I believe more Scouting is always better and I believe in abundance. The effort to end the ban on gay scouts and leaders is how I came to join the ranks of the registered volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America. My husband and I couldn’t reason with two first-grade boys about why they could not do what they wanted — to participate in Scouts — and we couldn’t tell them in fifth grade that we just kept participating even though we knew the organization discriminated against gay people, people we know and love.

The entire BSA policy turned around on this issue within three years, including a fairly quick response to a young transgendered Cub Scout who had been kicked out.

There were surveys, petitions, letters written to councils and national leaders, imploring them to stop discrimination against girls.

Another year later, after many have been asking, the CEO of the BSA announced that the Cub Scout program will accept girls in 2018 and in troops in 2019. At the troop age, girls have been registering for many years in Venturing, Sea Scouts, Exploring Posts and Varsity Scouts. Although boys with dual registration in a troop and in a Venturing Crew could earn both Eagle Scout rank and the Summit Award (Venturing’s highest award), a girl could not.

My sons asked me why girls could register in Cub Scouts and boys could not register in Girl Scouts. I told them that the rest of the world is basically built for them and this was a situation where girls can choose either one or both and they cannot, and I’m OK with that.

I believe that the increase in awareness will bring greater awareness to both programs. Two of my four registered girls are also registered in Girl Scouts, and I am thrilled about that and will continue to encourage them to follow both.

I will also continue to work with friends in the Girl Scout organization to co-promote and grow both programs. I am truly pleased that girls and young women will have a choice to do either one or both. 

GSUSA has had a long tradition of being open to all; the BSA had work to do in that area and many of us are doing that work!

Cate Readling

Oak Park

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