CBS News Logo Girl Scouts accuse Boy Scouts of covertly trying to recruit girls

NEW YORK -- Inflaming a century-old and mostly cordial rivalry, the president of the Girl Scouts of the USA is accusing the Boy Scouts of seeking to covertly recruit girls into their programs while disparaging the Girl Scouts' operations. "I formally request that your organization stay focused on serving the 90 percent of American boys not currently participating in Boy Scouts ... and not consider expanding to recruit girls," wrote GSUSA President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan in a letter sent this week to the president of the Boy Scouts of America, Randall Stephenson. Top leaders of the two youth organizations, both struggling to stem membership declines, conferred this month about possibilities for coordination. But Hopinkah Hannan, in her letter, said she came away from that discussion feeling the Boy Scouts had already committed to an expansion of coed programs that would damage the Girl Scouts. The letter was first reported by BuzzFeed News. The tough tone of her letter dismayed Boy Scout leaders, said BSA spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos. "We are disheartened to see the Girl Scouts pull away from the possibility of cooperation to help address the needs of today's busy families," she said Wednesday. The Boy Scouts have some coed programs dating back nearly 50 years, but this year there has been extensive discussion within the BSA community about expanding opportunities for girls beyond existing coed programs, such as Venturing and Sea Scouts. In 2015, a group of girls in North Carolina applied for full membership in the Boy Scouts and were rejected. The girls claimed the local scout council was breaking its own policy that bars discrimination based on gender. But the federal Title IX law that prohibits such prejudice contains a specific exemption for the Boy Scouts. No final decisions have been made on coed programs, Delimarkos said, stressing that boys-only programs would remain at the core of the organization. However, she said, the BSA -- in response to requests Continue Reading

CBS News Logo Boy Scouts: Girls can join Cub Scouts starting next year

Last Updated Oct 12, 2017 8:55 AM EDT NEW YORK -- In its latest momentous policy shift, the Boy Scouts of America will admit girls into the Cub Scouts starting next year and establish a new program for older girls based on the Boy Scout curriculum that enables them to aspire to the coveted Eagle Scout rank.Founded in 1910 and long considered a bastion of tradition, the Boy Scouts have undergone major changes in the past five years, agreeing to accept openly gay youth members and adult volunteers, as well as transgender boys.The expansion of girls' participation, announced Wednesday after unanimous approval by the organization's board of directors, is arguably the biggest change yet, potentially opening the way for hundreds of thousands of girls to join.CBS News' Jim Axelrod met 16-year-old Sydney Ireland -- who's been an unofficial member of her brother's troop since she was 4. She wanted to become an Eagle Scout just like her brother."Not every girl has to want to do the things that the Girl Scouts do," she told CBS News. "I don't -- I want to do the things that the Boy Scouts do."Many scouting organizations in other countries already allow both genders and use gender-free names such as Scouts Canada. But for now, the Boy Scout label will remain."There are no plans to change our name at this time," spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos said in an email.Under the new plan, Cub Scout dens -- the smallest unit -- will be single-gender, either all-boys or all-girls. The larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to remain single gender or welcome both genders. The program for older girls is expected to start in 2019 and will enable girls to earn the same Eagle Scout rank that has been attained by astronauts, admirals, senators and other luminaries.Boy Scout leaders said the change was needed to provide more options for parents."The values of scouting -- trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example -- are important for both young men and women," said Continue Reading

