FARGO, ND (Valley News Live) For 107 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been the destination program for boys and young men with a few teen programs open to young women. But Wednesday morning, a unanimous vote by the scouting board of directors opened the Cub Scouts program to young girls.
“What national has said is it will be a boy den program and a girl den program,” explained Darin Steindl. Steindl is the Director of Field Service for the Northern Lights Council and has been involved with the organization for over 30 years.
Steindl said when he visits elementary schools to talk about the Boy Scouts he often is asked by girls if they are able to join. While they may not have been able to officially join, Steindl said many Boy Scout sisters would tag along on scouting trips or challenges. Now, they’ll be able to earn the badges as well.
Steindl said the Boy Scouts will open the program to girls starting in the fall of 2018 and will eventually implement an Eagle Scout like program for teen girls to join.
There is one caveat to implementing the co-ed Cub Scout troops. The national board left the decision to integrate up to the local troops.
“We may have some chartered organizations that say no we just want to have all the boys and nothing with girls or they could decide to do an integrated program,” said Steindl.
Many have asked how this will affect the 105 year old Girl Scouts Program, but the organization says they’re focused solely on themselves.
“We’re going to keep kind of running our, you know, program like we have for many, many years because we know it’s successful,” said Kate Reed, Chief Marketing and Advancement Officer of the Dakota Horizons Girl Scouts region.
Reed says the Girl Scouts organization is still the leading program for young women, and have no plans to integrate young men. “Our expertise is girls, you know, we’ve got 100 years-worth of experience and we are – we are the G-I-R-L champions,” Reed said.
Neither representative would give a prediction on how the change will impact either organization’s membership but Steindl says he looks forward to bringing in the new Cubs, “its not new it’s just a younger age group.”