All This 15-Year-Old Girl Wants Is to Be a Boy Scout -- and We Are So for It

Boy scouts of America

At 15, there are a ton of things you ask for -- your own phone line (er, smartphone), a car for your 16th birthday, and permission to stay out past 11. That's why it's actually pretty awesome that one New York teen is asking for something so simple, yet so powerful -- Sydney Ireland is asking the Boy Scouts of America to make her an official member of her brother's troop, so that she can receive recognition for the same awards and challenges that her male troop members get. 

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The BSA has a charter, from when they first began in 1910, that won't allow girls to enlist. However, Sydney has been participating and holding her own meetings alongside the boys as an unofficial member of the Long Island troop. But she's not willing to blithely sit on the sidelines, and she started a petition circulating that currently has over 5,000 signatures

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She told the the Huffington Post: "It was created in 1916 before women were allowed to vote in 1920, so they're just a little behind. Really, their only argument is the charter."

At first, I found myself wondering why a young woman wants to join the Boy Scouts, since the Girl Scouts give out fun awards, too. However, after a little thought, I realized therein lies the problem. The Girl Scouts is all about sweet old fun -- you're forced to partake in dainty activities based on a sexist notion that we can't do or enjoy all that boys do.

As a former member of the Girl Scouts, I recall doing lots of fun stuff outside of making cookie sales, but there was nothing really and truly thought-provoking going on behind the scenes; at best, it was a good time with friends with some community service peppered in.

The Boy Scouts have an entire itinerary of actual challenges that teach them skill sets aside from pushing cookies with adorable looks. To get the coveted Eagle Scout rank -- the highest in the Boy Scouts -- you need to earn Merit Badges in camping, cooking, cycling, hiking, or swimming, communications, and emergency preparedness. 

Boy Scouts aren't restricted from doing things based on their sex. So, there's absolutely no denying that Girl Scouts are being challenged less, and therefore given fewer opportunities than their male counterparts are.

Sydney begs a good question: "If the Venturing program is so similar, why can't they be the same program?" Why? Exactly. 

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Sure, these traditions and activities were thought of a hundred years ago, but that's all the more reason for Sydney's push to gain the same credibility as boys -- the credit that will allow her to achieve the highest ranking of Eagle Scout.

And that's a goal that I'm all for. 

 

 

Image via iStock.com/gloch

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