WASHINGTON - A day after the Boy Scouts of America announced it will admit girls starting in 2018, the Girl Scouts of the USA are responding.
In a statement Thursday, Girl Scouts Nation's Capital CEO Lidia Soto-Harmon wrote:
Today our movement faces new competition, but we stand behind the value of Girl Scouting. For over a century, we have provided millions of girls with a safe space to take risks, seek challenges and develop the resilience and grit to be successful. To meet the unique needs and interests of today's girls, with the support of our dedicated volunteers, families and partners, we offer girls hands-on experiences in the outdoors, STEM, and entrepreneurship and the opportunity to develop invaluable life skills.
We are girl experts, proven by the outcomes: Girl Scouts develops positive values, a strong sense of self, healthy relationships, and a commitment to community service.
We know girls thrive in an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment. We are the best leadership development program for girls in the world. We're committed to preparing the next generation of women leaders, and we're here to stay.
Soto-Harmon also cited 90 percent of female astronauts, 75 percent of female senators and 70 percent of female tech leaders who were Girl Scouts growing up.
In addition to allowing girls in next year, the Boy Scouts will develop a program for older girls as well as have a pathway to earn the organization's highest rank of Eagle Scout starting in 2019.
But Soto-Harmon believes there is a misconception about what is available in the Girl Scouts. The organization's highest honor is the Gold Award, similar to an Eagle Scout honor.
The Boy Scouts has undergone several changes in the last five years that includes accepting openly gay youth members and adult volunteers as well as transgender boys.