California girls want to join the Boy Scouts. Five girls from the San Francisco area say their Girl Scouts program does not provide enough outdoor learning activities, and as a result, they want to be admitted to the scouting program for boys. In October, the girls, adorned in “makeshift” scout uniforms and pink shoes, addressed the Boy Scouts leadership to plead their case.
“I want to be a Boy Scout,” Allie Westover, 13, told the Boy Scouts’ top brass.
Westover then handed the men a completed membership application. Her sister, Skyler, and three friends — Ella Jacobs, Daphne Mortenson, and Taylor Alcozer — followed suit, the Seattle Times reports.
The five California girls claim that they would be better prepared if they belonged to the Boy Scouts and learned how to tie knots and how to go camping. The girls claim that changing attitudes about gender in the United States help make their membership argument, News Max notes.
California Girls Boy Scouts: Girls Fighting To Be Allowed To Join All Boys Organization, What Does Title IX Sa… https://t.co/e8a4VGG1zR
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The California girls, who are between the ages of 10 and 13, have dubbed themselves the Unicorns and want to become the first girls in the Boy Scouts in the organization’s 105-year history.
“Because we’re girls we can’t participate with boys?” said Ella Jacobs, 10. “When we get into the real world, we’re going to have to work with other people who are, like, not just girls.”
Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination based up sex, allows an exception for the Boy Scouts. Although the group has allowed gay scout leaders in recent years, the boys-only membership rule has remained in place. In addition to the Girl Scouts, American Heritage Girls and Frontier Girls groups offer scouting opportunities for girls and young women. Frontier Girls and American Heritage Girls are relatively new groups and were primarily formed as an alternative to Girl Scouts after parents and girls grew disenchanted with what they feel has been a reduction of faith initiatives and hands-on outdoor learning in the organization.
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“We understand that the values and the lessons of scouting are attractive to the entire family,” the national Boy Scouts organization said in an email release to the news media. “However, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are year-round programs for boys and young men.”
Last fall, the five California girls in the Unicorns group began to consider themselves Boy Scouts. The girls enrolled in a Learning for Life skills-building course, which is affiliated with the Boy Scouts and open to both boys and girls. The Unicorns members who tried life as a Girl Scout said they found the experience too sedate, saying the activities included rest time and whispering instead of lighting fires and playing tag.
Girl Scouts of Northern California representative Nikki Van Ausdall disagreed with that review of the local troops by the girls.
“Outdoor experience has really always been a hallmark of what we do. If they want to come back to join us, we’re thrilled to have them,” Ausdall said.
Danelle Jacobs, the mother of Ella and Skylar, said the Unicorns members began working on lessons and activities that closely resembled Boy Scouts projects. They girls hiked alongside the boys and purchased uniforms that closely resembled the clothing worn by the scouting organization.
“We can do the same things boys can — proven from camporee,” Ella said in an interview. “There’s no really ‘girl things’ or ‘boy things.'”
The idea of coed Boy Scouts is not being received well by at least some scouting parents.
“I have sons,” mother Jennifer Masterson, 54, a scout leader in the same region as the Unicorns, said. “Would I want a girl sleeping in my son’s tent? No.”
“Maybe their approach should have been to go to the Girl Scouts and say: Instead of painting our nails and clipping our — whatever they do — to do archery and do climbing. Going through that process,” Northern California Boy Scout leader Randy Huffman said.
Rodney Mangus, one of the members of the Boy Scouts panel who listened to the request by the California girls, said the bylaws, rules, and regulations of the scouting organizations does not allow female members.
Why the five California girls did not address their concerns with Girl Scout leaders or complete a registration for the Frontier Girls or American Heritage Girls groups, which place an emphasis on outdoor skills, remains unknown.
What to you think about the California girls Boy Scouts request?
[Image via Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com]