A Place for the Boys: Boy Scouts in the Modern Era

A Place for the Boys: Boy Scouts in the Modern Era

Since I am a former Cub Scout leader with a son in Boy Scouts, a lot of people have asked me what I think of all the changes going on in Boy Scouts of America. I typed this earlier today to share on my Facebook page, but decided to share it here instead.

A Place for the Boys: Boy Scouts in the Modern Era

I think the male-only element of Boy Scouts is very helpful in developing young men. I don’t understand how anyone who has been around boys, particularly teenage boys, can doubt the value of male-bonding and freedom from the awkwardness that can show up when the opposite sex is present. Girls change the dynamic. I was a Cub Scout leader for several years and we did sometimes have sisters join in, but that usually necessitated the changing of rules, intensity level, and type of activity.

Also, Boy Scouts camp regularly, at least in my son’s troop. These camps are boy-led and the adults don’t even camp in the same tent area. I’m curious how that will work when you add girls into the mix? Moms do not even go on these campouts because they are male-only. So that’s going to be something that needs to be addressed. I still have not gotten any clear answers on that. I understand that girls will have their own troops, but what does that look like in a district-wide camporee where all the local troops come together for camping?

I have been told that Girl Scouts is broken. Many troops in my area have become political and sedentary and I have seen many girls leave the organization over these last 5-10 years. I understand the hunger many girls feel in their desire to go camping, participate in outdoor activities, and learn survival skills. The Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs are phenomenal. They are amazing programs and I understand seeing those programs and wanting to be a part of them.

I am an American Heritage Girls leader and it is also a phenomenal program. We do a lot of outdoor/survival/camping oriented activities. I truly believe American Heritage Girls meets the need that some girls are trying to fill with BSA. We have the added benefit of a mission focusing on building women of integrity, as there is also benefit to a girl-only setting. However, we are a faith-based organization and that does not suit every family. Honestly, if it was not for American Heritage Girls, I would have happily put my daughter in Cub Scouts.

American Heritage Girls

I honestly feel the right answer here would have been to make a parallel organization for girls, but modeled after the BSA program. I have been reminded by many that Scouts has been co-ed in other countries for a very long time. I do not find that relevant at all. Just because other people do something a certain way, does not mean it is the best way and that we should adopt it. In my opinion, I think it is likely that these changes are good for girls, but bad for boys.

In short, I do not think that girls joining BSA is a good decision, but I also do not think it will kill BSA. My family will not be leaving Scouts, but I think in the few years that my son has left with BSA, we are going to see a lot of changes. There were already girls at the district camporee last fall and my son said it changed the dynamic, especially when it came to playing the games. The games were pretty tough and rough and the team with the girls lost. It makes me wonder how long it will be before they require different kinds of games be played – games that are less physical. People have told me that such changes are not necessarily bad, because boys need to learn to operate in a world with girls. That is true, but I wonder where the boys are allowed to be boys? Where are they allowed to be wild and free and physical? Where can these boys go where they can howl at the moon?

“Scouting is a game for boys under the leadership of boys under the direction of a man.” – Robert Baden-Powell

American Heritage Girls

About Janice

I am so glad you stopped by. Kick your shoes off and hang with me a while. I am an Arizona native, wife to a hard-working hubby, mom of two, and daughter of the King. I love sharing recipes, crafts, and family activities that any mom can do. Life is complicated enough, right? When I am not up to my ears in laundry, dishes, and creating for Celebrating Family, you will also find me at East Valley Mom Guide. Come follow me on Google +, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.


  1. http://Debra%20Wagner says

    I think boys are for boys scouts. Boys should have time together to be boys. Learn man stuff together.

  2. Wonderful article! Does AHG have your permission to share this on our Facebook Page? https://www.facebook.com/AmericanHeritageGirls/
    You can let us know via email to our communications department directly at: Marketing@ahgonline.org

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on the importance of AHG and Christ-centered single gender experiences!

  3. http://Jolene%20Groth says

    I’m here from the AHG post on FB about your article and appreciated reading it. We have a new AHG troop and are promoting it as being a great alternative to our girls. One of the things leadership is considering is having more camping opportunities available. I was wondering if you would share how often your AHG troop does camping events? Also I would love to know how long — a weekend? overnight? week-long?

    Thanks for this post. I feel you’ve hit the nail on the head with it.

  4. http://Cassandra%20Leonard says

    I row a similar boat. My son is now a Boy Scout. His father was his Cub Scout den leader for a few years. I am my daughter’s unit leader in American Heritage Girls. We just moved up to the Explorer Unit level. We try to camp at least 4 times a year. The older units camp more often. I always encourage families with girls to try it out.

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