Girl Boy Scouts? Yes, There Are Girls in the Boy Scouts

boy-scouts-girlSometime in the 1960s, the Boy Scouts commissioned a study to determine why many boys started losing interest in Scouting when they entered their teen years. This study concluded that interest in Scouting was inversely proportional to interest in girls. Go figure.

(To be fair, the study reached several conclusions about how to keep older boys interested in Scouting. One of the conclusions was that “[c]oed participation . . . [was] necessary to attract young adults . . .”)

So in 1969, the Boy Scouts of America started allowing girls into the “Explorer Scout” program aimed at teenagers. The Explorer program still exists, but is split between the “Learning for Life” Exploring program focused on career development and the newer “Venturing Division” that is almost identical to the original Exploring program. Young women from 13 to 21 may participate in these co-ed BSA programs.

This is an important point to consider in light of what we now know about the Boy Scout’s history of child abuse by adult volunteers within Scouting. In 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court ordered the publication of approximately 1,250 “Perversion” files created by the BSA between 1965 and 1985, documenting accusations of sexual molestation of children by Scout volunteers. Records still exist concerning almost 5,000 cases of children abused by adult Scout leaders.

Child sex abuse in Scouting doesn’t only affect boys.

By the time the BSA opened its Explorer program to girls, the national office of the BSA had created thousands of “Ineligible Volunteer” or “Perversion” files documenting accusations of sexual attacks, abuse, and exploitation of Scouts by adult troop leaders and other volunteers. The BSA kept secret the contents of these files and the entire file system itself from all but a handful of regional and national paid Scout employees.

How sad that the girls who signed up for the Explorers, and their families, knew nothing of the Boy Scout’s confidential files or the dark secrets they contained. 

Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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