As many of you are aware, on October 11th, a historical shift occurred in the scouting world when Boy Scouts of America (BSA) voted to accept girl members into the Boy Scout ranks at the Cub Scout level.
While we would certainly have preferred that their vote go in a different direction, this action in no way influences or changes our very important Girl Scout mission. Every aspect of our programming (local and national) has been designed to be girl focused and girl-led. We remain committed to that ideal as well as the core values and vision of the Girl Scout Movement as established by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912. Notably, over 59 million living American women can count themselves as alumnae of this incredible organization that began with one woman’s heart and determination to make the world a better place more than 100 years ago.
Our approach to empowering girls and young women, is a proven method for preparing women leaders. Numerous research studies and countless testimonials, clearly recognize that participation in Girl Scout programming has proven highly effective in enhancing leadership qualities, as well as other key indicators of success, for the girls involved. This method is especially effective in at-risk communities; studies have shown that girls who experience our fully immersed single-gender Girl Scout programming demonstrate higher levels of self-confidence and academic success than girls who have not had benefit of our gender-specific and girl-led program opportunities. We greatly respect our BSA peers and the amazing job they have done shaping young men into highly productive American citizens for more than 100 years, however, there are many unanswered questions as to the effectiveness the BSA programming will have on girls. It is unclear as to the impact this will have on the growth and development of girls. The results of which may not be seen until after a generation of girls go through the programming.
As a council, we recognize the convenience this may offer to families who have both boys and girls. Please be clear, we deeply respect the right of all to make the scouting choice they feel best for their family. However, we also deeply hope Girl Scout’s unique girl-led environment, character-building traditions, relevant badge opportunities, and proven life-success outcomes will significantly factor into discussions as families consider their options. Girl Scouts of Citrus will stand true to our mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place and to the convictions we share through our traditions. We also stand by the value of our program as manifested in years of statistically proven outcomes that demonstrate why a fully immersive single-gender scouting experience offers a powerful and unique choice.
In light of recent cultural challenges and images of violence on the evening news, now more than ever, our girls need a safe space to develop their courage, confidence, and character and to see dignified and composed role models.
The decision of BSA does not diminish our mission, but reinforces the need to provide programming that is relevant to the interests and goals of today’s girl.