The Boy Scouts of America’s decision to begin allowing girls raises many questions for me. The first are practical. Despite the directive to allow separate dens at the Cub Scout level and forced separation at the Boy Scout level, it’s hard to imagine enough young girls joining Cub Scouts to fill a tiger troop on their own. The Boy Scouts have struggled with declining membership, experienced even by our local troop as we’ve increased recruitment efforts at local schools and community events. Recruiting a few girls across a wide age range seems more likely to yield mixed dens at the young ages, similar to my son’s Little League teams, which frequently had one or two girls in the mix.
Even if it remains separate at the den level, will full pack meetings continue to be separate? If so, it seems to cut into the argument that the program wants to be an inclusive one-stop-shop for busy parents with separate meetings to attend, award ceremonies to photograph, and weekend activities, even assuming they occur simultaneously. It either will require the same additional parenting time something like Girl Scouts requires, or require the busy families and single moms the Boy Scouts claim to be catering toward to be in two places at once. It seems likely, then, in the end, for more things to be combined than not, both for practical reasons and because everyone knows separate but equal really isn’t equal.