Because gender is fluid now and whether you’re a boy or a girl or a cherry tomato depends on how you feel at any time of the day, it was only natural that gender-specific organizations like the “Boy Scouts” and the “Girl Scouts” would begin to crumble.
And crumble it has. The Boy Scouts have started first and apparently are branching out and trying to serve “entire families,” and not just boys. That would apparently mean girls (and cherry tomatoes) could become “Boy Scouts” which would effectively upend the Girl Scouts.
But the girls are fighting back. They’re determined to preserve their “gender-specific” service and want the “Cherry Tomato Scouts” to stop trying to recruit girls.
In a terse letter, the century-old organization accused the other century-old organization of trying to launch a “covert campaign to recruit girls.” The letter was first publicized by BuzzFeed and lays bare a huge fissure in what has been a pretty cooperative relationship over the last 100 years.
Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, Girl Scouts USA national president, sent a letter to the Boy Scouts president, Randall Stephenson.
“Through various means we have learned that BSA is very seriously considering opening their programs to girls and we have made repeated efforts to engage with them and talk about the implications,” a spokesperson said.
“It’s a potentially dangerous and bad idea,” the spokesperson said, citing research supporting “single gender programming” which says that girls learn best in an all-girls environment when it comes to scouting.
The letter didn’t specify which programs BSA was targeting to girls. But Hannan was having none of it.
“Rather than seeking to fundamentally transform BSA into a co-ed program, 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,” Hannan wrote.
Hannan said that the group is simply trying to boost their declining membership.
“I formally request that your organization stay focused on serving the 90 percent of American boys not currently participating in Boy Scouts,” she wrote to Stephenson.
Both the BSA and the GSUSA have millions of members, but their membership has declined in the face of stiff competition from technology, other activities and social media. Both groups have tried to find ways – and new activities – to recruit new kids.
The scouting groups, both inspired by the Boy Scouts Association in England, started in the United States in the early 20th century. Their memberships quickly blossomed, and troops popped up in towns nationwide, attracting young boys and girls seeking adventure and service.
Effie Delimarkos, a spokeswoman for the Boy Scouts, said families had increasingly asked the Boy Scouts for options for girls. The phone call last week was set up to discuss ways the two groups could work together toward that goal, she said.
“How do we essentially listen to the families that have been bringing their daughters along with their sons to pack meetings?” Ms. Delimarkos told the New York Times.
They should both just give up and create a single organization called “Gender-Non-Specific Scouts Of an Unspecified Region.”