Boy Scout President Jim Turley: Speak Out Against Discrimination and Harassment of Girls
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I have been an unofficial member of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for 13 years and try my best to live by the Scout Oath and Law but as a girl, I am not eligible for official membership or recognition by the organization. In response,I helped to launch a movement of young women campaigning to be allowed into the organization and the Boy Scouts finally announced that they would begin to accept girls – 478 days after the announcement.
The Boy Scouts say they are ready to welcome girls and young women. Their actions do not support their words.
Last week, Boy Scout National Chair Jim Turley announced that the Boy Scouts will continue to ban girls until February 2019. I, and other young women, will also be denied all Rank Advancement and Merit Badges we have earned.
The final award earned by Boy Scouts is called the Eagle Scout, an internationally-recognized award which gives scouts access to many opportunities, including scholarships, and college acceptances. I am ready to complete my Eagle Project - connecting adoptable dogs with veterans and providing information on training of these pets so they can train as service or therapy dogs. For my Eagle Project, I am partnering with Bideawee shelter, for the event on Veteran's Day, November 11th.
Last year the BSA Chief Scout Executive encouraged me to keep earning Rank and Merit Badges and he said that I could be the first female Eagle Scout! I viewed Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh as a mentor and supporter. I worked hard. I was elected Senior Patrol Leader of a Troop - a Troop I cannot officially join. Why is he now telling me my work does not count?
If we allow the Boy Scouts to continue discriminating against girls – one of the few countries left in the organization which does – for this arbitrary and unnecessary period, I, and many young women will miss the chance to earn Eagle rank in time to include the honor with school applications and to support our applications for the World Scout Jamboree.
We fought to make the Boy Scouts more inclusive, and now they are punishing us for it.
Young women demonstrated enormous leadership in pushing the BSA to do the right thing and accept girls into the program. Because of this, girls will rise through the ranks and become Eagle Scouts alongside the best of the boys. All we need is the opportunity Mr. Turley.
If the Boy Scouts intend make girls feel welcome, the organization must not permit or ignore Harassment and Bullying of Young Women and Must Immediately Remove Adult Leaders Who Engage in Such Negative Behavior
Internet bullying and harassment of any kind, particularly by an adult leader, is unacceptable. Tell Mr. Turley, we deserve a safe program, free from harassment.
Tell BSA that accepting girls by 2019 is not enough – we deserve to be part of the Boy Scouts NOW and must have a SAFE SPACE.
Send an email to Mr. Turley respectfully asking him to allow girls to join the Boy Scouts now. Girls have worked just as hard for recognition and deserve to the same Rank Advancement and Merit Badges as anyone else. Please send to all email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
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