Boy Scouts of America Announce Program Expansion to Welcome Girls

October 11, 2017 16:00 pm · 25 comments

Today, the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into its iconic Cub Scout program and to deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout. The historic decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls, the organization evaluated the results of numerous research efforts, gaining input from current members and leaders, as well as parents and girls who’ve never been involved in Scouting – to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children.

“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.”

Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before [1], making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing. Additionally, many groups currently underserved by Scouting, including the Hispanic and Asian communities, prefer to participate in activities as a family. Recent surveys [2] of parents not involved with Scouting showed high interest in getting their daughters signed up for programs like Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, with 90 percent expressing interest in a program like Cub Scouts and 87 percent expressing interest in a program like Boy Scouts.  Education experts also evaluated the curriculum and content and confirmed relevancy of the program for young women.

“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 the 2018 program year, 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. Using the same curriculum as the Boy Scouts program, the organization will also deliver a program for older girls, which will be announced in 2018 and 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.

This decision expands the programs that the Boy Scouts of America offers for both boys and girls. Although known for its iconic programs for boys, the BSA has offered co-ed programs since 1971 through Exploring and the Venturing program, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018. The STEM Scout pilot program is also available for both boys and girls.

For more information about the expanded opportunities for family Scouting, please visit the family Scouting page.

sideline October 11, 2017 at 4:11 PM

I think it is time to combine boy scouts & girl scouts and just make a unisex group with the same principals, ideas and goals except the gender thingy of course.
Allowing girls in boy scouts sounds ridiculous to me.

Rob October 11, 2017 at 4:26 PM

Just to make sure people read the article…

They won’t be mixing boys and girls in a den…

*** “Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls.”

Dr. Jellyfinger October 11, 2017 at 4:48 PM

Maybe they should just change the name to “Scouts” and disband Boy & Girl Scouts?

Cellophane October 11, 2017 at 5:05 PM

I can’t help but wonder if this is just a power play. Change things around, disrupt traditions, erase history?

I don’t know, but I think the whole thing is kind of dumb…

It's me October 11, 2017 at 5:12 PM

Keep the two separate. My daughter was a Browie/Girl Scout and our troop mission was to take and teach the girls all that they can do.

Why must the tiny group always make a big deal over things? It it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it

Dorothy October 11, 2017 at 5:28 PM

Girls are a minority, Jerk? Maybe Dr. Jellyfinger is right, they should all just be called Scouts.

Cowellian October 11, 2017 at 5:47 PM

At the Pack and Troop level, I don’t expect to see much change in the way individual units operate.

Silva October 11, 2017 at 5:53 PM

I had great times in the Campfire Girls, but I did wonder if the Boy Scouts weren’t having a lot more fun. Later when my boy was a Boy Scout I found out they weren’t. They’re all great organizations, I know Campfire Girls went coed some time ago. It’s just that another option has opened up for girls now. The Boy Scouts have had programs open to girls for a while, but now they will be able to go all the way through to Eagle Scouts, which is pretty cool.

NoMoreFreeRide October 11, 2017 at 5:56 PM

It’s called revenue generation

Atticus Thraxx October 11, 2017 at 6:53 PM

I don’t have a logical argument against this, not one I could defend anyway. And yet it bugs the crap outta me.

Cowellian October 11, 2017 at 7:36 PM

The Girl Scouts of America and the Boy Scouts of America are two different and separate organizations. No one can arbitrarily merge them. I don’t believe that the GSA has any desire to merge with the BSA. Each organization has their own programs. A lot of girls really like the Girl Scout program, while others would prefer a program such as the BSA’s.

Cellie October 11, 2017 at 7:38 PM

The feminization of America and the marginalization of the American male continues–

FAA October 11, 2017 at 7:54 PM

It’s OK to have a separate program for boys and girls. Everything does not need to be co-ed. I’m glad I was in scouting many years ago ago so I don’t have to deal with the current BS. And that doesn’t stand for Boy Scouts!
Let’s sit around the campfire and talk about PMS now…

Mika October 11, 2017 at 8:08 PM

Atticus–same with me! Good and bad?

