Senior splits adventures with both Boy, Girl scouts

By: Amna Haider

Senior Sam Hanson is a Girl Scout and an Adventure Scout.

“I started Girl Scouts when I was in the first grade. I have been in Girl Scouts for most of my life,” she said. Hanson had always enjoyed being a part of Girls Scouts, but she had to step away in seventh grade because she lost interest. “I took a break because they were only doing arts and crafts. I felt like I was wasting my time in this church basement making candles. Once, when I looked out the windows, the Boy Scouts were playing kick ball. I thought I could be outside with my friends, but when I asked to join them, the Girl Scouts leaders said that I would get my feelings hurt when the boys wouldn’t include me ’cause I was a girl,” Hanson said.

She took a break from Girl Scouts, but joined again after a short amount of time. “I still felt like I wasn’t able to give my all. We did have a few meetings, but during bridging ceremonies I got a bag full of badges that I didn’t really earn,” Hanson said.

Hanson was introduced to Boy Scouts once again when she was dropping her younger brother, Max, off to one of the meetings. “I would drive him to meetings at his elementary school, and it so happens that all of my close family friends that I go camping with were having their Boy Scouts meetings at the same time, so I sat in with them for a meeting, and I really enjoyed how formal it was and them really taking on leadership roles by discussing service projects,” Hanson said.

She was intrigued by this new environment. It was so dissimilar to what she did during Girl Scouts. “I really wanted to be a part of this small group of my guy friends and help out with the service project, so the next week rolled around and I dropped Max off at his group, and I went inside. When I got to the meeting, all of my friends thought it was cool that I stopped by,” Hanson said.

During the meeting, she sat by the side, just listening to what everyone had to say. She didn’t offer up anything during the meeting because she was so fascinated by the projects. Hanson felt welcomed when she entered the meeting, but that welcoming feeling did not last long. “I sat through the whole meeting not saying anything and just taking in this whole new experience I wished I had when I was younger, but during the entire thing the adults kept staring at me and giving me glares. Yes, I understand I wasn’t invited, but I was best friends with all the boys. Most of the leaders sat around countless fire rings with my parents when we were camping, but right when I sat with them around folding tables to talk about doing good for the community, they wanted me out,” Hanson said.

After the meeting concluded, the leaders approached Hanson and suggested that she should not come, but instead should just watch her brother at his group. “I was honestly hurt because they didn’t want me to join them or even sit in. If I was a guy, they would have recruited me and invited me on trips. Yes, Boy Scouts is about making boys into men, but couldn’t they make girls into leaders? The curriculum should not be about a person’s sex. It should be about being leaders and serving our best potential,” she said.

During the summer before freshman year, Hanson heard about the Eagle Claw trip, a youth leadership backpacking trip organized through Boy Scouts. She learned that the only way for a girl to go on the trip is if she is an Adventure Scout.

“It was amazing to go on a Boy Scout Trip that girls and guys could enjoy without a clear separation of gender,” she said.

There were strict guidelines to girls’ tents and boys’ tents and how they needed the buddy system, but other than that, they didn’t spend time talking or thinking about how the participants included girls as well as boys.

“During the trip, the girls didn’t whine when they hiked, and they didn’t whine when they had to do intense trail work, which entails cutting down trees so there is a safe passage to walk through on the trail,” Hanson said. The trip helped root her opinion on how Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts should work. “Working side by side with boys and girls all doing something so impactful just really opened my eyes, and I wondered why we didn’t have more trips that were coed,” Hanson said.

Hanson is currently a senior patrol leader of the Eagle Claw trip. This position allows her to help the adult staff lead the trip. She said she believes “this trip would be amazing for anyone, Boy Scout, Girl Scout or anyone who wants to join. They can easily become an Adventure Scout like me.”

She would be glad to help anyone who would like to join whether they are a scout or not. Although she joined Adventure Scouts because she wanted to attend the Eagle Claw trip, she has come to appreciate it.

“I am still the only Girl Scouts in my troop,” she said. Hanson attends Girl Scouts meetings from time to time, consulting with her troop leader who helps her with school and preparing for college.

She is still very active in Girl Scouts. Hanson said she believes that Girl Scouts is about empowerment, and, in contrast, Boy Scouts is about service. “I think that all the teachings are based on being a leader in a group and believing in yourself and that you can take the lessons you learned and become a successful woman,” Hanson said.

She believes the handouts given to the two groups contradict the goals set. “The books you get are a lot of fluff compared to the Boy Scout handout. For example, the girls’ books tell us we are a butterfly, fragile but strong. And that we, like a butterfly, can create massive change within ourselves. In the boy’s handout, they don’t compare the boys to an insect. Instead, they compare them to mountaineers or presidents, and I think they maybe unknowingly subject kids to sexism,” Hanson said.

She said she is grateful to be a part of Girls Scouts but notices flaws along with it’s perks. “Empowerment among women is a huge thing. I think it’s important to have a huge support system, but in the handout books, it makes it seem like we are successful, but we need the support of other women to get there,” she said. “I believe Girl Scouts are amazing. I just think it’s time to mix the groups together in a lot of areas. There’s no reason that our anatomy should hold us back from being able to learn and enjoy life.”

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