It\’s Time for a Truce in the Boy Scouts vs. Girl Scouts Battle

Girl Scouts & Boy Scouts

My daughters didn’t last long in the world of Girl Scouts. Their troops seemed a little too heavily focused on crafting projects for their taste. And that seems to be the case for thousands of girls who fought—and won—the ability to join the Boy Scouts, which is now changing its name to Scouts BSA to accommodate their newest female recruits. That's raised the stake in the battle for new scouts, as the Girl Scouts claim that the Boy Scouts (oops, sorry, Scouts BSA) are poaching their clientele.

But let's be honest: Both scouting societies have been welcoming new kinds of members in recent years to boost their numbers. The Girl Scouts invited transgender girls to take part in their troops, and the Boy Scouts recently (finally!) welcomed gay members and girls (though the girls have to have their own separate troops, rather than mixing in with the boy scouts).

Here's a radical idea: Maybe it's time to make one big happy scouting family. Rather than pitting boys against girls, create troops based on particular passions, like arts, sciences, or outdoor survival skills. That doesn't mean that a member of an outdoor survival skills troop can't still earn a badge outside their troop's specialization. Members of the science-focused scouting troop may focus more activities on science, but still offer their members an opportunity to win a crafting patch (perhaps by creating a beautifully painted birdhouse suited to a favorite local species).

Membership in particular troops could be single-sex, if there are enough members, since some kids might feel more comfortable around their same-sex peers during prime scouting years. Or troops can offer both boys and girls the chance to work together to earn badges and increase their skillsets in the things they truly love. I kind of like the idea of troops of both boys and girls, where they can develop more empathy for the opposite sex—and understand that boys can rock at sewing, and girls can kill it at engineering.

And the bonus? We could have even more opportunities to score a box of Thin Mints. Who wouldn't love that?

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