Boy Scout diversity, photos with the Easter bunny, and a book swap

Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page By Julia Preszler Globe Correspondent  March 09, 2018 The Boy Scouts Spirit of Adventure Council , which includes 76 communities in Eastern Mass., has appointed Komba Lamina of Lynnfield  as its chief diversity officer, a newly created position. Lamina will work on strengthening the diversity of Boy Scouts in the area, including by recruiting girls, who are now welcome in the organization. Lamina had previously worked as the urban scouting and exploring executive, where he introduced scouting to five new urban communities. In his new position, Lamina will continue to bring scouting to inner-city neighborhoods from Quincy to the New Hampshire border. Until March 31, families can hop into the Northshore Mall in Peabody to take photos with the Easter bunny. The bunny will be available during regular mall hours on the lower level of the Nordstrom wing. Families can enjoy a breakfast with the bunny in the food court March 24 from 9 to 10:30 a.m, complete with a light breakfast and spring-themed crafts. Want Rover to meet the bunny? The pet photo night from 6 to 7:30 p.m.on March 25 will allow families to bring their pets for photos. Cost of photo packages vary. To skip the line, appointments can be made at SeniorCare Inc. will host its annual buffet breakfast fund-raiser to raise money for its Meals on Wheels program. The program delivers a daily meal to more than 550 homebound senior citizens each day. The breakfast will be held at The Gloucester House, 63 Rogers St. in Gloucester, from 7 to 9:30 a.m.on March 16. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at Advertisement The Zonta Club of Malden is offering scholarships up to $1,000 to graduating high school seniors who are Malden residents and have been accepted at a four-year university, college, or nursing school. Winners will be chosen based on academic Continue Reading

First girls on LI are joining the Boy Scouts

In her own words, Jasmin Fields-Robinson is making history. She is among the first girls on Long Island to join the Cub Scouts following a decision last fall by the Boy Scouts of America to open up scouting to both genders. “I actually feel very proud of myself for being one of the few girls that enrolled in Cub Scouts . . . (for) just making history,” the 10-year-old said. Cub Scout Pack 371 in Brentwood is the first on Long Island to take advantage of a pilot program that is bringing girls into the Boy Scouts. The new den has had eight girls officially join the Cub Scouts — a phase of scouting typically reserved for boys age 10 and younger. “These girls have been the silent witnesses to scouting for so long,” Cubmaster Jason Klosowicz said. “They’ve been kind of waiting in the wings to make their entrance into scouting . . . They’re all here because they believe in the values we have.” In October 2017, the Boy Scouts of America board of directors unanimously approved plans to welcome girls into the Cub Scout program, and to offer an option for older girls that will allow them to earn the high rank of Eagle Scout. The national organization started the process with the Cub Scouts, which will be available to girls nationwide in August, officials said. Several other Cub Scout packs in Suffolk and Nassau counties are also starting pilot programs and holding open houses to welcome girls into the fold. Officials said that the decision followed years of requests from girls and their families, and was informed by research and input from current members and leaders within the institution. “What we have noticed for the last several years is that most of the families that participate in our Cub program already do it as a family,” said Lauren Vlachos, chief operating officer for the Suffolk County Council, Boy Scouts of America. “The little sisters are tagging along . . . yet they aren’t able Continue Reading

More Boy Scout camps will be open to girls this summer

The Boy Scouts of America is putting out the welcome mat for girls, too, at more of its summer camps this year. The changes follow a decision by the Scouts last fall to admit girls into more programs. For some camps, like Cub Scout Camps, this will be the first summer that girls can participate as full members, not just as tag-along sisters. Other BSA programs with summer camp options, like Venturing, have been coed for years. Girls who have experienced the programs say they can be empowering. "When I joined Venturing, I was a shy and afraid little 14-year-old," says Maddy Agers of St. Louis, now a high school senior and Venturing president for her area. "Since then, I've learned to repel off a cliff backward, go on overnight trips in the wilderness, go mountain climbing and mountain biking, lead overnight canoe trips and brave zip lines. But learning leadership skills has been my favorite part of Venturing." "I'd say the best thing to do, for girls who think they're interested, is just jump in," she continues. "It's not all guys. There are women who've been in Scouting for 40 years. I really hope if I have a daughter she'll jump in just like I did." Agers first experienced Cub Scout summer camps when she would visit her brother at one. She's now working on a Summit Award, the Venturing equivalent of Eagle Scout, and has earned a college scholarship for community leadership thanks to her role in Venturing. Cub Scouts, geared to first through fifth graders, just started opening up to girls this year through an "early adopter program" slated to roll out nationwide on June 1. Girls who take part in the early adopter program and who sign up for summer camp will learn the same outdoor skills, go on the same adventures and, for the first time, get the same rank advancements as boys. Girls' and boys' programs will be separate. Boy Scouts, which is for sixth through 12th graders, will not be available to girls until next year. But girls ages 14 to 20 are welcome in Continue Reading

