Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts of America began rolling out the Family Scouting initiative. This includes slight modifications to the Cub Scout program and the addition of Girl Troops through Scouts BSA to allow both boys and girls to learn, grow and have fun in Scouting.
Right now the Cub Scout program is open to boys and girls in Packs that have opted-in to the new Family Scouting model.
Beginning on February 1, 2019, the Boy Scout program will be renamed Scouts BSA. Girls ages 11-17 will be able to join new Scouts BSA Troops. Many of these Troops will be linked to existing Troops of boys, but girl Troops and boy Troops will operate as separate Units.
As we prepare for the first year of Family Scouting, the Atlanta Area Council’s Family Scouting Committee has put together a series of articles that will walk you through the changes. This Guide to Family Scouting will be published in installments over the coming months and will include answers to frequently asked questions and updates on the roll out of the changes.
This article serves as a brief introduction to the Family Scouting Initiative and how it affects the structure of the BSA.
BSA Units and Leadership Structure
Scouting Units in the BSA, including Packs and Troops, are chartered by organizations in the community, often churches, schools and civic associations. The Scouting program becomes one of the ways these Chartered Organizations serve youth in their communities.
Units are led by volunteer adult leaders, approved by the Chartered Organization, and recruited by existing leaders and families. For best results, Packs and Troops create a culture of “helping out” and “shared leadership”, so that parents do what they can to lead their children and their children’s friends.
The Unit’s Decision on Family Scouting
Not every Unit near you will have plans to accept girls into girl dens in a Cub Scout Pack today, or to create a Scouts BSA Troop for girls in February – and that’s because every Unit can make their own choices on Family Scouting and every Unit has their own local limitations:
Some of those Units are concerned that they may lack leaders to serve an influx of girls and other new Scouts. For most of these Units, if new families commit to lead, that can solve the problem – they can be the leaders the Unit needs to grow!
For others, the issue may be limited meeting space in existing facilities. This can often be solved by working with a District Executive and other volunteers to identify a new meeting space.
In some cases, the Chartered Organization and/or volunteer leaders commitment to the value of single gender programs may require that they only operate Scouting programs for boys. The BSA respects that decision and encourages Chartered Organizations to adopt the programs that are right for their communities.
Families will always have the choice to be involved in any Scouting program in their area that suits their needs.
How to find a Family Scouting Program near you
There are many ways to discover what Scouting Programs are serving your community, and to find out the right fit for your family:
Units can be located by type and zip code at BeAScout.org. From there you can send messages to Unit volunteers about joining. Many Cub Scout Packs have already indicated on BeAScout.org whether they will be participating in Family Scouting or operating single-gender programs. Scouts BSA Troops will begin to appear on BeAScout.org in early 2019.
You can call the Atlanta Area Council at 770-989-8820 and our helpful staff will connect you to a Unit near you, or click here to fill out a form with some easy information and we’ll contact you!
You may also hear about Scouting Units in your community through school, church or community websites and messages, social media sites, and recruiting efforts by Unit leaders and Council professional staff and volunteers.
What if there aren’t Family Scouting Programs near me?
If existing Units and programs can’t support the new Family Scouting Programs, new Units can be chartered with a new, separate leadership team by another local Chartered Organization.
Contact the Family Scouting Committee if you need assistance in starting a new program near you.