WASHINGTON TIMES – Washington, D.C., marked the end — and the beginning — of an era this weekend when the Boy Scouts of America established its first all-girl troops in the nation’s capital.
Now known as Scouts BSA, the organization — which celebrates its 109th birthday on Friday — has begun welcoming girls in a rebranding effort amid dwindling membership, sex abuse scandals and criticism from the equally venerable Girl Scouts of the USA.
In the District, nearly 30 troops with an estimated 200 girls took the Scout pledge on Saturday. Across the country, thousands of girls have entered the scouting program since Friday, becoming eligible to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout — a distinction that signifies years of participation and success in leadership, civic duty and self-reliance.
“Our goal is to help families instill confidence and good judgment in these young girls,” said Craig Burkhardt, the scoutmaster for the District’s newly formed Scouts BSA Troop 248, which held its inauguration ceremony Saturday.
For Caroline Hurley of the District, an inclusive Boy Scouts allows both of her 13-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, to be in the program, albeit in separate troops. It also provides weekend activities that her daughter lost when the local Girl Scout program disbanded.