Last year, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced they would make a historical change by welcoming girls into their Cub Scout Packs. With the new school year starting, the change is going into effect as Cub Scouts are now open to boys and girls.

Since Aug. 1, girls have officially been able to register and join the Cub Scouts, which is BSA’s scouting program for kids ages five to 10. Girls will still be separated into girls-only Dens, however girls’ Dens will have interactions with the boys during regular Pack meetings.

Featured photo: Craig Mitchelldyer/AP Images for Boy Scouts of America

Ultimately it will be up to each individual Pack whether or not they will add girl-only Dens. All-girl Packs will also be an available option. Other than that BSA is not making any changes or additions to its Cub Scout program as far as introducing new badges or manuals to accommodate its new members.

Girls over the age of 10 will have to wait until next year when BSA plans to begin enrolling girls into the Scouts BSA program in February 2019, which will act as the female counterpart to Boy Scouts (ages 11 to 17). The groups will still be separated by gender, but all eligible kids will be able to earn the Boy Scouts coveted Eagle Scout rank.

BSA explains that their choice to include girls is to accommodate the needs of parents in a demanding world that makes it difficult to shuttle multiple kids to different activities. For its part, the Girl Scouts has questioned whether the BSA organization is really equipped to handle the needs of girls.

“We are, and will remain, the first choice for girls and parents who want to provide their girls opportunities to build new skills, explore STEM and the outdoors, participate in community projects, and grow into happy, successful, civically engaged adults,” Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo said in a statement last spring.

While there’s no arguing that girls can do anything boys can, deciding which organization is the best fit will ultimately be up to each individual family.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

 

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