Some Midlanders celebrate Boy Scouts’ outreach to females, but Girl Scout troop leader still backs separate programming

Maria Reiter — a Girl Scout troop leader in Bellevue for 17 years — heard the news Wednesday: The Boy Scouts of America plans to integrate girls into its programs starting next year. Her reaction, like that of Nebraska’s Girl Scouts group, was one of continued commitment to the “girl-focused” programming offered in Girl Scouts. Meanwhile, local Boy Scouts leaders like Justin Short, an assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 405 in Omaha, celebrated the decision as one that will expand the Boy Scouts’ membership and offer more convenience for parents. Under the plan that Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday, Cub Scout dens — the smallest unit — will be single-gender, either all-boys or all-girls. The larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to remain single-gender or welcome both genders. A program for older girls is expected to start in 2019 and will enable girls to earn the coveted rank of Eagle Scout. The Boy Scouts board of directors, which approved the plan unanimously in a meeting at BSA headquarters in Texas, said the change was needed to provide more options for parents. “We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children,” said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s chief scout executive. Surveys conducted by the Boy Scouts showed strong support for the change among parents not currently connected to the Scouts, including Hispanic and Asian families that the BSA has been trying to attract. Among families already in the Scouting community, the biggest worry, according to Surbaugh, was that the positive aspects of single-sex comradeship might be jeopardized. “We’ll make sure those environments are protected,” he said. “What we’re presenting is a fairly unique hybrid model.” During the outreach, some parents expressed concern about possible problems Continue Reading

Can you be good without God? Boy Scouts face the question

In 2013, the Boy Scouts of America rescinded its ban on gay members. Two years later, it voted to allow gay adults in leadership. By 2017, the scouts announced that transgender boys would be allowed to join. And in October, the scouts announced that girls can become members. The one group still excluded by the Boy Scouts? People who don’t believe in God. “That was a cornerstone to growing developmentally as youth do, that they need to have a belief in a higher power,” said Brian Nastase, scout executive for the area Quivira Council. “And a belief in God means we are open to all faiths. We have Jewish scouts, we have Muslim scouts, Christian scouts, Buddhist scouts. It’s probably the most diverse organization in the city of Wichita, maybe even the country.” For Jerusha Lofland, that still excluded her son, who is now 14. Several years ago the organization came to her son’s school and invited him to a community event, which he attended. He was curious about scouting, Lofland said, but she had to have a discussion with him. “As we were becoming less religious at the time I realized it wasn’t going to be a good fit for him,” she said. “It does bother me that they’re trying to convince boys that they need a higher power, belief in a deity, that they are somehow superior to those who can’t believe that way.” Some say the exclusion of atheists boils down to a simple question: Whether you can be good without God. In some ways, the Boy Scouts are a microcosm of wider changes in society. As society became more accepting of LGBT individuals, so did the scouts. Now, the number of people who believe you can, in fact, be good without God is also on the rise. Good without God The number of adults who say you don’t need to believe in God to be moral is currently at 56 percent, compared to 49 percent in 2011, according to a study released by Pew Research Center in October. Part of that Continue Reading

