Do You Know About These Female Trail Blazers?
As March comes to an end we’ve gotten to see a lot of great discussions related to Women’s History Month. It is important to honor the past and better understand women’s contributions to our country and the world. It also is relevant to acknowledge the young ladies that haven’t yet had their opportunity to make major contributions, but are currently trail blazing new paths.
To be honest, this article took a bit for me to put together. I’m of a generation that is still learning. We’ve come a long way, but the discussions on the topic are rife with landmines and topics that can inadvertently offend. And the organization I’m writing about can even be controversial for some. So I ask if any of my comments miss the key points or offend, please reach out to me directly and let’s have a discussion! I am open to learning more. The last thing I want to do is hurt someone’s feelings or share things in the wrong way.
In 2018, BSA expanded their program to welcome girls into their many programs. I grew up with Scouting and have been involved with a leadership role for quite a few years. I also know that I’m naive about the Girl Scout Program. Certainly though I’ve seen my son and his peers go through some great experiences as they’ve learned on a large number of topics. They’ve also learned leadership and self-reliance in some impressive ways. Last year for our annual NOVA weekend (think STEM) we had several young ladies join our event and participate, which was exciting. And this month it was exciting to see several young girls participate in the annual Pinewood Derby.
All of them got to experience designing and building a car. This gives them great time with their parent or guardian, as well as learning about several tools and techniques to work with wood. And I know a good number of the young women in this photo will earn Eagle some day.
I’ve gotten to work with several young individuals that seemed to stand out as being more dependable. People that went the extra mile and got more done. They stood out from their peers as being more capable. Eventually through conversations I learned that they had been in BSA, and had earned Eagle. It is exciting to see the families of these ladies see the value of the BSA Scouting program. Depending on where you get your numbers, it is only 4 to 6% of those that start Scouting that actually earn the rank of Eagle. I’ve got a feeling that a larger percentage of Pack 45 will earn Eagle. They will get to see how the work and experiences benefits them. Like so many Scouts I’ve interacted with, the pattern will repeat. Some day they’ll get their children involved with Scouting.
As I said, I am naive about the Girl Scouting Program. And there have been some that have made the claim that BSA opened the program to girls because of declining memberships. Personally I am skeptical of this claim. The year 2017 was the 4th largest year when it comes to Scouts achieving Eagle. At over 55,000 for the year they’d almost fill Dodger Stadium!
I look at it as the program is recognized for what it does. I also commend the BSA organization for taking on the challenges that these changes bring. For those that aren’t aware, there is a lot of regular training that goes on around youth protection and disability awareness. There is new training that has been added because of this evolution. This change to BSA was not simple and will have some growing pains. But in the end, more youth will have amazing opportunities to gain new skills and enhance their leadership talents!
Regardless of gender, if you are thinking about BSA for your child, reach out to me. I’m happy to share some pointers of what you can do to help them achieve Eagle! And if you don’t have children in your life, look at the long list of merit badges. The Council in your area could always use more merit badge counselors. It is an amazing opportunity to share your knowledge of things like Salesmanship, Entrepreneurship and American Business.