What was considered to be an all-boys organization, the Boy Scouts welcomed girls into all of its Scouting programs starting this year.
In early 2018, the organization announced it will soon welcome girls into the organization’s Cub Scouts program (ages 7 to 10). The announcement stated dens will either be all-boys, or all-girls and the packs can have a mixture of the two.
“I think the biggest thing why the transition has worked so flawlessly is at this age, kindergarten through fifth grade, at least kindergarten through third grade, kids are in co-ed sports together,” said Eric Worst, committee chair of Pack 45. “They don’t see the difference, so it’s not that big of a deal.”
Worst said he can see more attention being paid to the Boy Scouts, which is for boys 11 to 17, where there will be camping trips with troop leaders. Abby Castle will be the first girl in Mantua to matriculate into the Scouts BSA program (the new name for Scouts in the age group).
“Her brother was in the Cub Scouts, and she was at every event and wanted to participate,” said Marissa, Abby’s mom. “It was a great conversation and I felt bad she would always participate and would never get any credit for it.”
Abby was in the Girl Scouts for two years, but left because “all we did was crafts and learned about flowers.” Marissa elaborated and said the Girl Scouts had a book of virtues that were based on a flower system, but they never understood how it impacted the girls’ lives.
“Everything that was based on the organization was on cookie sales, and everything else kind of trickled down to what the leader would put together,” said Marissa. “Sometimes we would have outings and we’d have to wait a bit to get patches and it didn’t seem very organized.”
“We had looked into the Girl Scouts and most of the activities were more craft-related and stuff like that, and she was more into the physical side of it,” said Miranda Rudolph, whose daughter, Emma, is in the Cub Scouts. “She wanted to do the camping, the archery and all of that stuff. It just seemed like those were more of the things she wanted to do as opposed to just crafts.”
Other girls such as Madelyn Worst (Eric’s daughter) and Emma said they sought to join after seeing their brothers participate in the program and they were “tomboys.”
“I like certain things that include both boys and girls,” said Madelyn. “I don’t just want one girl sport or a boy sport, I want a girl and boy sport because I don’t just want girls and having fun with girls, I want boys to have fun too.”
Eric said the Cub Scouts have always been a “family-oriented organization” where family members were more than welcome to sit in on meetings and participate in some activities, except now it’s more formal and the girls were allowed to earn merit badges for what they’re doing.
“The girls have always been invited to the program and they’ve seen it, they’re familiar with the cadences of our meetings and familiar with the law, oath and the values of the Cub Scouts,” said Eric.
Marissa said for her daughter going into Scouts BSA, she’s going to be one of the female leaders and is learning about the changes made firsthand to help the transition be as smooth as possible.
As for Abby vying for an Eagle Scout rank, Marissa said her dad is excited to help her with it since he’s an Eagle Scout.
“It helps children build character, helps them grow and be an independent, free thinker, helps them have confidence that carries over into the classroom and core values of scouting in general,” said Eric. “Whatever program it is, will allow children to be key citizens in the community and be able to give back.”