For over a century, Boy Scouts has been one of the most respected youth organizations in America. The institution has helped guide millions of boys through the rite of passage into men of character and honor. This week, the organization caved to the cultural trends and political correctness opening its troops to girls. This ends a long tradition of male bonding and gender-specific leadership that young boys need and crave. I believe this is the beginning of the end for Boy Scouts of America.

Decades ago as I approached my 11th birthday, I could hardly wait to become a Boy Scout. I had my uniform and handbook well in advance. During those critical formative years, I learned many lessons and skills from the weekly meetings, camps, and activities led by adult male role models devoted to making men out of boys. Along with millions of other boys, I learned the skills of outdoor activities, safety, survival, and resourcefulness. More importantly, I increased in faith, character, patriotism, and respect for others. It was an environment where boys could be comfortable talking with each other and their leaders about topics from personal hygiene to proper relationships with the opposite sex.

Boy Scouts of America was founded by William Boyce in 1910. Three years later, Juliette Gordon Low began Girl Scouts. Both founders understood the reality of gender differences in life roles and implemented appropriate objectives into their organizations to foster those differences. For a century, scouting for both genders has had parallel objectives of character building and life skills development. These objectives were complemented by the instilling of gender-specific roles in young lives to elevate them to productive and responsible adults.

The fundamentals of scouting have always promoted gender equality with differing roles. Yes, men and women should have equal opportunity, equal compensation for equal work, and are deserving of equal respect. However, scouting has always acknowledged that there are necessary differences in males and females beyond the obvious physical attributes. Each have God-given roles in life that correspond to the perfect design of his or her Creator. Although those roles sometimes overlap, they must be considered differently in preparing young men and women for life’s challenges.

Three years ago, Boy Scouts of America removed its ban on gay scout leaders. Girl Scouts had already adopted a more-or-less “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for leadership. This began a slippery slope from the principles and values on which Boyce and Low founded these magnificent organizations. I believe Wednesday’s decision to blend the genders sealed the destiny of Boy Scouts to ultimate irrelevancy. Revival of the former traditions would remedy the collapse, but that is highly unlikely. We are losing another avenue for helping young boys to become men of character and valor that our society needs so desperately. Boy Scouts of America is just the latest victim of a society that has lost its true north and is wandering aimlessly in a sea of cultural hazards. I invite your comments.