SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — As the Boy Scouts begin to recruit girls, the Girl Scouts of Northern California are stressing the specific, researched-based way that the Girl Scouts go about building confidence and leadership identity in girls.
In a public letter on Wednesday, Marina Park, the CEO of Girl Scouts of Northern California, set out to dispel confusion that has arisen since the Boy Scouts began their efforts to recruit girls.
Park says in the letter that community members have reported instances where the Boy Scouts have allegedly “convinced schools that they no longer need to provide meeting space or recruitment nights for Girl Scouts.”
The Girl Scout program, Park writes, is based on years of research about girls’ development,
She said the program is designed to “inoculate girls against the constant drum of media that tells them they must be perfect and sexually desirable” as well as close the confidence gap, develop leadership skills, and to help girls learn how to stand up to peer pressure and bullies.
Park says she is supportive of girls and their families who choose to join the Boy Scouts, but says she wants to make sure families know the differences in both programs.
Kenneth C. Mehlhorn with the Boy Scouts of America/San Francisco Bay Area Council said in a statement: “The Girl Scouts’ renowned program has helped empower generations of young women. We celebrate the Girl Scouts, as we do all our organizations that build character among young people … we believe there is room and need for all of our organizations to succeed.”
Mehlhorn said, “There are over 70 million children in America that could benefit from any character-building program, and today, organizations like ours and others only serve a fraction of them. That is a huge unmet need, but one we can help address by continuing to provide families and young people with incredible life experiences that build character and Leadership.”