This fall, girls will have the option to join Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts. This change raises some questions on what the difference between the two are. For starters, boys aren't the only ones getting their hands dirty.
"It's a common misconception that Girl Scouts are doing crafts and they're not doing other hands-on or rugged activities and that's absolutely not true. Right from the beginning in 1918, one of the badges was a mechanics badge, so girls have always been makers, they get dirty, we have camp programs," said Alison Wilcox, Girl Scouts WNY chief operating officer. "We've known for over 100 years that the world is a better place when girls can take the lead and more than ever there is so much attention right now on the need for women in leadership."
But even with this new option, scout leaders in Western New York don't think girls will switch over.
"I don't expect that I'm going to see a lot of girls from Girl Scouts that are going to want to come and join the programs of the Boy Scouts of America, that's really not what it's about. What we feel our responsibility is is to make the scouting program available to anyone that cares to participate," said Russell Etzenhouser, Greater Niagara Frontier Council BSA scout executive.
The Boy Scouts won't change any of their programs to tailor to the girls who will join. Girl Scouts however have been designed to benefit girls in the best way it can.
"What's really true is that Girl Scouts is more relevant than we ever have been and we're really in a great position because we have been focusing for years on adapting to girls’ changing needs. 30 years ago she might have just learned about a new thing called a floppy disk and today she's learning how to program a computer," said Wilcox.
Both girls and boys programs are designed to reach kids at a young age, and instill leadership skills for years to come. And now when girls are being encouraged to speak up more than ever, having programs like these are critical.
"We think that with the discourse that's in the public today that it's just even more apparent that we have to reach those girls right at the age of kindergarten and just help her be the best she can be,” said Wilcox.