The rule of having to be a boy in order to be an official Boy Scout just doesn’t seem fair to one New York teen who has been tagging along with her brother to den meetings since she was 4 years old. Sydney Ireland, 16, is now working to change the Boy Scouts of America’s mind about allowing girls into the traditionally boys-only club.
NPR reports about Sydney’s story and how she wishes to change Boy Scout policies and one day become a full-fledged Eagle Scout. At 4 years old, Sydney joined her older brother at Cub Scout meetings and was allowed to take part in scout activities. From that day forward, she was hooked but also disappointed to learn she could not earn merit badges of advance in rank with the boys around her.
And when asked why she doesn’t just join the Girl Scouts, Sydney points out that she is more interested in learning skills and taking part in the same activities as the Boy Scouts. In truth, they are completely different and separate private organizations. The “Chief Girl Expert”, Andrea Bastiani Archibald of Girl Scouts of America points out the differences. She says, “No, we're not meant to be the girl equivalent of the Boy Scouts.” She also points out that if Girl Scout activities don’t feel right to someone - “I really laud their parents and those girls for finding space that is.”
Through the years, Sydney has written letters, opinion pieces and even has more than 7,000 signatures on a Change.org petition. On the petition’s website Sydney explains, “I am determined to be an Eagle Scout. It isn’t just a hobby, it’s access to some of the best leadership training there is. According to the BSA, over half of all astronauts were involved in Scouting and 16.3% of West Point cadets are Eagle Scouts. Of the current Congress, 191 members were involved in Scouting, 18 current U.S. governors participated in Scouting, and many of them are Eagle Scouts. The facts say it all -- high-level Scouting creates opportunity, and with opportunity comes a chance at success in the global community.”
Sydney has been so determined in fact that she has even joined co-ed scout programs outside the country to obtain the skills she sought. She is currently a full dues-paying member of a co-ed troop in Ontario, Canada where she has earned Chief Scout's Award. This award is the scout’s highest honor and earned her a badge and a letter from the country’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
What do you think of this teen’s efforts to change Boy Scout policies in order to allow girls to join troops?
Do you think scouting should be co-ed in the U.S.?