WICHITA, Kan. - Local Girl Scout leadership is reacting to the news that the Boy Scouts of America will start accepting girls beginning next year.
KFDI News spoke with Muriel Berry, Director of Communications for Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland. Berry says her initial reaction is one of disappointment.
"We would have preferred to have both national organizations sit down and really have a strong, robust conversation about how we can jointly serve families and continue to be experts in our primary gender areas." says Berry.
"It's a disappointing time when an organization goes ahead and makes this type of announcement without talking to the other organization that for years has had a formidable, wonderful partnership."
Berry says they were aware that the idea of including girls in Boy Scouts has been floated around for many years. She suspects the decision was prompted by declining memberships that all youth organizations have been experiencing.
Berry says that by including girls, the Boy Scouts could increase their numbers without having to change their infrastructure.
"They're merely going to add girls to their existing programs and therein lies the problem.: says Berry.
"We know we're experts in girl curriculum and how girls enjoy and need to learn and we don't feel it's fair to girls to put them in an environment where they are just simply treated as kind of tag alongs."
The Boy Scouts of America says that starting in 2018, they will begin accepting girls in the Cub Scout programs. Under the program, smallest units will remain single gender with either all boys or all girls, but larger packs can allow both if they choose.
The Boy Scouts say they are developing a program for girls beyond Cub Scouts that will mirror Boy Scouts. That program will not be introduced until 2019.