My experience as a Girl Scout was short and bittersweet. When we moved to the suburbs from North Philadelphia in 1969, I was recruited by the local Brownie troop to make friends, earn badges, and sell cookies. I didn't last long at Troop 454, mostly because I didn't have the killer instinct to make my cookie quotas and the good-citizenship skills to avoid smashing my unsold cookie boxes in another Brownie's face after she taunted me about eating Thin Mints rather than selling them.
But memory has been kind — even if my fellow Brownie was not — and I don't regret the nine months, two weeks, three days, and four hours I spent wearing the Brownie jumper.
My recollections of the times spent with my brothers' Cub Scout troop are unambiguously happy. My mom was the neighborhood den mother, and we spent many afternoons creating Styrofoam replicas of Valley Forge, making model race cars for the Pinewood Derby, eating grilled cheese sandwiches, and rehearsing for plays I would write — like "Pocahontas Meets John Smith." In a prescient nod to future gender controversies, our Pocahontas was played by a gorgeous little boy who would have brightened any number of wigwams. He didn't care, we didn't care, and the show was reviewed glowingly (by me) in the News of Delaware County. Like Shakespeare, we stuck with an all-male cast.
I was reminded of this earlier this week when the Boy Scouts of America announced that it would accept girls as full-fledged members. This comes on the heels of the BSA's decision to allow gay scoutmasters, gay Scouts, and then transgender scouts into the fold. At this rate, it appears that membership in the human species might be optional in a not-too-distant future.