Washington, D.C., marked the end — and the beginning — of an era this weekend when the Boy Scouts of America established its first all-girl troops in the nation’s capital.
Now known as Scouts BSA, the organization — which celebrates its 109th birthday on Friday — has begun welcoming girls in a rebranding effort amid dwindling membership, sex abuse scandals and criticism from the equally venerable Girl Scouts of the USA.
In the District, nearly 30 troops with an estimated 200 girls took the Scout pledge on Saturday. Across the country, thousands of girls have entered the scouting program since Friday, becoming eligible to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout — a distinction that signifies years of participation and success in leadership, civic duty and self-reliance.
“Our goal is to help families instill confidence and good judgment in these young girls,” said Craig Burkhardt, the scoutmaster for the District’s newly formed Scouts BSA Troop 248, which held its inauguration ceremony Saturday.
For Caroline Hurley of the District, an inclusive Boy Scouts allows both of her 13-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, to be in the program, albeit in separate troops. It also provides weekend activities that her daughter lost when the local Girl Scout program disbanded.
“We had witnessed this wonderful scouting program for my son … and heard on the news that the Boy Scouts program would be expanding and opening up to girls,” Ms. Hurley said. “My daughter was right on it. She wanted to join the minute she heard the news.”
Dressed in their official khaki shirts and forest green hats with orange insignia, several members of Troop 248 expressed excitement at being the first to join Scouts BSA.
“It brings unity to the female gender,” said 11-year-old Tatiana Johnson, whose shirt also made a statement, reading: “Anything boys can do girls can do better.”
Founded on Feb. 8, 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was an outgrowth of a new movement of outdoor adventure training for boys in England. The Girl Scouts was founded two years later, and the two organizations always have been separate.
When the Boy Scouts announced in October 2017 that it would begin admitting girls, the Girl Scouts issued a searing statement accusing the organization of ignoring fundamental problems of corruption and sexual assault within the group and covering it up with an attempt at inclusion.
“The Boy Scouts’ house is on fire,” the Girl Scouts said in the statement. “Instead of addressing systemic issues of continuing sexual assault, financial mismanagement and deficient programming, BSA’s senior management wants to add an accelerant to the house fire by recruiting girls.”
In November, the Girl Scouts filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Boy Scouts for dropping “Boy” from its rebranded Scouts BSA.
The Girl Scouts argues that the name change confuses parents and families who believe the two organizations have merged and threatens to marginalize the Girl Scout activities and that Scouts BSA can’t claim a monopoly on the word “Scout” or “Scouts.”
The Scouts BSA has about 2.3 million registered members, down from the organization’s peak of about 5 million members in the 1970s.
Decades of scandals have bruised the image of the scouting group. In 1991, The Washington Times first reported in a five-part series about endemic sexual abuse and cover-ups within the Boy Scouts, accusations dating back to the 1970s and evidence of cover-ups since the founding years. Lawsuits brought by abused current and former members shed light on scores of predator Scout leaders.
In the late 1980s, the organization implemented a “Youth Protection Program” to train scoutmasters and parents to recognize potentially threatening or dangerous behavior and ways to respond and report.
In 2013, the organization ended its ban on openly gay Scouts and two years later its ban on openly gay leaders.
Slowly but with certainty, the once-proud organization that was a champion of morality, teaching boys to become men, will be taking things to a ridiculous new low.
Leadership of the Boy Scouts has mandated that condoms be “readily and easily accessible” for next year’s 24th World Scout Jamboree, which is scheduled to be held in the mountains of West Virginia from July 21 to Aug. 1, 2019.
One has to wonder if this is to prevent DNA evidence from being collected from what appears to be a giant orgy in the making.
So what are the “Genderless Scouts? saying?
According to an announcement on the event’s page,
“For the first time, a world jamboree will be hosted by three national Scout organizations: Scouts Canada, Asociación de Scouts de México, and the Boy Scouts of America.”
“These three distinct cultures will join together to host the world Scouting community in a celebration of cultural exchange, mutual understanding, peace, and friendship,” the statement adds.
The theme for the 2019 Jamboree is called “Unlock a New World,” a concept that was conceived by the Scouts’ youth bid team, “known as the Dream Team,” according to the announcement.
“This theme speaks to the new adventures, cultures, and friendships that will be shared by Scouts from around the world during the event,” the statement adds.
And about the condoms?
According to its 2016 handbook, the World Scout Committee is mandating that condoms be made readily available.
A subsection on page 10 of the publication reads,
“The Host [Organization] must ensure that condoms are readily and easily accessible for all participants and [International Service Team] at a number of locations on the site.”
The directive adds,
“When making this information available onsite, consideration shall be given to the various cultures and beliefs present.”
According to Charisma News,
“It appears the Jamboree guidelines were drafted after the 2015 World Jamboree in Japan in preparation for the 2019 event and were just recently released in an email.”
What are others saying about this?
John Stemberger, Florida Family Policy Council president and chairman of the board for the Christian scouting organization Trail Life USA, told Charisma News:
In light of the mandatory condom policy, it is not clear how far down the rabbit hole the Boy Scouts will continue to fall. With the addition of condoms and alcohol, the World Jamboree is starting to sound more like a 1960s Woodstock festival rather than a campout that parents would want to send their children to! All of this should be deeply disturbing to the churches that are chartering Boy Scout Troops. These policies present a clear youth protection problem that the BSA absolutely refuses to recognize. The fact that they are requiring that condoms be “readily accessible” and are communicating this to everyone—including youth participants—shows that the BSA is both anticipating and facilitating sexual conduct between minors at this event. These policies are both outrageous and completely irresponsible.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
February 8th, 2019