First came acceptance of gay and transgender Scouts. Now girls can be Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday that it will admit girls into the Cub Scouts starting next year and establish a new program for teenage girls, a move that marks a historic shift for the organization founded for young men more than a century ago.Citing years of research and feedback from Scouts nationwide, officials from the group said that Cub Scout dens — the smallest unit — will be single-gender, either all boys or all girls. Cub Scout packs, which are larger and include a number of dens, will have the option to welcome both genders if they choose. The group’s board of directors voted unanimously in favor of the changes.“This decision is true to the BSA’s mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law. The values of Scouting — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example — are important for both young men and women,” Michael Surbaugh, chief executive of the Boy Scouts of America, said in a statement.“We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children. We strive to bring what our organization does best — developing character and leadership for young people — to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders,” he said.The program for older girls is expected to start in 2019 and will enable girls to earn the coveted rank of Eagle Scout.For decades, the Boy Scouts’ Explorer program has allowed limited participation by girls, but Wednesday’s announcement expands their involvement. Since 1971, the group has offered coed programs in exploring and venturing.The shift by the Boy Scouts comes as the group has found itself embroiled in larger national debates about gender roles and sexual orientation. These debates, in turn, have led the Boy Scouts — which has about 2.3 million members — to examine Continue Reading

Girl Scouts: There’s no need to let girls into Boy Scouts

It has been over a month since the Boy Scouts of America announced it would accept girls into its core programs, but many Girl Scout participants and their parents remain skeptical of the change and its purported usefulness to young women.For over a century, scouting has been largely single gender. Although the Boy Scouts has co-ed programs such as its Venturing program, it never before welcomed girls into its Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts programs.  And many Girl Scouts don’t see why they should start now.“Our experiences are created for and with girls,” said Andrea Bastiani Archibald, the Girl Scouts’ Chief Girl and Family Engagement Officer. “I think that’s important when we consider what appeals to them and what benefits them most.”The Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. has been vocal in its opposition to the Boy Scouts' decision, with its president Kathy Hopinkah Hannan writing to the organization in August, asking the board to refrain from recruiting girls.Such a decision would “result in fundamentally undercutting Girl Scouts of the USA,” she wrote. More: Boy Scouts to allow young girls into Cub Scouts, parallel program for older girls More: Girls are stars in Girl Scouts. They'd be supporting players in Boy Scouts. The Girl Scouts has long touted the unique benefits it provides girls, citing its long history of serving young women through programs built around the way girls learn and interact with each other.Mackenzie Kelly, a 17-year-old Girl Scout in Boston, Mass., said having a girls-only space has been very important to her.  “We have gotten really close and helped each other along the way,” she said of her troop. “I don’t think that tight-knit atmosphere would have been the same if there had been boys too.”“The majority of a girl’s life is in a co-ed environment,” said Archibald. “But this is a special place where Continue Reading

Boy Scouts reverse transgender ban, ask Secaucus boy to return

An 8-year-old North Jersey transgender boy who was forced out of the Cub Scouts because he was born a girl was asked to rejoin in what amounts to a major shift in policy for the Boy Scouts of America, which issued a statement Monday night indicating that it’s opening its membership to transgender children.“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application,” the Boy Scouts said in the statement. “Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child."Kristie Maldonado of Secaucus said she received a call on Monday night from the Northern New Jersey Council of the Boy Scouts telling her that her son, Joe, would be welcome back as a Cub Scout.Joe’s story, first reported in The Record in December, led to a national debate over the Boy Scouts' policy at a time when the organization appeared to be emerging from a period of turmoil after its decisions, amid heated internal discussions, to overturn bans against gay Scouts and gay Scouting leaders in recent years.His mother said she was surprised by Monday’s call, when she was told that the Scouts would change their policy and no longer go by the gender on a birth certificate. Last year, in response to questions by The Record, the Boy Scouts said they check birth certificates to determine eligibility for programs that are restricted to boys, but on Monday night they said in a statement that “that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state.” BANNED: Cub Scouts bar 8-year-old transgender boy THANKS: Amid the maelstrom, transgender boy's parents grateful for support EDITORIAL: Cub Scouts should not exclude kids SERIES: Growing up transgender LGBT advocates had said they were Continue Reading