Have the Boy Scouts Jumped the Shark?

Lord Baden Powell, founder of the scouting movement, is too busy spinning in his grave to comment on my assertion that the Boys Scouts of America have just jumped the shark with their recent announcement that the Boys Scouts of America will soon be offering entry-level scouting programs for girls. Some of BSA’s upper level programs – Explorer and Venture Scouts – have had young women in them for years.

Robert Baden-Powell, 1896

On June 23, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq., into law.  Contrary to the sea change in the recent past, Title IX was not written to address sexual harassment and violence. When it was enacted its primary purpose was as a comprehensive federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. (The growth of women’s secondary and collegiate sports opportunities came about because of Title IX.)

Several entities were expressly exempt from Title IX, as long they did not receive any Federal financial assistance. These entities included Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian Association, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Camp Fire Girls as well as social fraternities and sororities. 

Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, Girl Scouts of the United States of America national president sent the letter to Randall Stephenson, the Boy Scouts of America’s national president, and the entire BSA board. She wrote, in part, We are confused as to why, rather than working to appeal to the 90 percent of boys who are not involved in BSA programs, you would choose to target girls.” My thoughts exactly.


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