The Clarion

Scouts rivalry hurts girls who want more

Adrienne Oliva, Editor in Chief

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All I remember about being a Girl Scout is making a “gingerbread” house out of graham crackers and a milk carton, and finding a gun on our nature walk.

When I was 5, all I wanted to do was be a Boy Scout. They had camping trips, pinewood derby races, and the best uniforms. I remember coveting the uniform I adopted from my older brother when he grew out of it.

I followed my brother around to all of his Boy Scout activities. Whether it meant sneaking into his troop meetings or cheering him on at his derby races, I was there.

I viscerally remember putting on my Boy Scout uniform to go door to door with my older brother and step brother as they sold popcorn – the Boy Scout equivalent to the notorious Girl Scout Cookie – on a brisk October evening. When people greeted us on their porch, I took it as a compliment when they didn’t realize that it wasn’t three boys ringing their doorbell.

Bottom line, the girl I was at age five would have done anything to be able to be a Boy Scout with my brother.

The five-year-old girl I was, and the many other five year old girls today, do not care about the circumstances by which they were allowed to be a Boy Scout.

The decision to allow girls to be Boy Scouts made by the self-titled organization was most likely not done to make a stride in gender equality. In reality, it was most likely done to try to raise the declining number of people who are joining Boy Scouts yearly. The number of members involved in Boy Scouts has dropped from 2.8 million in 2012 to 2.3 million in 2016, according to CNN. Most likely, this was a move to increase membership in the organization.

The Girl Scouts USA has been vocal about disapproving the Boy Scout’s decision to allow girls to become members. Their anger is most likely due to their dramatic decrease in membership, as well, as their numbers have dropped from 2 million members in 2014 to 1.5 million members as of March of this year. Their critique of the organization has been harsh.

“The Boy Scouts’ house is on fire. Instead of addressing systemic issues of continuing sexual assault, financial mismanagement and deficient programming, BSA’s senior management wants to add an accelerant to the house fire by recruiting girls,” said a spokesperson for the Girl Scouts of America.

These are valid issues to critique, but here’s the thing: these are issues for adults to handle. The five-year-old girls in America who just want to go camping like their big brothers do not care about these issues, they just care that they can go on the camping trip just like everybody else.

As an adult woman who is still not over my inability to be a Boy Scout at age five, I understand that there are systemic issues that plague the Boy Scout organization as a whole, but letting girls in will not change them in one way or another. It will just allow for a generation of young girls to wear the uniform they chose to wear with pride.

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Scouts rivalry hurts girls who want more