LDS Church responds after Boy Scouts vote to admit girls

Utah LGBT Rights Group Submits Application for BSA Charter
Photo: Intellectual Reserve

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 11, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was quick to respond after the Boy Scouts of America’s board of directors voted unanimously to admit girls into the Cub Scout program.

“The Activity Days and Personal Progress programs of the Church have long been in place to meet the needs of girls and young women in these age groups, and no change will be made in Church programs,” LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins in a statement released immediately after news broke of the BSA vote.

“We recognize that the desire of the BSA is to expand their programs to serve more young people in the United States. The Church, too, continues to look at ways to serve the needs of our youth worldwide.”

The BSA announced its policy change on Wednesday morning, and said the organization also will forge a path for older girls to pursue and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.

A BSA statement the decision to include girls comes after years of requests from parents, after researching the issue, and after gathering input form current BSU members and leaders.

Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s chief scout executive, said reinforcing positive character traits is important for everyone.

“The values of Scouting — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example — are important for both young men and women,” he said.

“We strive to bring what our organization does best – developing character and leadership for young people – to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders.”

In 2015, the relationship between the LDS Church and the Boy Scouts became strained after the BSA ended its longstanding ban on gay scout leaders. After consideration, the Church announced it would remain a sponsoring member of the BSA, although it would make its own decisions about who to appoint as scout leaders.

According to recent surveys by the Boy Scouts of America, parents not involved with Scouting showed high interest in getting their daughters signed up for programs like Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, with 90 percent expressing interest in a program like Cub Scouts, and 87 percent expressing interest in a program like Boy Scouts, the organization said.

The admission of girls to the Cub Scout program will being in 2018. Existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a mixed gender pack, or remain an all-boy pack.  Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls.

More details about a program for older girls, which will the same curriculum as the boys program, will be announced next year.

The BSA has nearly 2.3 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and approximately 960,000 volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Of course most families are interested in scouting! And for their girls, Girl Scouts has been the solid and dependable way to build their character and values for over 100 years. Folks who pigeon-hole Girl Scouts as cookie sellers are being short sighted and narrow minded. With pillars in Outdoors, STEM, Financial Literacy, and Life Skills, the Girl Scouts also has major programs to teaching leadership and love of country to girls. Camping? Check. Archery and riflery? Check. Woodworking, mechanics? Check, check. And FYI, our “Eagle Scout” level award is the Gold Award–also over a 100 years old.
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    Fact is this: girls develop–mind and body–differently than boys do, and Girl Scouts’ programs are dedicated to meeting those developmental differences and needs. Gasp! It’s an organization that already lets your little girl shine! There’s no lumping them in young with or just beside boys and promising a future plan for older girls on the fly. Fact is also this: Boy Scouts’ membership has dropped sharply as its relationship with the LDS became strained. Rather than improve its own program to appeal to the needs of boys and the needs of the single largest group that comprised Boy Scouts (the LDS), Boy Scouts instead wants to poach from the Girl Scouts. That’s a real shame.

  2. So are the girl scouts going to let boys join? Seems fair if this world is truly equal opportunity.

    As far as my personal opinion, the BSA has lost my support.

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