The Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts of America may seem like two peas in a color coordinated, badge-earning pod, but a letter from the Girl Scouts board reveals the two organizations aren’t exactly getting along. The letter accuses the Boy Scouts of America of “surreptitiously testing the appeal of a girls’ offering to millennial parents.” The letter also called out the Boy Scouts for making “disparaging and untrue remarks” about the Girl Scouts in order to make its proposed programs for girls more appealing to parents.
This surprising feud primarily centers around the notion that the Boy Scouts are trying to build momentum around the idea of their organization being the home to both boys and girls. Despite having 2.7 million members across the country, the BSA still sees the potential in becoming the go-to organization for young girls as well, especially considering that the Girl Scouts have approximately 1.8 million active members.
In response to this idea, the Girl Scouts board said the Boy Scouts should focus less on recruiting girls and “instead take steps to ensure that they are expanding the scope of their programming to all boys, including those who BSA has historically underserved and underrepresented, such as African American and Latino boys.”
The letter also referenced the necessity of “single gender programming” when it comes to scouting, calling the BSA reckless for “thinking that running a program specifically tailored to boys can simply be translated to girls.” This, of course, is a complicated topic, as many have disputed the idea that “single gender programming” is as effective as organizations like the Girl Scouts often claim. Several feminist organizations have even called out the Boy Scouts for not offering more opportunities for girls.
Whether or not the Boy Scouts of America is truly planning to poach membership from the Girl Scouts remains to be seen. But this letter shows a clear, growing rift between these two organizations that have been so often linked.