My Experience As a Girl in Boy Scouts

Noor Hakim

As February approaches, some may be hoping to celebrate Valentine’s Day or even Groundhog Day. However, there is a group of girls nationwide who will celebrate the anniversary of opportunity. These girls are those that joined Boy Scouts of America in 2019, which has since been renamed the gender-neutral title “Scouts BSA”, and they will celebrate the two year anniversary of their participation in the organization.

Yet, at the time, girls in Boy Scouts was a controversial subject.

The proposal of integration was met with a multitude of questions. Why don’t they just join Girl Scouts, or create a new organization? Two genders will be a distraction to each other. Boys need a space they can just be boys. Why must everything be gender equal?

First of all, it is worth pointing out that it is nothing new. In fact, 156 countries already have co-ed scout troops. And, to clear up the worry of potential distraction, girls and boys are in separate troops that often barely interact. If in some events there are girls and boys, they camp on separate grounds, and there are strict policies against any misconduct.

Many girls chose Scouts BSA over Girl Scouts, because though similar on the outside, they have fundamentally different activities and goals. Girl Scouts focus more on women empowerment, business, and homemaking activities, not to forget the infamous Girl Scout Cookies. Scouts BSA focus more on self-sufficiency, survival skills, camping — what was thought only boys should learn until 2019.

A big motivator for girls is the prospect of reaching the highest rank — Eagle Scout. For a century, boys have had the benefit of claiming this title that helps them join a nationwide network of Eagle Scouts, get jobs, and have higher chances of getting into college. Several presidents and well-known figures are part of this network such as Martin Luther King Jr. and JFK and Steven Spielberg. Although less than two percent of boys actually reach Eagle Scout, this could change soon based on the enthusiasm by which girls have joined. Joining Scouts BSA has the benefit of joining an already established, century-old organization that is well-known in the U.S.

Personal Reflections

Personally, I am among the first girls to have joined Scouts BSA when it first opened to girls. Since then, I’ve been working towards Eagle Scout and will reach it this February. It has been one of the most arduous goals I’ve ever taken on, requiring immense time commitment and fervor.

Looking back now, I am forever grateful for being a part of this organization that has taught me so much. I wouldn’t have learned first aid, canoeing, and lifesaving. I wouldn’t have connected more with my home state of Texas by camping in small towns I had never heard of. I wouldn’t have taken a week-long camping trip for the purpose of learning leadership. I wouldn’t have been pushed to make a positive impact on my community through the Eagle Scout Service Project.

The opportunity to join Scouts BSA opened several doors for me and changed me for the better to a more confident and well-rounded person. This February, I will be celebrating the two year anniversary of the beginning of a journey I will remember forever.