Amarillo residents react to Boy Scouts allowing girls
AMARILLO, Texas —
The Boy Scouts of America made a major announcement Wednesday.
The historically all-male organization will let girls into some of its programs as early as Fall 2018.
The group will also establish a new program in 2019 for girls wanting to earn the coveted rank of Eagle Scout.
The organizations smallest units called cub scout dens will be single-gender, but cub scouts packs will have the option to welcome both genders.
For more than 100 years, The Boy Scouts of America has helped build future leaders, according to their website.
Now they're expanding and allowing girls into certain programs starting next year.
Folks in the Texas Panhandle have concerns about the decision to allow girls into the Boy Scouts of America.
Proper adult supervision is just one of them.
“I think maybe people would be concerned about sleeping arrangements,” said Amarillo resident Cyndy Young. “If boys and girls were housed together and things of that nature. As long as there's some separation, some segregation from the two sexes and there was adequate supervision to maintain those issues.”
But according to Scout Executive Phillip Shipley, 26 of the nearly 100 charters within the Golden Spread Council have had co-ed activities in the Venturing and Exploring program for decades now.
“You have just as many little girls that want to join because they want to do the outdoors activities,” said Shipley. “Cub Scouting doesn't need to be gender based. It needs to be a program for all of our kids because it's teaching them leadership skills and it's teaching them morals and ethics.”
Shipley tells ABC 7 News the change is the perfect way to include all members of the family and help make life easier on parents.
“You have parents a lot of times who have to make the decision of where they're going to take their child or children and they're pulled in different directions,” said Shipley.
“I think it would be definitely more opportunity for them being more diversified and they'd be able to participate in more opportunities than they currently are so that would be good,” said Young.
“A lot of people are having kids closer together in age, so you have maybe an older brother that's barely a year older than the sister and they could be really close,” said Amarillo resident Jacob Pearson.
Shipley said he anticipates some of the charters within the golden spread council will welcome the change, while others will choose to remain single-gendered.
Residents question what will happen with other groups in the future.
“My only question is, are they letting boys in the Girl Scouts. I guess that would only be fair. Just call it scouts,” said Pearson.
ABC 7 News reached out to the Girl Scouts of the Texas-Oklahoma Plains headquartered in Fort Worth on their input on Wednesday’s announcement from the Boy Scouts.
Becky Burton, CEO of Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains, said “We don’t comment about the policy decisions of other organizations, but I can tell you that Girl Scouts is, and will continue to be, the best leadership experience in the world for girls.”
Burton added, “The single-gender environment we offer at girl scouts creates an inclusive, safe space where girls are free to explore their potential and take the lead without the distractions or pressures that can be found in a coed environment."
The Golden Spread Council covers the top 23 counties in the Texas panhandle and three counties across the Oklahoma panhandle.
Shipley said with 157 units, there are plenty of other troops kids can join if they would like to change once the final decisions are made.