Girls in the Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America have announced their marketing plan to welcome girls to Cub Scouts (the full launch is later this year, but they report that 3,000 early adopters are already in), calling it "Scout Me In". They're also changing the name of the program for older kids to "Scouting BSA" starting in February -- since the girls' track in the program is coming in 2019.

I get it -- there are lots of people who are mad because this change upends a long-standing tradition.

But I beg to differ.

The virtues promoted in Scouting are not gender-specific. Girls will have separate troops at the adolescent/teen levels, and I enthusiastically welcome their freedom now to pursue the Eagle Scout award.

Kids have abundant opportunities to self-sort by gender if they so choose, sports being a prime example. But the values and principles behind Scouting -- being prepared, doing one's duty, helping others, and so on -- are non-gender-specific.

The more time that adolescent boys and girls spend seeing one another as peers and equals, capable of doing useful and challenging things together, the better.

I have known many women who would have made fantastic Eagle Scouts, becoming role models for girls and boys alike. Up until now, we've told them they can't just because of their sex. This policy change opens the door to developing and recognizing a whole new generation of female leaders. I am 100% in favor of such a step forward.

This subject is a great example of the difference between a traditionalist and a real conservative. As a conservative, what I care about is conserving the values and the principles that work. While I don't subscribe to change just for its own sake, I'm always looking for better ideas and better ways to do things.

Traditionalists, on the other hand, just want to stop the world in its tracks.

There's a grand conflict already underway between the conservatives and the traditionalists. The Scouting change is a small but very real flashpoint. If you're adamantly opposed to a girls' track in the Scouts, and you're using an argument like "Don't take the 'Boy' out of 'Boy Scouts'", then you're being a traditionalist. But if you look at this and say "I believe in the Scouting principles, and we've learned that women can do everything from pilot fighter jets to lead at the highest levels of government, and preparing girls to be those leaders through the BSA programs would be good for both girls and boys alike", then you're an open-minded conservative.

When it comes to the BSA, consider me an OMC.

Brian Gongol

Brian Gongol

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