Editor Responds to Boy Scout Backlash

Column By Maddie Robertson

editorial responseOn Oct. 11 the Boy Scouts of America announced that they will be accepting female members as early as 2018.

As with any issue, this announcement was met with negative responses. Some members of the scouting community argued that the decision to allow girls will taint the sanctity of brotherhood. Others claimed that the change will “keep boys from being boys” and even increase teen pregnancy come coed camping trips.

Though I never became a member of Boy Scouts, I had the opportunity to spend two summers working at Camp Cedars, a Boy Scout camp situated a few cornfields away from Fremont, Neb.

Working in a male-dominated environment was a big change for me, but I was always welcomed by the staffers and never treated differently by campers or scoutmasters. The looming fear of sexism in my workplace quickly diminished as coworkers, students and I bonded over our shared love of camping and the joys of scouting.

While I personally never felt the bond of brotherhood at camp, I felt something even stronger: the bond of a family. With every meal eaten, every flag folded and every silly song sung off key, I witnessed the camp growing closer together each week. Different troops, different age groups and yes, different genders became one big campfire loving, mosquito hating community. It didn’t matter how many X or Y chromosomes each person had. What mattered was their shared passion for learning and leadership.

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Family is forever: My coworkers and I share a hug before one of our last flag ceremonies together. I wore the same uniform, honored the same flag and upheld the same camping traditions my male counterparts did.

As each week came to a close, it wasn’t uncommon for the camp to recite the Scout Law. While camp was most definitely a fun-loving environment, the moment of seriousness that overtook the camp as we said the simple sentence in synch reminded us all of why we were really there.

The Scout Law consists of twelve characteristics that every member tries to live up to. A scout must always strive to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. There is no standard of masculinity to live up to. So long as every girl interested in scouting tries her best to achieve these goals, I do not see why allowing females into a troop would be an issue.

The inclusion of girls into an organization that was single-sex for 107 years is not the end of an era. The new action is the beginning of an age where a larger community can share their love of scouting and come together to help carry out the goals of each member. Scouting will not be limited to the growth of brotherhood. Rather, scouting will contribute to the formation of a family.

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