Rumors have been swirling over the past few months that the Boy Scouts of America program was testing the waters to determine if families would like to allow girls into the program. Today, the Board of Directors announced that they have unanimously voted to welcome girls into the Cub Scout program, and that older girls will have the chance to earn the Eagle rank.
“This decision is true to the BSA’s mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law. The values of Scouting – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example – are important for both young men and women,” said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive. “We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children. We strive to bring what our organization does best – developing character and leadership for young people – to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders.”
Starting next year, parents will be able to sign Cub Scout aged girls up to join as well as their boys. Dens will be single-gendered, though, so boys will still be learning their stuff with other boys and girls with girls. Packs already in existence can choose to integrate the girls, or keep them separate. Many Cub Scout Packs already involve the whole family, so allowing the girl dens to participate doesn’t seem much of a stretch.
The program to allow girls to earn the coveted Eagle rank isn’t slated to be available until 2019. I don’t suppose that my own daughter who is already part of the co-ed Boy Scout program of Venturing, will be able to attain that rank, as she will be 16 when that rolls around. She hasn’t had the opportunity to earn merit badges- even though she has taught the classes at Boy Scout summer camp.
The Girl Scouts’ president is not likely to be thrilled about this announcement, as Kathy Hopinkah already sent a letter to the BSA in August accusing the Boy Scouts of stealing recruits from their program.
This new announcement, I believe, is another step in the right direction, as many girls want to be included in what their brothers are doing. In some areas, the Boy Scout program is more enticing than Girl Scouts because the program is geared to do more adventurous things(although, some Girl Scout troops also do exciting things-depending on leadership).
The question now is when will they allow Atheists and Agnostics into their program?
You can read the official story from the Boy Scout Newsroom here.