Local Scouts Grapple with Girls in the Boy Scouts
SAN ANGELO, TX — On Oct. 11, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) board of directors announced that girls will soon be allowed to become Cub Scouts and to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the organization’s highest honor. Starting in the fall of 2018, families will have the choice of enrolling girls in Cub Scouts, and new program curriculum will be available in 2019.
According to the BSA website, the decision to include girls was made based on numerous requests from families and individuals to allow girls into BSA, and that current members and leaders were involved in the decision-making process.
Devin Koehler, Scout Executive for the Texas Southwest Council of Boy Scouts of America, located here in San Angelo, provided clarity as to what the announcement means.
“The notion that boys and girls will comingle in one den is incorrect,” said Koehler. “Existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, or establish a pack that includes girl dens and boy dens, or remain an all-boy pack.”
He noted that “Cub Scout dens will be single-gender, all boys or all girls, and that “BSA will continue a single-gender model.”
Koehler stressed that there are no plans at this time to change any portion of the Boy Scouts’ curriculum, although new programs will be introduced for girls.
Koehler also went on to say that the Boy Scouts has since 1971 offered coed-programs, a fact that may not be well known.
For example, the Venturing Program is for young adults, age 13, male and female. The focus of the program is to inspire members to see their lives as an adventure with other program components contained within. Each scout must complete the program by age 18.
The other coed program that Boy Scouts offers is named Exploring. It is a career education program for girls and boys age 14, who have completed 8th grade, through age 20.
“We are proud of the partnership on projects that our council has with our sister organization, the Girl Scouts of the El Camino Council, now named Girls Scouts of Central Texas. We look forward to continuing future partnerships.”
The Southwest Council, the region for which Koehler is Scout Executive, has approximately 2,200 scouts participating, from Uvalde to Del Rio and Fort Stockton to San Angelo.
Lynelle McKay, CEO of Girl Scouts of Central Texas, stated that there would be no change to Girl Scout programs, and further stated that “Girl Scouts will still be all-girls, led by all girls, offering a safe environment for girls to flourish.”
Those words are intended to allay what might be concerns for families of girls who are currently in the program, or are thinking of joining.
Lauren White is the leader of the San Angelo Girl Scouts program. In addition to confirming that the program as it is today will not change, she also talked about the Sisters Program that collaborates with the local Boy Scouts to provide space for the Sisters summer program.
The school-year Sisters Program and the summer Sisters program focuses on at-risk girls and young women, K-12, who would benefit from support to maintain good grades in high school, with the goal of continuing on to college. The programs take place at each school campus.
Approximately 330 girls are currently enrolled in the Sisters program, with 578 girls enrolled in Girl Scouts in San Angelo.
Open registration for the local Girl Scouts program will take place from 6pm to 7pm, on Oct. 24, at the Girls Scouts center at 304 W. Avenue A. For more information contact the Girl Scouts office at 800.733.0111.
Information regarding registration for the local Boy Scouts is available by calling (325) 655-7107.
Both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts organizations from San Angelo are United Way agencies.