The mission of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
The volunteer BSA National Executive Board made a unanimous decision to welcome girls to our iconic programs, based on feedback from our community and an understanding that the character and leadership qualities our programs develop—grounded in the Scout Oath and Law—are as relevant and helpful for girls as they have been for boys.
The BSA is not only listening to our Scouting families, but also to those that haven’t joined the program. We understand that families today are busier and more diverse than ever: most are dual-earners; there are more single-parent households than in previous decades; many underserved communities prefer to participate in activities as a family; and, all families have less free time. More than one-third of parents feel they spend too little free time with their kids, and millennial parents are desperate to spend more time interacting with their kids.
It is important to note that the BSA did not decide to make the Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting programs co-ed; instead, the organization has introduced a unique model that builds on the benefits of a single-gender program, providing character and leadership opportunities for both boys and girls while also meeting the needs of today’s families.
For Cub Scouting, starting in June 2018, we invite our chartered partner organizations to choose if they’d like to establish a new girl pack, establish a family pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens, or remain an all-boy pack.
Using the same curriculum as the Boy Scouts program, the organization will also deliver a program for older girls (ages 11-17) starting on February 1, 2019. This timing is intended to align with the programmatic timeline so that girls who join Cub Scouts in 2018 and will have earned their Arrow of Light are able to cross-over to a troop to continue their Scouting journey. The official name of the older youth program will become Scouts BSA, effective with the scheduled launch in February 2019. (Please note that the corporate name, Boy Scouts of America, is not changing.)
The National Executive Board also approved the option of a linked troop structure that would allow existing boy troops and future girl troops the opportunity to be linked through a shared chartered organization representative and troop committee.
Q: Will dens of girls and troops of girls be required to have female leaders?
A: Yes. In Cub Scouting, dens of girls will be required to have at least one registered female den leader or assistant den leader who is at least 21 years old. Troops of girls will be required to have at least one registered, female Scoutmaster or assistant Scoutmaster who is at least 21 years old.
Q: “So, we’re coed now, right?”
A: While it’s true that we are serving boys and girls, these changes don’t make our dens and troops coed. Moving ahead, we’ll have boys in dens and troops, and girls in their own dens and troops.
In Cub Scouting, you can have a separate pack for girls, or you can have separate dens for girls and dens for boys in the same pack. In the case of troops for older youth, you must have separate troops for boys and girls. A chartered organization may also have “linked troops,” which means a chartered organization can have a shared troop committee with separate troop for boys and for girls.
Q: Are we doing an early adopter program for girls entering our older youth programs like we did for Cub Scouts?
Q: Do chartered organizations have a choice whether or not to adopt the expanded program?
A: Yes. Chartered organizations always have the option to select from our numerous BSA program offerings. They can select all or one of the BSA programs that they feel best meet the needs of their members and the communities around them.
Q: Can linked troops share troop numbers? If so, how do we tell them apart?
A: Yes, they can share troop numbers. You will be able to tell them apart in the system the same way that we do when councils merge — there is a prefix in ScoutNet that IDs each troop.
For the first time in its 100+ year history, the iconic program of the Boy Scouts of America will be open to young women.
Scouts BSA, launched in February 2019, is a year-round program for boys and girls in fifth grade through high school that provides fun, adventure, learning, challenge, and responsibility to help them become the best version of themselves.