Cheyenne, Wyo. - Wyoming U.S. Senator Mike Enzi is a distinguished member of the Boy Scouts of America, having earned their highest rank (Eagle Scout) back in 1957.
Sen. Enzi sent CBS Newschannel 5 a statement on the BSA’s recent decision to allow girls to join their ranks, starting in 2018.
“I appreciate the Boy Scouts of America expanding opportunities for girls to participate in more of the great programs that so many others have benefited from,” Sen. Enzi said. “As an Eagle Scout myself, I understand these programs provide great opportunities for our children to learn important skills, build character and learn the responsibilities that prepares them to be great citizens and leaders that they might not learn anywhere else.”
Under the plan, Cub Scout dens — the smallest unit — will be single-gender, either all-boys or all-girls. The larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to remain single gender or welcome both genders. The program for older girls is expected to start in 2019 and will enable girls to earn the coveted rank of Eagle Scout.
"The values of Scouting — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example — are important for both young men and women," said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA's chief scout executive.
The Girl Scouts of the USA criticized the initiative, saying it strained the century-old bond between the two organizations. Girl Scout officials have suggested the BSA's move was driven partly by financial problems and a need to boost revenue.
As of March, GSUSA reported 1,566,671 youth members and 749,008 adult members, down from just over 2 million youth members and about 800,000 adult members in 2014. The Boy Scouts say current youth participation is about 2.35 million, down from 2.6 million in 2013 and more than 4 million in peak years of the past.