‘Importance of Girl Scouts’

Girls Scouts say maintaining separate troops from boys is best

Local Girl Scouts leaders are looking seriously at the possibility of changing organizations.

When the Boy Scouts of America announced that the organization would welcome girls into some of its programs, leaders knew they could be stepping on toes.

There are already programs for girls. The Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania are one of those.

That organization issued a release highlighting “the importance of Girl Scouts” and explaining “why an all-girl, girl-led leadership experience is best.”

“Since its founding in 1912, Girl Scouts has focused 100 percent on girls and their healthy development,” according to the release. “Only Girl Scouts brings a century’s worth of experience to creating research-backed, girl-approved methods and programs through the Girl Scout leadership experience.”

After receiving that release, local Girl Scouts Kinzua County Service Unit Secretary Darlene Albaugh spoke with Boy Scouts of America Chief Cornplanter Council District Executive Ernie Crawford about the possibilities.

Albaugh said the local service unit would consider shifting from the Girl Scouts organization to the Boy Scouts.

“I told him we have over 300 girls and very knowledgeable leaders that would be willing to do a pilot program for the Boy Scouts,” Albaugh said. “There are several of our girls who have brothers in Boy Scouts and tag along and do what their brothers are doing and really like the activities.”

“We would like to have the girls in separate troops from the boys, but were interested in being under their umbrella,” she said.

Maintaining separate troops for boys and girls would align with some of the positions in the Girl Scouts release.

“In Girl Scouts, girls feel empowered to speak up, to explore leadership roles, and to try new things without the distractions or pressures that can be found in a co-ed environment,” according to the release. “Studies by the Girl Scout Research Institute and other show that girls value girls-only ‘safe spaces’ where they can confide in trusted adults and other girls. These ‘safe spaces’ are possible because of the strong, caring role models who support and guide girls through every experience in Girl Scouting.”

“The successful outcomes of Girl Scouts are proven,” according to the release. “By choosing Girl Scouts, you’re investing in the best leadership experience for girls. They are the center of all we do and we will continue to make girls our priority, now and in the future.”