Scouting has adapted regularly and has many examples of changes in membership, structure, gender inclusion, age ranges and approaches over the last 107 years. These changes have allowed each new generation of parents to utilize Scouting as a tool for raising their children as they see most appropriate.
On October 11, 2017, National BSA announced modifications approved by the National Board of Directors that it will expand its existing programs to offer Cub Scouts to girls in Fall 2018. Also announced was a program with a Boy Scout-like structure for middle/high school age girls. Serving the whole family is not new for the BSA. In fact, we have been providing programs to young girls since 1971 when we extended our Exploring program to young women. Expanding our younger programs to include girls allows us to build on the benefit of a single-gender program while also providing flexibility to our charter partners and more opportunities for youth. Through our interpretation of National BSA materials, we have created a list of five key items that may assist your understanding of modifications.
For Cub Scouts:
1) Girls can join Cub Scouts in Fall 2018
Starting in August 2018, girls will be eligible to join the BSA’s existing Cub Scouts program.
2) Cub Scout Dens will be single-gender
Cub Scout Dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls. Cub Scout Packs, meanwhile, will have local decision making power to determine if I have a Pack with only Boy Dens, a Pack with Boy Dens and Girl Dens, or a Pack with only Girl Dens.
3) Charter Organizations Decide for Their Pack
A Charter Organization may choose to either remain an all-boy Pack, have an all-girl Pack, or a have a Pack of girls and boys.
For Boy Scouts:
4) A middle/high school age program for girls will launch in 2019
The BSA will announce a program for Boy Scout aged girls in 2018, which will launch in 2019. This program will parallel the current Boy Scout program, include the same curriculum and Merit Badges, and allow girls to earn the Eagle Scout Rank.
5) Program requirements will be the same for both genders
The BSA’s existing programs for boys and the new programs for girls will operate under the same curriculum and requirements. There has been no indication in the information shared that would indicate any changes in the requirements.
The Scout Law; Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent – is relevant and represents important values for both boys and girls. This new and exciting approach provides flexibility for Scouting in your neighborhood and an opportunity to have an impact on the lives of more children.
If you have any questions about the BSA’s program expansion, please review the official statement from Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh. The Atlanta Area Council will share more information as it is released in coming months. Thank you for your volunteerism and support of Scouting!