The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are experiencing big drops in membership, partly due to the pandemic, social trends, and controversies, while groups offering Christian alternatives see huge membership increases.
A Christian alternative to the Boy Scouts is “Trail Life USA,” which describes itself as a “Christ-centered, boy-focused, character leadership and adventure organization” and has seen its membership grow 70% in the last year with more than 30,000 members across all 50 states.
“The Boy Scouts kind of lost their way,” Trail Life USA CEO Mark Hancock told CBN News. “They were an organization that has given us presidents and senators and astronauts and community and civic leaders. They had a magic sauce; they had the magic for how to grow boys into good strong men.”
“But they began to abandon those traditions through the changes that they made over the last couple years, and I think the families said, ‘No, we want an organization that understands that boys and girls are different. We want our sons to be raised in an organization that’s male-focused, that helps them to understand and to be encouraged to grow into winning and godly men,”” Hancock continued.
“It’s who we are, and it’s really what makes us different,” Hancock added, noting the organization’s Christian influence. “If we cease to do that there’s no reason for us to exist. And we also in our hearts, we want to see the Kingdom grow. We want to see boys impacted for Christ.”
A Christian alternative to the Girl Scouts is “American Heritage Girls” which describes itself as “Christ-centered” which “differentiates us from other scouting organizations,” according to founder Patti Garibay. The organization has been operating for 26 years and all 50 states, as well as in 15 other countries.
“We always put God first in our attitude, integrity, everything about the creed,” Garibay says, “and our oath is centered around God and faith and just putting your trust in Him above all else.”
The Boy Scouts saw their membership drop from 1.97 million members in 2019 to roughly 1.12 million in 2020, a 43% drop in membership and a loss of roughly 850,000 members. During that same time, the Girl Scouts lost roughly 400,000 members going from 1.4 million down to a little over 1 million.
“Like many youth-serving organizations, we saw an overall decline in membership in 2020,” spokespersons for the boy and Girl Scouts told The Hill.
A variety of issues, for a number of years, have created controversy within the Boy Scouts ranging from opening the scouts to girls, gay youth, and adult leaders, as well as bankruptcy due to lawsuits, including allegations that many of the group’s leaders mistreated children, The Hill reported.