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BSA Policy on Girls

     Below is a copy of the 1991 internal memorandum outlining BSA's policy regarding participation of girls in Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting programs. Unlike the issue of sexual orientation, the issue of the BSA and gender has been silent in the past 20+ years. The policy regarding "Homosexuality and Atheism" can be found in the respective sections of this web site.



BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
National Office
1325 Walnut Hill Lane
P.O. Box 152079, Irving, Texas 75015-2079
214-580-2000

June 24, 1991

SUBJECT:        ATHEISM, GIRLS AND HOMOSEXUALITY

From: J. Carey Keane, National Director of Relationships/Marketing

To: Regional Directors
      Area Directors
      Scout Executives
      Division Directors

     As you know, the BSA currently is involved in various legal issues; issues that include atheism, girls in Scouting and homosexuality. The media has been covering these rather extensively, with the usual debate of pros and cons.

     Since many of you have been, and may continue to be, approached by local media, we thought it would be beneficial to provide a comprehensive package of information. The attached includes:

    - Overall suggestions on responding to the media and to the public, as well as a pamphlet on "Unacceptables" that can be used to "bridge" discussions to the positive things the BSA is doing to resolve issues.

    - Position statements and questions and answers on:

        - Duty to God
        - Girls in Scouting
        - Homosexuality

     If you need further information, please contact Blake Lewis at Edeknan Worldwide at (214) 520-3555 or Jeff Sacks, Division Director, External Communications at (214) 580-2271.

POSITION STATEMENT

GIRLS IN SCOUTING

The Boy Scouts of America is chartered by Congress "...to promote... the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues..." The Girl Scouts U.S.A. operates under a similar Congressional charter for the benefit of girls.

The Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs were designed to meet the emotional, psychological, physical and other needs of boys between the ages of 8 and 14. Boys in this age range seek out and enjoy group activities with other boys. The Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs were carefully developed with these considerations in mind.

The Exploring program, however, is designed to provide a variety of programs for both boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 21. Approximately 40% of the nation's more than one million Explorers are female.

There are no plans to restructure Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting to allow for the registration of girls.

JSsd
6/6/91

Questions & Answers

Q. Why can't girls participate in Cub and Boy Scouting?

  • The BSA was originally chartered by Congress to assist in the physical, mental and emotional development of boys. Similarly, the Girl Scouts U.S.A. was chartered by Congress to serve the needs of girls.
  • Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting were designed to meet the emotional, psychological, physical and other needs of boys at various stages of their development. Boys in this age range seek out and enjoy group activities with other boys. These programs were developed after careful professional consideration. The Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. and other female youth organizations have developed programs designed to meet the needs of young girls.
  • The Boy Scouts of America is a private organization, and as such, determines it's own membership standards.

Q. Why does the BSA discriminate against girls?

    We don't. We simply are providing a program designed for young boys which corresponds to the Girl Scout program designed for young girls.

Q. If Scouting is for boys, then why is Exploring co-ed?

  • The BSA was started 81 years ago to meet the specific needs of boys. However, it was determined that these needs change as boys grow older. As a result, the Explorer program was developed.
  • Research conducted in the 1960s indicated that young men of Exploring age wanted opportunities for supervised social interaction with young women. Explorer posts offer these young men and women a variety of educational activities in a co-ed environment.

Q. Why did the BSA open all of the volunteer ranks to women several years ago?

    Women have been an essential aspect of the BSA's leadership for many years. The last few positions traditionally held by men were opened to women several years ago. Today over 402,000 women serve as registered volunteers in all levels of Scouting.

Q. Why allow women in Scouting and not girls?

    Women serve in leadership positions in the BSA. The Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs serve the needs of boys, and other organizations such as the Girl Scouts serve the needs of girls.

Q. Is the BSA giving consideration to changing its position on registering girls?

    There are no plans to restructure Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting to allow for the registration of girls.

Q. What harm would there be in admitting girls in Boy Scouting and Cub Scouting?

    The BSA was created and developed to serve boys. Our intention is to help young boys become personal, professional and civic leaders. That is what our program is designed to do.
     

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