Some of the first girls put on a Cub Scouts uniform for the first time on Jan 16 in Oregon.
Boy Scouts of America announced the change to include girls in Cub Scouts last October.
Clubs in Oregon and Southwest Washington, including the Cascade Pacific Council, started registering girls on Jan. 15.
That means, officially, girls will be active members of the Boy Scouts of America in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Why join the Boy Scouts when there is the Girl Scouts? The two programs are different and unique in their own ways. It is also about the convenience of sisters and brothers being in the same den or troop.
“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.”
Boy Scouts of America refers to it as “family scouting.”
So the flag ceremony and scout oath at Pack Four’s meeting Tuesday night sounded and looked a little different with the addition of six girls to the Cub Scouts. For the first time in the Cub Scouts’ 88 years, girls are now in the ranks.
Alissa Smith showed off her brand new uniform. She’s ready to be a “bear” in her new Cub Scout den.
“It means to be fierce! And strong!” she said.
And Jordanna Garcia proudly joined her brother Daniel, who’s already in the pack.
“Because he’s actually part of my family, and I really like when he’s here. He helps me feel welcomed,” said Jordanna.
“I just feel like it’s good, because I don’t think it’s fair if just boys get to go into – it’s excluding,” Daniel said.
It’s families like this that led the Boy Scout’s Cascade Pacific Council to speed up the process and open enrollment to girls in January.
“So many of our girls are already unofficially attending scouting events. They’re there because their families are there,” said Kaleen Deatherage, Local Family Scouting chair. “Now they get to wear the uniform. They get to earn the badges and rank advancement.”
And that means eventually girls like Alissa and Jordanna will have the opportunity to earn the Boy Scouts’ highest honor: The Eagle Rank.
“I’m so excited to get my Eagle Scout one day, and I just love to be a Cub Scout,” said Jordanna.
The change did come with a lot of conversation and some controversy. The Girl Scouts organization pushed back when the Boy Scouts announced the change.
The Girl Scouts said it plans to stay committed to a single-gender mission, saying it provides a safe place for girls to learn and lead.
Currently, the organization is only accepting Cub Scouts. That’s for kids in kindergarten through fourth grade.
As far as older girls, the Boy Scout organization says they’ll be able to officially join Boy Scouts sometime in early 2019.
Oregon and Southwest Washington are allowing girls to enroll sooner than other organizations across the country because there was an overwhelming support for the change from families in the Pacific Northwest.