Boy Scouts are being pushed to take down the "No Girls Allowed" sign
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) are now letting gay and transgender boys become members. But there is still another group that wants to join the BSA. Girls.
Girls want to join troops too, so they can have the chance to be an Eagle Scout. That is the highest level in scouting.
Just last week, the National Organization for Women (NOW) asked the 106-year-old Boys Scouts to allow girls to join. NOW said it supports the efforts of a 15-year-old New York City girl, Sydney Ireland. She wants to be an Eagle scout like her older brother, Bryan.
NOW President Terry O'Neill said that women can now fight in the military. Women have important jobs in the government, universities, business and entertainment. "It's long past due that girls have equal opportunities in Scouting," she said.
Girls: Keep Out
For now, it appears the Boy Scouts are not changing. A BSA leader said that they already have some boy-girl programs. These are Venturing and Sea Scouts. They feel the boys-only programs are a most important part of the BSA.
In 1995, a California girl tried to join the Boy Scouts. The California Supreme Court said the organization could set its own membership rules. In 2015, a group of girls in Northern California formed their own scout troop called the Unicorns. They tried to become part of the BSA but failed.
Sydney has posted a petition on Change.org. She also appeared in an online video. It has had more than 2.6 million views. After making many 400-mile road trips to London, Ontario, she has become a member of Scouts Canada. This group has allowed girls since 1998.
"Boy Scouts Should Allow Everyone In"
For several years, Sydney has been part of many of the activities in her brother's troop. These include camping, first aid, helping people in need, cooking, or learning how to save and spend money. These activities earn merit badges for the scouts. Having more than 21 badges makes one an Eagle Scout. However, Sydney can not earn these badges.
Sydney says she does not want to be a Girl Scout. The Girl Scouts began in 1912 and is for girls only. "The Girl Scouts is great for some people," she said. "But the Boy Scouts should allow everyone in. I want that kind of experience."
Girl Scouts Leader Says Boys' Group Is Not Better
Sydney's Change.org petition has more than 6,400 supporters. Sydney notes that being an Eagle Scout is a huge honor. Many astronauts, senators and business leaders have been Eagle Scouts. The BSA proudly states it is "recognized across the country and even the world."
The Girl Scouts believe their Gold Award is equal to the Eagle Scout badge.
"It's unfortunate that some people still consider belonging to a male membership organization superior to belonging to a female one," a leader of the Girl Scouts said.
However, in New York, the president of NOW said: "We feel the timing is right to be talking about this. There's a huge value in bringing boys and girls together to work in teams."