Should the Boy Scouts Be Coed?

Should the Boy Scouts Be Coed?

Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts in May saluting at a Memorial Day ceremony in Michigan. On Wednesday, the organization announced that it would accept girls into the Cub Scouts. Credit Jake May/Flint, via Associated Press

Are you or have you ever been a part of a single-sex club, team, organization or school? If so, what did you like or dislike about it? What did you learn from it? How did that experience compare with being in a coed setting?

If not, would you like to join a single-sex club, team, organization or school? Why or why not?

In “Boy Scouts Will Accept Girls, in Bid to ‘Shape the Next Generation of Leaders’,” Julie Bosman and Niraj Chokshi write:

The Boy Scouts of America announced plans on Wednesday to broadly accept girls, marking a historic shift for the century-old organization and setting off a debate about where girls better learn how to be leaders.

The Boy Scouts, which has seen dwindling membership numbers in recent decades, said that its programs could nurture girls as well as boys, and that the switch would make life easier for busy parents, who might prefer to shuttle children to a single organization regardless of gender.

“I’ve seen nothing that develops leadership skills and discipline like this organization,” said Randall Stephenson, the group’s national board chairman. “It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls.”

The decision was celebrated by many women, but criticized by the Girl Scouts, which said that girls flourish in all-female groups.

“We’ve had 105 years of supporting girls and a girl-only safe space,” said Lisa Margosian, chief customer officer for the Girl Scouts, who added that the organization felt “blindsided” by the announcement. “So much of a girl’s life is a life where she is in a coed environment, and we have so much research and data that suggests that girls really thrive in an environment where they can experiment, take risk and stretch themselves in the company of other girls.”

Students: Read the entire article, then tell us:

—What are some of the arguments for and against girls joining the Boy Scouts? Do you think the Boy Scouts should be a coed organization? Or do “boys need time to be boys and girls need time to be girls”?

—The Girl Scouts say that girls particularly need all-female organizations to really thrive and flourish. Do you agree? Why or why not?

—What opportunities might be available for girls and boys in a coed Boy Scouts organization? What challenges might they encounter?

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