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Not ?My Grandfather?s Boy Scout Troop?: It?s Now for Girls, Too

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Eight all-girl troops have been fully formed in Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island and Westchester County, according to Boy Scout officials, and 20 other troops are in various stages of formation.It is the final phase of a decision made in 2017 to begin fully integrating girls into the organization — a progressive change in membership policy that began in New York last September when girls were accepted into Cub Scouts, a program for younger children. (By comparison, about 1.7 million girls across the country are active with the Girl Scouts, including more than 20,000 in New York City, according to a spokesman for the Girl Scouts of the USA.)The Boy Scouts of America’s 2017 policy shift was hailed by the organization as a way to shape new women leaders, but it was met with immediate backlash — including vocal opposition from within the 109-year-old institution and from the Girl Scouts, which saw it as an attempt to siphon off its members to offset declining Boy Scout enrollment. But Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts had been exclusively male.In 2018, about 77,000 girls under the age of 11 and their families joined Cub Scouts, including about 2,100 in New York City, during the first phase of the transition.“If we’re not going to embrace this change here in New York City, how is the rest of the country going to do that?” Mr. Draddy said.He said the change is a way to appeal to children who have never been exposed to scouting of any kind — not an effort to lure participants away from the Girl Scouts.“There’s plenty of girls, hundreds and thousands of girls, that might have nothing,” Mr. Draddy said. “But now we are.”Volunteer board and staff members, as part of a future outreach campaign, plan to use current membership data to map out neighborhoods in the New York City region that do not have active BSA troops, according to Mr. Draddy, in order to focus on recruitment in those areas.“We’re going to serve both girls and boys in 2019, 2020 and moving forward,” he said.

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