The Boy Scouts’ pathetic attempt to reverse declining membership

Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, the head of the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), has accused the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) of creating a surreptitious campaign to test the waters to see whether they could attract girls to join them, because their recruitment numbers are falling.

The letter from GSUSA president Kathy Hopinkah Hannan accuses BSA leadership of “surreptitiously testing the appeal of a girls offering to millennial parents” and making “disparaging and untrue remarks” about Girl Scout activities, BuzzFeed reported.

“We have made repeated efforts to engage with them and talk about the implications,” a GSUSA spokeswoman told the news site, quoting research that says an all-girls scouting environment is most effective for girls. “It’s a potentially dangerous and bad idea.”

She compared the move to a “corporate hostile takeover.”

Hannan’s letter called the the Irving-based BSA “reckless” and shortsighted in “thinking that running a program specifically tailored to boys can simply be translated to girls.”

“Rather than seeking to fundamentally transform BSA into a co-ed program,” she wrote, “we believe strongly that Boy Scouts should instead take steps to ensure that they are expanding the scope of their programming to all boys, including those who BSA has historically underserved and underrepresented, such as African-American and Latino boys.”

I have no opinion no whether an all-girls scouting environment is better for girls than a co-ed one. But I do have a definite opinion that the GSUSA is a far superior institution to the BSA, which is a reactionary institution that had to be dragged screaming into the 21st century in terms of progressive values. If scouts do go co-ed, I’d much rather it be done under the auspices of the GSUSA and for the BSA to just disappear.


  1. sonofrojblake says

    “reckless” and shortsighted in “thinking that running a program specifically tailored to boys can simply be translated to girls

    Hang on -- is she implying that there’s some sort of fundamental difference between boys and girls?


  2. busterggi says

    I’m white but back when I was a kid there were no BS troops in my area -- they didn’t organize in housing projects as even the white folks there weren’t the ‘right’ kind of people.

  3. hyphenman says


    This is a sad moment for me, but I’ve known since I returned my Eagle medal back in 2012 that the Boy Scouts of America was headed to a very dark place. The time has come to close the doors.

    The challenge is what are we to replace the organization with?

    I don’t have an answer to that question.


  4. anat says

    sonofrojblake, I don’t know what you count as ‘fundamental difference’, but plenty of girls are taught (directly or indirectly) to defer to boys in conversation. So throwing them into a mixed setting without training the leadership to counter this tendency is not going to support the full development of the girls.

  5. KG says


    I notice that you are the only one raving about burning heretics. That should tell you something, but I’m quite sure it won’t

  6. trollofreason says

    Iunno about the GSA in particular, but girls-only institutions seem to be better for girls overall.

  7. rietpluim says

    The BSA are a disgrace to the Scouting community. They should be kicked out of the WOSM.

  8. seachange says

    Because I have repair-skillz male-assigned me was invited to a Girl Scout Camp from which there was no easy escape.

    There most definitely is a different way that girls behave when they are all there is and there’s no automatic deference to whatever man or boy is around. They are decidedly more themselves and it took very little for me to inadvertently disrupt this just by being me, and I consider myself pretty rabid as far as feminists go. Therefore what seems to some of you to be a mere hypothesis that girls do better in girls-only environments seems to me instead a slice of reality.

    in particular, it is apparent almost immediately to me now when I see a woman effectively wielding power as a woman would that this woman likely was or very much knew a Girl Scout.

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