Boy Scouts to welcome girls; Girl Scouts 'disappointed'

Boy Scouts to welcome girls; Girl Scouts 'disappointed'

DALLAS - Walk into the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas headquarters in Dallas, and you'll see a plaque, with a motto of empowering girls.

Now, the Boy Scouts of America want to expand the ways they do that, too.

Starting next year, girls will be allowed to join the Cub Scouts. Boy Scouts is working on a program for older girls to be able to earn the highest of Eagle Scout, using the same curriculum as boys, projected to be available in 2019.

The Girl Scouts equivalent is the gold award, said Jennifer Bartkowski, Girl Scouts of North Texas CEO.

"I have to say I'm disappointed," said Bartkowski. "We know how girls learn and lead best. Girls aren't going to have the same experience in a Boy Scout environment."

The Irving-based Boy Scouts of America says they're just responding to years of requests from families and girls.

"Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing," said the Boy Scouts of America, in a statement.

Cub Scout dens will be single-gender, either all boys or all girls. The statement says that according to education experts, the curriculum is relevant to girls, too.

But Bartkowski says, that's not enough.

"We are still struggling to have the community recognize the same value for girls as they do for boys," she said. "Girls deserve investment, their own space, their own community for them."

Meanwhile, the regional Circle Ten Council, serving 57,000 young people in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma, said it "is excited about the opportunity to serve the full family and we are prepared to meet these new customers as they make the decision to join Scouting."

Girls have been welcome to join Boy Scout programs like Venturing and Exploring for 20 years, but this is the first time they'll be able to join the ranks.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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