· Scouting, Leadership Development

BSA expands programs to include girls

IRVING, Texas––The Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved welcoming girls into its Cub Scout program and to deliver a program that will allow girls to advance to the rank of Eagle.

 “This decision is true to the BSA’s mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law,” said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive. “The values of scouting – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example – are important for both young men and women.”

He noted Hispanic and Asian communities prefer to participate in activities as a family. Recent surveys of parents not involved with scouting showed high interest in getting their daughters signed up for programs like Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

 “The BSA’s record of producing leaders with high character and integrity is amazing,” said Randall Stephenson, BSA’s national board chairman. “I’ve seen nothing that develops leadership skills and discipline like this organization.  It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls.”

Starting in 2018, families can choose to sign up their sons and daughters for Cub Scouts. Existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack.  Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls.

 BSA will also deliver a program for older girls, which is projected to be available in 2019, that will enable them to earn the Eagle Scout rank. This unique approach allows the organization to maintain the integrity of the single gender model while also meeting the needs of today’s families.

BSA has offered co-ed programs since 1971 through Exploring and the Venturing program. The STEM Scout pilot program is also available for both boys and girls.

Both Girl Scouts of the USA and Boy Scouts of America are affiliate organizations of the General Commission on UM Men.

The UMC is in the business of making disciples, said Gil Hanke top staff executive of the commission. “The move enhances the opportunities of churches to reach more families through an expanded scouting program. We will continue our support for both Girl Scouts and Boys Scouts.

Local churches may make their own decisions as to how to implement the BSA suggested Cub Scout pack program organization. The commission hopes the UMC will be included in decisions related to BSA plans for 2019.

Amanda Vogt, a member of the GCUM and a leader of the Venturing program, said, “I am a girl. I am a Gold Award (Girl Scout's highest honor), Silver Award (Venturing's highest honor, now called the Summit Award), and TRUST Award (Venturing's religious award) recipient. Over my 13 years as a Girl Scout, and eight years as a youth Venturer, I learned so many skills and had great adventures as a youth. Those two youth agencies shaped me in ways that you can't begin to imagine. However, I can vividly remember watching my friends go off on Cub Scout outings and later earn their Eagle Scout rank, and I thoroughly missed getting to do those things just because I was a girl. I couldn't be more excited that now my Goddaughter can be in both Girl Scouting and Boy Scouting. To see her build a Pinewood Derby car and earn badges in both programs, has always been a dream of mine. Now that dream is going to become a reality in 2018. I can't wait for her to one day become a Gold Award, Summit Award, and Eagle Scout recipient."

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