1200 WOAI revealed last week that the local Boy Scouts will begin admitting girls into Cub Scout dens next month. Now the local Girl Scouts are responding, and they are not pleased.
Stephanie Finleon Cortez, who is the Chief Development Officer for the Girl Scout Council of Southwest Texas, says the Girl Scouts, and not the Boy Scouts, are the experts on what is best for girls.
"As a national movement, we are disappointed that Boy Scouts and made this decision," she said. "We have both been in existence as separate organizations for more than 100 years with a very collaborative relationship. But Girl Scouts is the expert on the growth and development of girls."
The Boy Scouts says it made the decision to admit girls to Cub Scout dens, and eventually to Boy Scout troops, not to compete against the Girl Scouts, but because today's parents are so stressed out, it would simply be more convenient for them to be able to drop both their sons and daughters off at one point for meetings and events.
Finleon Cortez says the Girl Scouts don't see it that way.
"If girls start joining Boy Scouts, which is an organization designed for boys, our girls will not be the center and the focus of that organization," she said. "Instead they will become what girls are in every collective organization, and that is an afterthought."
She is also worried that if moms volunteer to be Boy Scout den leaders, that will inevitably cost the Girl Scouts the adult women leaders and role models which have made Girl Scouts successful in mentoring young women.
"Most of our volunteers are parents of our girl members. Parents are very busy. But if you start a program that requires twice as many volunteers, that's not going to happen. You won't have nearly enough volunteers."
The Boy Scouts say the girls will remain in separate single-gender dens in most cases, but will participate with boys in activities and ceremonies.
Finleon Cortez says the problem is that girls have a tendency to be, in many cases, marginalized when boys are present, and she's afraid that girls won't get the full measure of attention, training, and activities in the Boy Scouts which are currently available in the Girl Scouts.