“The Boy Scouts seems to have de­vel­oped a pat­tern of mak­ing de­ci­sions that de­part from their tra­di­tional val­ues,” Mr. Han­cock said. “And once you lose your way, your moral com­pass, the next thing to go is the courage and con­vic­tion to nav­i­gate when things get tough. And in this cul­ture, with the gen­der-blur­ring that’s going on, I think it’s bad for boys. And I think it’s bad for girls.”

Un­der the plan an­nounced Wednesday, in­di­vid­ual Cub Scouts packs will be given the choice of ex­pand­ing to in­clude girls dens. Dens will re­main sin­gle-gen­der.

“We strive to bring what our or­ga­ni­za­tion does best — de­vel­op­ing char­ac­ter and lead­er­ship for young peo­ple — to as many fam­i­lies and youths as pos­si­ble as we help shape the next gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers,” Mr. Sur­baugh said.

Ran­dall Stephen­son, national board chair­man of the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica, said the group’s “record of pro­duc­ing lead­ers with high char­ac­ter and in­tegrity is amaz­ing.”

“I’ve seen noth­ing that de­vel­ops lead­er­ship skills and dis­ci­pline like this or­ga­ni­za­tion,” Mr. Stephen­son said in a state­ment. “It is time to make these out­stand­ing lead­er­ship devel­op­ment pro­grams avail­able to girls.”

The Boy Scouts said they spent months reach­ing out to fam­i­lies to find out whether they wanted the pro­gram to be opened to girls. Cit­ing in­ter­nal sur­veys, the Scouts said Asians and His­pan­ics are par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in ac­tiv­i­ties that in­clude the whole fam­ily.

The Girl Scouts of the USA, how­ever, has crit­i­cized the plan.

In a let­ter to the Boy Scouts in Au­gust, Girl Scouts Pres­i­dent Kathy Hopinkah Han­nan said the Boy Scouts would be bet­ter served by reach­ing out to “those who BSA has his­tor­i­cally un­der­served and un­der­rep­re­sented, such as African Amer­i­can and Latino boys.”

“For more than 100 years, our or­ga­ni­za­tions have worked in a re­spect­ful and com­ple­men­tary man­ner, and we have been mu­tu­ally sup­port­ive of one an­other’s mis­sion to serve Amer­ica’s youth,” Ms. Han­nan wrote. “It is there­fore un­set­tling that BSA would seek to up­end a par­a­digm that has served both boys and girls so well through the years by mov­ing for­ward with a plan that would re­sult in fun­da­men­tally un­der­cut­ting Girl Scouts of the USA.”

Pro­gres­sive groups, mean­while, praised the de­ci­sion as an­other step in the right di­rec­tion.

“This is yet an­other step for­ward for the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica,” Zach Wahls, co-founder of Scouts for Equal­ity, said in a state­ment. “Girls and their fam­i­lies all across the coun­try have been ask­ing the BSA to al­low girls to par­tic­i­pate as full mem­bers and earn the same ranks and awards as their brothers. This change will al­low lo­cal troops to de­cide the best ap­proach for them and will even­tu­ally al­low girls to earn the rank of Ea­gle Scout.”

Tony Perkins, pres­i­dent of the Fam­ily Re­search Coun­cil, said the de­ci­sion is part of an ef­fort to emas­cu­late men by “tak­ing away the whole idea of what it means to be a man.”

“This is a slip­pery slope. And where does it stop?” Mr. Perkins said on Fox News Ra­dio’s “The Todd Starnes Show.” “I mean, it doesn’t stop un­til the Boy Scouts is a mere shadow of what it once was. And that’s where the left is headed with ev­ery­thing. That’s what they want to do with the cul­ture, that’s what they want to do with the repub­lic. They sim­ply want the sym­bol­ism with­out the sub­stance. And that’s where we’re headed.”

En­roll­ment in the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica has been down dra­mat­i­cally from its peak of 6.5 mil­lion mem­bers in 1972. In 2016, reg­is­tra­tion was at 2.3 mil­lion youth mem­bers, down from 2.8 mil­lion in 2012.

Mr. Starnes said opening en­roll­ment to girls is just an­other sign that it’s “over for the Boy Scouts.”

“Stick a fork in ’em, folks,” Mr. Starnes said Wednesday on his ra­dio show. “They’re done. Just go ahead and pour wa­ter on the camp­fire. It’s over for the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica. And it’s a sad sit­u­a­tion, too. But this is what hap­pens when you al­low the cul­tural ji­hadists to come in and you don’t take a stand.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The faces of Cub Scouts are likely to change after the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica board of direc­tors unan­i­mously ap­proved a pol­icy change Wednesday to welcome girls into the cen­tury-old pro­gram.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.