Addie Murray, a junior at UNC and former Girl Scout, said whenever she tells people she earned her Gold Award, she has to preface it by saying it is the equivalent of an Eagle Scout rank to a Boy Scout.
“It turns out that Gold Awards are actually harder to get than Eagle Scout awards because they have to be more hours and they have to be sustainable for years to come,” she said. “So it’s actually really unfortunate that people don’t recognize them as much.”
Murray said being in Girl Scouts taught her lessons in female empowerment and working with Title I schools in Charlotte for her Gold Award was probably more rewarding than if she had built a bench in a park.
She also said the decision to let girls into Boy Scouts makes sense, as it is more of an issue with how the programs are designed.
“You think of a Boy Scout and you think of someone who can help you in the wilderness — I didn’t get that from Girl Scouts," she said. "We set up a dog wash and made money, and we learned about sustainable agriculture and all that kind of stuff — so I think as a kid I definitely would have been more drawn to the activities Boy Scouts did.”
Gilmore said he would like to see Boy Scouts try to hold onto their membership by increasing the variety of their programming, standardizing it across troops and reaching populations that have been historically underserved.
"They don’t really teach about things that I find to be most pertinent now, which are like mental health, gender identity, sexual orientation, consent, racism, sexism, ableism, lots of things," he said.
Gilmore said Boy Scouts had a positive impact on his life, and he wants to see the organization change and progress.
"I hope that they take this implementation seriously and that it’s not just a membership grab," he said. "It being a membership grab is also really problematic considering the basis on which it’s doing so, the privilege that Boy Scouts have enjoyed for so long that so many people haven’t had access to.”