This week, The Boy Scouts of America announced that they are expanding their program to include girls. And this includes a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.
Now, a lot of people think this is a controversial move - but before you start arguing about it, let me share my story and my personal experience with scouting.
I remember growing up and being jealous of my brother when he was going high adventure camping - he got to do so many cool things!
I remember I was upset when I had my Boy Scout knife taken away at girl scout camp - while my brother at the same age was allowed to carry and use his. I remember doing crafts and singing songs at our camp, while my brother was scaling a high ropes course.
I remember selling cookies and then having to pay out of pocket for a week at camp, while my brother used his popcorn selling money (which was deposited into a personal account) to be able to go to camp on the cheap.
The comparisons were large in the differences between our two experiences as young scouts. I dropped out of Girl Scouts at age thirteen because I was frustrated with being unable to do so many things within my Girl Scout Troop. I eventually joined (and took leadership positions in) Venture Scouts and an Explorer Post, which are co-ed high-adventure camping groups, but it's a shame that I had to wait until I was fourteen to join.
This is a longtime coming, and the expansion of the BSA to include girls is so amazing. I'm so excited! Now girls can work towards earning their Eagle Award, which can lead to scholarships and other opportunities. Comparibly, the Girl Scouts has a Gold Award, but it does not hold the same high esteem as the BSA counterpart, unfortunately.
Here's a note from my Dad I received this week, an Eagle Scout, and longtime leader of the Boy Scouts: "I feel bad for you Jenna, as you would be a fine Eagle Scout like your brother. I guess the organization and I did not move fast enough to make this happen."
And he's right, I would have made a fine Eagle Scout, but never had the opportunity.
In Germany, they just have a group called "Scouts" and ANYONE of any gender and age can join - isn't that a wonderful idea?