Girl Scouts Accuse Boy Scouts of Secretly Recruiting Girls
The Boy Scouts have recently discussed expanding their opportunities for girls.
The president of the Girl Scouts of the USA is accusing the Boy Scouts of trying to covertly recruit girls into their programs, all while trying to belittle the Girl Scout’s operations, reports NBC New York.
GSUSA President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan sent a letter this week to the president of the Boy Scouts of America, Randall Stephenson. In it, she formally requested that the Boy Scouts “stay focused on serving the 90 percent of American boys not currently participating in Boy Scouts … and not consider expanding to recruit girls.”
Earlier this month, top leaders of both organizations met to talk about possibilities for coordination between the two groups, both of which are facing declining memberships. But Hopinkah Hannan said in her letter that she came away from that discussion feeling like the Boy Scouts were already committed to an expansion of coed program “that would damage the Girl Scouts.”
The Boy Scouts have had some co-ed programs for about 50 years, but there has been extensive discussion about expanding opportunities for girls beyond the existing programs. This exploration showed a level of disrespect to the Girl Scouts, reports NBC.
“Despite offering to engage in a constructive, collaborative sharing process, we were disappointed in the lack of transparency as we learned that you are surreptitiously testing the appeal of a girls’ offering to millennial parents,” Hopinkah Hannan said, according to NBC.
Her letter also said that the Boy Scouts were making “disparaging and untrue” remarks about Girl Scouts programming. She “implored” them to “condemn this behavior within your organization and to create consequences for these actions.”
BSA spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos said that the tone of her letter “dismayed” Boy Scout leaders.
“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, according to NBC.
Delimarkos also said that BSA, as an organization, has never disparaged the Girl Scouts. The Boy Scouts have deep respect for the Girl Scouts’ programs, she said.
The Boy Scouts was founded in 1910, and the Girl Scouts was founded two years later, in 1912. They are both facing sharp drops in membership over recent years, due to competition from youth sports leagues, the thought that they are “old-fashioned” and busy schedules. The Boy Scouts report that current youth participation is at 2.35 million, down from 2.6 million in 2013, and more than 4 million in peak years of the past, reports NBC.
The Girl Scouts report 1,566,671 youth members and 749,008 adult members, as of March, down from just over 2 million youth members and about 800,000 adult members in 2014.
In October, the Girl Scouts are planning to host a three-day summit in Columbus, Ohio, which it describes as “the largest girl-led event in the world.”
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