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‘If I were a boy'

Prince Frederick, MD - You would think the woods was on fire the way some people are reacting to the announcement this week by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) that as of next February they will be rebranded as Scouts BSA. The organization has already started allowing females into its Cub Scout program. It’s hard to tell if folks are more upset by the name change or the—until last October—unexpected co-ed aspect of the organization. I may not earn a merit badge for attempting to analyze this one but I’m willing to try.

Many of the upset people are declaring this is yet another example of American liberalism gone mad. Oh, but wait---there doesn’t seem to be a political agenda here. No liberal political action committee has threatened to withdraw its support of the Boy Scouts if they don’t accommodate females. If there was a major demonstration by feminists and other radicals pressuring the BSA to change its name, I missed it. No, sorry, you can’t really blame this on Obama. The fact is, this change came internally. Associated Press reported that association officials deny that this is a “misguided display of political correctness.” In fact, the chief Scout executive told AP the name change process was—much like scouting— “incredibly fun.”

Ken Aldrich, a Scout leader from Indiana was quoted in the Indy Star as having one simple message for change opponents—“Get over it! The Scout program is the finest youth program in the world and there’s no reason for it not to be coed.” Aldrich pointed out several other programs that have transitioned very successfully to coed.

It’s true, a majority of Americans, surveys show, are not in favor of this. America, the Ken Aldriches of BSA troops all across our nation are speaking out to you! “Get over it!” Not only are a majority of Americans panning this call, so are the leaders of the Girl Scouts of America. Last October when the pending name change was announced, the GSA issued a statement, declaring, “The Boy Scouts’ house is on fire” and labeled the recruiting of girls “adding accelerant.”

Blogger Bill Murphy Jr. called the name change “an epic fail.”  Murphy stated the new name is “comically passive aggressive” and added that a better choice would be Scouts USA.

The BSA is embarking on the controversial move due to declining membership. This is nothing new among America’s storied institutes. It wasn’t until the mid-1970s that service academies began enrolling women. Was that a bad move? All across the nation, a significant number of colleges and universities plus private high schools that had either been all male or all female transitioned to coeducation. They did it to survive. If anyone knows anything about survival skills it would be the Scouts—from their top notch adult leaders to their polished ranks.

This is a name-change, not a game-change. America should not be gender specific when it comes to hard core values. Young women are as capable of organizing and completing Eagle Scout projects as young men are. We’ve seen rebranding in all aspects of our society. It isn’t always easy to get used to but as time goes by we will forget that this ever was an issue.

As BSA becomes “Scouts BSA” our only hope is that male chivalry and tenets for being the perfect gentlemen don’t get tossed in the campfire along with the name “Boy Scouts.” Gentlemen, let’s hold the door open and let the ladies enter!

Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of TheBayNet.com management.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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