Girls in Scouting? SCOUT ME IN.
With the start of another scouting year, area Cub Scout packs are holding recruiting rallies and Cub Scouts are inviting their friends to share and be involved in the magic of being a Cub Scout. But, the rallies and recruiting are a little different this year. For the first time ever, girls can sign up and be Cub Scouts!!! Yes, girls in grades K to five can now be Cub Scouts, and in 2019 girls 11 to 18 can be Scouts.
Many of us have been in scouting a long time and have seen program changes over the years. But, nothing like this! We were just as surprised as anyone when the announcement came earlier this year that girls would be included in scouting to make it a true family program. Like many, we wondered what the world was coming to and if it would be the end of scouting.
Recently, as I pondered whether or not there was something wrong with the idea of girls being in scouting, two facts came together and a light came on. And now, when it comes to girls in scouting, SCOUT ME IN!
First, there is little, if any, doubt among the scientists and teachers and others who deal with them that young boys think differently, react differently, feel differently, grow differently and mature differently than do young girls. And, second, as many may not realize, the program is set up so that girls will be in all-female Cub Scout dens and, in 2019, all-female Scout troops.
When you put those two things together, it makes things pretty simple. Boys will be in all-boy troops, and girls will be in all-girl troops. So, Scouts who are female won’t be stealing leadership positions from or taking anything away from the experience guys have always had in scouting. Guys will still be in troops with only guys. Girls will be in Scout troops made up entirely of girls. No Scout troops will include both guys and girls. But, the scouting program will now be open to both.
What this also means is that not only boys in current troops, but also girls in new troops will get a chance to be senior patrol leaders or patrol leaders or hold other leadership positions. It means that the same number of boys in our area’s current troops, plus girls in the new troops, will get the experience of conquering mountains and river rapids and lake portages with their friends. It means both boys and girls will be introduced to new ideas and skills, along with possible careers and lifelong hobbies. This will happen as they are having fun working on Cub Scout adventure badges and Scout merit badges and rank requirements. And it will happen as they perform the community service Scouts are known for.
And, like the guys in current troops, the girls in the new troops will be building character, citizenship and leadership. More youth than before will be working to keep themselves “physically fit, mentally awake and morally straight” as they practice and live the Scout Oath and Law. The oath and law they will follow have been in existence, without a single change in wording, since scouting was officially introduced in the United States in 1910. They have stood the test of time.
Is there anything wrong with girls being in scouting?
Only if the values and adventures of scouting are relevant and good for just boys and not for all young people.
Pat Fountain Scouting Volunteer
Arbuckle Area Council