WC resident October 11, 2017 at 8:22 PM

BSA’s membership has been declining. I saw an article a few weeks ago as the GSA was complaining that the upcoming BSA action was mainly a body and money grab that will come at the GSA’s expense.

The BSA’s Venturing program has been co-ed since 1969. I assume GSA was fine with that at the time as both groups had growing memberships.

You Can’t Fix Stupid October 11, 2017 at 8:29 PM

Tough call. I don’t know if scouting is as popular these days, but I think both organizations do a lot for girls and boys, individually. I think some girls might like the challenge of going for Eagle Scout, but somehow doubt boys will be lining up to join the Girl Scouts. I think Peter tried that on the Brady Bunch. Didn’t go well.

NunYa October 12, 2017 at 4:33 AM

It is just more pandering to the left. Sadly the idea of boy and girls having different experiences of the great outdoors is lost on idiots.

D.V. Guy October 12, 2017 at 7:38 AM

The Boy Scouts already have a coed program called Venture scouts that works really well.

Concernicus October 12, 2017 at 9:10 AM

So, yeah. It’s just “The Scouts” now. Fine by me.

Dr. Jellyfinger October 12, 2017 at 9:40 AM

“Venture Scouts” sounds good… it’s probably something like Starship Troopers I’d imagine…. except without giant bugs and spaceships.

Pyrrhus October 12, 2017 at 9:43 AM

I read an article stating that the reason why girls are interested in the Boy Scouts is because the Boy Scouts have more programs centered on STEM.

Honestly, who cares? If a boy wants to join the Girl Scouts because they offer programs he’s interested in, fine. If a girl wants to join the Boy Scouts, no problem. Times have changed, and we are seeing that in many things, gender plays no part in what one’s capability is.

WC resident October 12, 2017 at 10:31 AM

@NunYa #17 – The Boy Scouts lean to the right but are hurting for membership and the resulting money. Part of the problem for older organizations is that there are so many options available for kids these days. It seems all of them are loosening their standards in an attempt to shore up memberships.

Politics also inserted itself with organizations being more or less forced to take positions on sexual orientation, sexual identity, and related issues. I suspect that collectively, they all experienced a net loss regardless of the position they took.

Silva October 12, 2017 at 10:52 AM

They’ve lost 300,000 members since 2013, so they could use new members. Larger packs can CHOOSE to be coed, or not. The Girl Scouts denounced the move. It will be worse for them than the Boy Scouts, no doubt.

Cowellian October 12, 2017 at 11:34 AM

The BSA already has two outstanding coed programs, Venturing and Exploring. But they are not at all like traditional Boy Scout Troops, and they are for older scouts, ages 14-21. Each Venture Crew has its own specialty activities, for instance: high adventure, hot rodding, or leadership skills. Explorer Posts concentrate on career activities, such as aviation, law enforcement, or fire fighting.

Boys, aged 11-18 in a traditional Scout Troop, won’t see any changes at their troop level. And their won’t be any girls in their troop. And they will still be able to be boys, learning how to become men.

I don’t expect to see many Scout Troops for girls within the BSA, but I would love to be surprised. It is possible that a charter organization, such as a church or school, would choose to charter both a Boys’ Troop as well as a Girls’ Troop.

Who knows? Maybe the Scouts will have an easier time getting into the school systems now. Being shut out of many public schools systems is one huge reason for the decline in the number of scouts. Scouts in states which allow them in the schools are already seeing growth.

Clayton Squirrel October 12, 2017 at 5:44 PM

Hi Cowellian:

There are Boy Scout programs at many local public schools though they are rarely chartered by the parent clubs like the PFC anymore. Cub Scout Pack 262 meets at Mt. Diablo Elementary and Boy Scout Troop 262 meets at Diablo View Middle School. That’s 100% of Clayton’s public schools. Troop 484 meets in a church near CVCHS and Pack 444 and Troop 444 meet at St. Bonaventure.

Girl Scout troops meet everywhere and have a different structure. Our troop mostly met in homes or at community service locations like a trail for clean-up.

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