Local Girl Scouts leader reacts to Boy Scouts name change - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Local Girl Scouts leader reacts to Boy Scouts name change

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

There's reaction today from the head of the local Girl Scouts, who calls the Boy Scouts decision to change their name upsetting and sad.

As Western Mass News reported earlier this week, the Boy Scouts of America is changing their name to 'Scouts BSA.'   

The announcement comes ahead of another historic change in February, when the scouts will allow girls.  

Yesterday, we talked to the head of the local Boy Scouts. Today, the Girls Scouts got their opportunity.

The name change isn't a surprise.

Pattie Hallberg is the CEO of the Girls Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts.  Her reaction over the Boy Scouts name change and allowing girls into the Boy Scouts: "Mostly, I'm sad.  I'm sad that over 100 years of the Girls Scouts and the Boy Scouts, working maybe not together, but in tandem for the benefit of the youth of this country is really in jeopardy."

Hallberg told Western Mass News that boys and girls develop quite differently.  She said that the Girl Scouts focus specifically on the needs and development of girls, which is why they are still strictly female only.

"I'm sad for the boys.  I think that it's very important for boys to have a place for boys and very much for girls to have a place for girls, so the girls still have a place and the boys do not and I find that sad." Hallberg said.

The Boy Scouts said that changing their name and allowing girls is, in part,  a response to what many families have asked for: one place for both brother and sister.

"That makes you pause.  Families are making a decision for boys based on the program.  Are they making the decision for girls because it's convenient?  Girls are not a matter of convenience," Hallberg added.

The Boy Scouts also said that many girls are looking for more outdoor adventure, perhaps more than what the Girls Scouts offer. 

"So I believe it's a misperception.  We still camp, we still hike...and really have all the opportunities that Boy Scouts can have.  We maybe haven't said it enough or well enough," Hallberg explained.

Come February, when girls have the option of joining either, Hallberg said that it's a great opportunity for the Girl Scouts to promote what they are about and why they are still girls only.

Enrollment numbers for both organizations are down.  Recent reports show Boy Scout's are down by a third since 2000 to just more than two million members.  

Girl Scouts went from two million in 2013 to just over 1.5 million last year.

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