A select number of Christian Boy and Girl Scout alternatives report seeing a rise in attendance.
According to organizational leadership, both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts appear to be observing declines in membership. The Boy Scouts have seen their numbers drop from an estimated two million in 2019 to around one million in 2021. The Girl Scouts have seen a similar drop, going from 1.4 million to 1 million in that same period.
While a significant portion of this decline is attributable to the pandemic, the organizations have also been under legal and cultural scrutiny. In July, the Boy Scouts of America settled a lawsuit for $850 million with tens of thousands of men who were sexually abused. The Girl Scouts are facing similar cases, with members claiming to have been abused as well. Both organizations are also facing bankruptcy and changes in policy that will allow gay men and women to hold positions of authority in the organizations.
This has inspired many families to seek alternatives to the Scouts. One such option, the Christian scout program Trail Life USA, has reportedly had some notable success in recent months. Trail Life USA CEO Mark Hancock reports that the organization, which provides boys a Christian scouting experience, has seen a seventy per cent growth in membership over the last year. Their numbers are still small compared to the Boy Scouts, but Hancock believes that this increase reflects the Boy Scouts' distrust. According to Hancock, the Boy Scouts "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."
The same can be said of American Heritage Girls, a sister organization to Trail Life USA. Heritage Girls founder Patti Garibay told CBN News that they started the program after noting distinct moral changes in the priorities of the Girl Scouts. While Garibay did not specifically note changes in attendance, the two programs state that they emphasized both moral development and making sure that the girls and boys attending their programs know Christ.